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"A Dragonfly for Each Corpse" (aka "Una libélula para cada muerto") (1975)

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A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (aka Una libélula para cada muerto) (1975)

w/ Paul Naschy, Erika Blanc, Ángel Aranda, María Kosty, Ricardo Merino, Susana Mayo and Eduardo Calvo. Directed by León Klimovsky. And written by Paul Naschy and Ricardo Muñoz Suay.

A vigilante wearing a black coat, a black hood, black gloves, black shoes and red (I guess for a change of pace?) pants roams the streets of 1973 Milano knocking off a variety of what he/she considers undesirables (drug users, orgyists, strippers, etc.) using a variety of weapons in a variety of bloody methods. And then leaves a small dragonfly figurine on each one of his/her victims. Yes, the title of this one is both very giallo and very literal.

And assigned to investigate these murders is a cigar-chewing Milano police inspector named Paolo Scaporella (Paul Naschy) with the on-the-job characteristics of a Harry Callahan, a Popeye Doyle, a Buddy Manucci. Who, at first, is somewhat in favor of what this vigilante is doing. But off the job he is in a healthy and married relationship with Silvana (Erika Blanc) who, as the case progresses, starts channelling her inner Nora Charles (albeit a Nora Charles who studies clues in the buff with an open book hiding her nether region) up to the point where she puts herself in danger. And, coincidentally (at least coincidentally if this was real life), this inspector's circle of friends wind up becoming this movie's red herrings and/or victims. And, after sufficient attrition has occurred, we get the inevitable showdown between the hunter and the hunted.

When viewed as a giallo, this is the definition of average. Watchable but average.

But when viewed as a mystery, it leaves a lot to be desired because it doesn't provide a viewer with sufficient clues to play detective on one's own and, therefore, one is simply waiting out the aforementioned attrition. And it suffers from some inconsistencies (for example, if a victim dies with his right hand open, how can the cops later find a button in his closed right hand?).

Where this one does shine is in the interplay between the characters portrayed by Paul Naschy and Erika Blanc. In many ways, that was probably the high point of this movie for me. Usually cops in these types of movies are loners. But this one gave the cop a wife. And then gave them scenes together where they felt like a couple who had been together for awhile and enjoyed each other's company and took care of each other.

Also of interest was the fact that this movie included a character who, visually, was the stereotypical overt homosexual common to 1970s movies. But this character was not only part of the aforementioned circle of friends but was treated as an equal by all including Paul Naschy's cop character. Nice how they flipped the coin on that one at that time.

Considering our fellow board members appear to prefer crime over horror on average, I could see this one being paired with Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) on TCM Underground. And then followed by cigarjoe using it as a basis for doing a compare/contrast between giallo and noir. That I would like to read!

Random comments:

1.) This is the second of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set.

2.) This is the second billed Erika Blanc's only movie with Paul Naschy. That's a shame.

3.) This is one of the fourth billed María Kosty's four movies with Paul Naschy; one of which was the previously reviewed Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). We won't hold that against her!

4.) This is also one of the fifth billed Ricardo Merino's four movies with Paul Naschy; one of which is the yet to be seen by me Inquisición (1977).

5) This is one of the seventh billed Eduardo Calvo's ten movies with Paul Naschy; one of which was the previously reviewed Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll. Obviously those two got along.

6.) And this is one of eight movies with Paul Naschy that was directed by León Klimovsky. Considering that one of those movies was the previously reviewed Vengeance of the Zombies, I was a tad nervous going into this one.

7.) Of the Naschy movies that I've watched (or rewatched) during this go around, I would rank this one fourth as follows:

a) Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll
b) The Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)
c) Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973)
e) A Dragonfly for Each Corpse
d) Night of the Werewolf (1981)
f) Count Dracula's Great Love (1973)
g) Human Beasts (1980)
h) Vengeance of the Zombies

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  • 7 months later...

I thought it was interesting but lacked the visual style of the best giallos.  I agree with you that the best part were the scenes between Naschy and Erica Blanc.   The film does have plenty of female nudity and a great sleaze factor.

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