Friday, February 04, 2011
PERVERSION STORY a.k.a. ONE ON TOP OF THE OTHER (1969) - Lucio Fulci
Don't let the above picture (or its title) fool you. Lucio Fulci's Perversion Story is more than just an Age of Aquarius quickie. Though there's plenty of bared flesh in this nudie-noir hybrid, it's all in the service of a surprisingly effective and pretty twisted whodunnit plot.
Like fellow sex-obsessed guido director Brian DePalma, Fulci robs and remixes from the very best. Namely, Alfred Hitchcock. His recipe is as follows: Take Vertigo's primary conceit -- becoming obsessed with a woman who's the spitting image of your dead lover -- keep the scenic San Francisco locations, but turn virginal Kim Novak into an opportunistic stripper. Toss Jimmy Stewart, and replace him with a protagonist who looks like a sleazier Alain Delon. Complicate matters further with a insurance scam/infidelity plot as intricate and tumescent as that of Body Heat. If that's not enough, add some eye-popping Day-Glo visuals, a jazzy instrumental score and enough split-diopter shots to make any first year film student giddy with glee.
Despite a somewhat clunky ending narrated by news reporter, Perversion Story delivers all the charge you might get out of reading a good vintage crime novel while peeping over the page to take in some Radley Metzger softcore. For lovers of noir and tastefully nude bodies, a movie like this is pure catnip.