DVD: ‘Plot of Fear’

Plot of Fear (Raro Video), ostensibly a murder mystery with erotic flourishes, is an odd and not completely effective Italian genre hybrid that mixes giallo-style killings, sexy interludes, pop-art glamour, police squadroom camaraderie, and hints of criminal conspiracy into a film that is more funky curiosity than a compelling thriller.

Michele Placido stars as a Milan homicide detective assigned to investigate a series of murders linked only by membership in the “Fauna Club,” which is ostensibly a society of wealthy animal lovers but turns to be a cover for decadent orgies in the club estate and worse. Corinne Cléry, fresh from her starring role in the erotic 1975 drama The Story of O, plays a fashion model next door who begins an affair with the detective and just happens to have ties to the club, and Eli Wallach is a detective with underworld ties who makes his own inquiries into the increasingly brutal wave of murders. Director Paolo Cavara (who co-directed the legendary “Mondo Cane”) spreads himself so thin over these elements that he fails to provide any thrills to “thriller” or make much of the silly mystery, and he has less interest in staging the elaborate murders than he does in showing off the sexy female stars in states of undress. Tom Skerritt is pretty much wasted in a small role as a police detective who walks through a couple of scenes without doing much of anything.

DVD only, with both original Italian and English dub soundtracks with optional English subtitles, plus video interviews with screenwriter Enrico Oldoini, actor Michele Placido, and Pietro Cavara (son of the director) and a DVD-ROM accessible “booklet.”

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Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I'm a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I've written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View. I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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