News Article

News Article

Giallo Fever: 'The Killer Must Kill Again' [NSFW]

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Fans of Italian horror and sci-fi will no doubt recognize the name of director Luigi Cozzi, a genre journeyman who dabbled in just about everything and clearly had fun doing it – including flamboyant space opera like the amazingly bizarre Starcrash, starring the spectacular Caroline Munro and David Hasselhoff shooting laser beams out of his eyes; matinee fantasies like Hercules, with original Hulk Lou Ferrigno battling stop-motion robots; and the splattery Alien cash-in Contamination, which climaxed with a giant one-eyed vacuum cleaner popping off a guy's head. 
 
Cozzi is also a long-time colleague of horror legend Dario Argento; he has directed multiple documentaries about Argento's films, and runs the shop Profondo Rosso (Deep Red) in Rome, which was founded by Argento in 1989 and features a museum of props from the director's classics. Like his friend and mentor, Cozzi also ventured into the giallo domain, with the 1975 thriller The Killer Must Kill Again. While Cozzi's giallo skills were honed on one of the better episodes of the Italian TV series Door Into Darkness (which Argento produced, as well as directing his own episode), Killer is his only true giallo feature... which is a shame, because it's a slick, eerie and entertaining entry in the genre.
 
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The film stars George Hilton as the philandering husband of a very wealthy woman (Tere Velasquez), who witnesses a seriously creepy-looking murderer (Michel Antoine) disposing of a victim's body and quickly conceives a solution to his problems: he decides to hire the killer to off his wife, threatening to expose the previous crime if he refuses. Of course, if you think this kind of scheme is going to come off smoothly, then you obviously haven't seen Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train, to which this film is a partial homage. Tension mounts as the plan threatens to unravel at any moment... and it finally goes down twisted for everyone involved.
 
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While it's not nearly as stunningly individual as Argento's Deep Red (released the same year), The Killer Must Kill Again is still a tight and often unsettling thriller which derives its thrills from the plan's sudden breakdown, as well as the exposure of the killer's coldly psychopathic nature – rather than the mystery of his identity, as was typical in most giallo films of the period. It also features some excellent widescreen compositions, and a very disturbing sequence that intercuts between simultaneous murder and sex scenes. Also noteworthy is Cozzi's very cool nod to Dario Argento: the killer is known only by the initials “D.A.” on his cigarette lighter.
 
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The Killer Must Kill Again is currently available on DVD in an uncut 2.35:1 widescreen presentation from Mondo Macabro, including commentary by Cozzi (in English) and several making-of featurettes, and background on Cozzi's long working relationship with Argento. Here's the trailer (under the alternate title The Dark is Death's Friend), which features some nudity, so it's definitely not safe for work... and as many European trailers of the time, it's pretty spoiler-heavy, so consider yourself double-warned!
 
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