The Film (5/5)
Lucio Fulci as a director began his career as a director of comedies before branching off into almost every conceivable genre of film before his death in 1996. However, when fans discuss his work usually the first thing to come up are the films from his late 70's/early 80's horror period. After that you will probably here of his gialli, and maybe his Westerns and his odd historical. However, as a director Fulci was not given as much credit as he should have been because he brought incredible style and atmosphere to almost everything that he touched especially early on in his career.
This month (February 2016) sees Mondo Macabro give a much long overdue Blu-ray release to Lucio Fulci's giallo Lizard in a Woman's Skin. Lizard in a Woman's Skin is the second contribution to the giallo genre that Fulci would make. The first being 1969's Perversion Story (aka una sull'altra/One on Top of the Other) and arguably his finest (someone will say Don't Torture the Duckling, I disagree).
Lizard in a Woman's Skin stars Florinda Balkan (Flavia the Heretic) as Carol Hammond. Carol begins the film dreaming of murdering her neighbor, Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg). She tells this to her psychiatrist, and soon after Julia is found dead in precisely the same manner Carol dreamed up. When this information is provided to a police Inspector named Corvin he begins to investigate Carol. It soon becomes apparent to the police that Carol is indeed the murderer, but during their investigation an attempt is made on Carol’s life throwing what they know into question.
A Lizard in a Woman's Skin can be seen as an interesting stepping stone in Fulci's filmography. It is one of his first films in a genre close to the horror films that would make his name. It would also utilize violence in an exploitive sensationalistic manner, not to the extend he would later go, but certainly far further then he had gone previously. However, Lizard in a Woman’s Skin most notable contribution to Fulci’s filmography from a stylistic perspective could be the way it began to blur the lines between reality and fantasy in ways he would further pursue later in his career.
Lizard in a Woman’s Skin certainly feels like a film that is present in the reality of the era in which it is set, however, Fulci chooses to implement psychedelic and dreamlike imagery to help drive his narrative. Later in his career with films like City of the Living Dead and The Beyond the narratives would take an almost entirely non-linear dreamlike quality where plot takes a backseat to visuals to tell the story. That sort of storytelling begins here with Carol’s dream sequences which give Fulci both the opportunity to drive his story forward, and also show off his visual flair.
Mondo Macabro brings Lucio Fulci's Lizard in a Woman's Skin to Blu-ray in top form. The film is presented in an MPEG-4 AVC encoded 1080p transfer preserving the films OAR. The level of detail present here is greatly increased from the 2007 DVD edition from Shriek Show, colors are much brighter and more spectacular, blacks are deep, flesh tones are accurate, and there is an organic, but unobtrusive grain structure present.
There are 2 audio options both completely solid, LPCM 2.0 tracks in English and Italian. Subtitles are present for the Italian version of the film. The tracks are decent with dialogue coming through clearly in both, as does the score and ambient sound.
Mondo Macabro have put together a completely solid extras for the standard Blu-ray release edition of Lizard in a Woman's Skin. The Blu-ray kicks with a commentary by Fulci documentation Kit Gavin. This is followed by a 33 minute documentary called Lucio Fulci: Day for Night that sees the director himself discuss his career as a whole. There is also a 34 minute documentary called Shedding the Skin that goes into detail about Lizard and it's place in the 70's giallo genre. We are also treated to a piece by Stephen Thrower that analyzes the film. Following up on that we get an interview with Tony Adams called From Burton To Baker that runs 13 minutes long. The disc is rounded off by radio, TV spots, and trailers.
Mondo Macabro have gone all out bringing what is arguably Lucio Fulci's finest contribution to the giallo to Region A Blu-ray. The A/V looks and sounds fantastic, and the extras are elaborate, informative, and certain to please fans of the film. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.