Wednesday, October 2

Some quick thoughts on The Murder Secret (Non aver paura della zia Marta) (1988)

A family travels into the countryside to visit their aunt's home. Upon arriving, only Norman Ba...I mean the caretaker is present promising the woman will return the following day and that they can stay the night. It's then okay to fast forward or just eject the cassette afterward.

Yep, this is definitely one of the worst late era Italian potboilers I've ever sat down with. As the '80s wore on, the country's film industry was on the brink of a sea change which saw many once prolific filmmakers either being forced to adapt or essentially face extinction. Lucio Fulci, who oversaw the production with Mario Bianchi directing, obviously struggled valiantly through this period despite worsening health and diminishing career prospects. Sadly, The Murder Secret might typify everything awful about the product from this dark time.

With almost no money, talent (or woefully misused talent), and resources; most of these flicks either made the most of things and threw everything at the wall or resorted to merely filling time with a few done-to-death tropes. This Bianchi/Fulci effort chooses the latter as it's basically the Italian gore version of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). However; every opportunity to boringly drag to ninety minutes is taken, family members are finally slain one-by-one, the father (truly slumming Gabriele Tinti) finds their gruesome bodies, and the caretaker (truly slumming Maurice Poli) reveals himself to be the murderer while enshrining the dead aunt's corpse.

Oh, and there's a tacked-on twist ending that you've seen before and will likely piss you off more (recycled the next year in Fulci's superior House of Clocks). That's not to say there aren't endearing Italian schlockfests from the late '80s, but don't let the cheap gore shots fool you, The Murder Secret should remain a secret. Better off watching Fulci's strangely inventive A Cat in the Brain (Nightmare Concert) (1990) that jacked a couple quick murder clips directly from this junk.

1 comment:

Travers said...

I haven't heard of this one. Good review, I might even watch this given the chance just to see for myself. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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