The Killer Must Kill Again
Director - Luigi Cozzi
Cast - George Hilton, Antoine Saint-John
Country of Origin - Italy
Distributor - Mondo Macabro
Reviewer - Scott MacDonald
Date - 02/18/13
The Film (4/5)
I will admit Luigi Cozzi's filmography does not give the typical film viewer much to love. When I saw my first Cozzi film many moons ago (Alien Contamination) I was ready to write him off as a hack director, and then I saw Star Crash, and decided hack director be damned this man could at the very least make a fun film. He's not a filmmaker whose filmography I find myself dipping into often, but given the opportunity to view and review his debut feature, and a giallo at that I simply could not resist.
The Killer Must Kill Again features George Hilton (The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh) as a married man, Giorgio, whose wife cuts him off from her money after he has proven to be a cheating and unreliable husband. Frustrated by this turn of events, he leaves their home to visit his mistress (classy guy). While out he observes a nameless murderer (Antoine Saint-John, The Beyond) dumping a car with a recently murdered corpse into a river. Rather than turn the killer over to the authorities he proposes a second murder to him. He will pay the murderer 20,000 dollars to kill his wife, and to make it look like a kidnapping.
The murder happens while Giorgio is at a party, and goes off without a hitch. However, when putting the body in the trunk in order to complete the kidnapping aspect of the murder the car he was using is stolen by a pair of young lovers (Luca and Laura) who just want to have a beach weekend. He quickly grabs another car, and pursues the duo in order to keep the plan from becoming unhinged. Meanwhile, Giorgio is trying to lead a police inspector away from getting to the bottom of the plan back home.
The giallo was well established before Cozzi's 1975 debut, and like the best films in the genre (ex. Short Night of Glass Dolls) he uses the expectations the genre sets in advance to create a wholly different viewing experience. First, and foremost, we know who the killer is within 10 minutes of the movie starting. One of the primary calling cards of a giallo is leaving the killer's identity obscured until the conclusion. This narrative device creates a whole different dynamic for the film. The question is no longer who is the killer, but when will he kill, and will he get away with it? Cozzi plays these questions up to maximum effect creating quite a suspenseful atmosphere in the process.
The cast contains a veritable group of Eurocult all stars with Antoine Saint John from the Beyond playing the skeletal faced, nameless killer. His look, and extreme lack of emotion really sells his character. We have George Hilton from an endless list of gialli, and other Italian films appearing as Giorgio, the husband who wants his wife dead. He really plays up the bastard in this character. Alessio Orano from Bava's Lisa and the Devil appears as the boyfriend/car thief. And that's just a few of the familiar faces populating this cast. It also brings me to a greater point about the characters in this film, they are pretty much all bastards. Even Laura who is supposed to be the audience identification figure, and goes through a horrific rape scene is not entirely innocent herself.
As I stated in my earlier, I love Cozzi's later film Star Crash, but even I will admit it's not exactly a "good" film by any stretch of the imagination. It's fun, but is it legitimately good, far from it. The Killer Must Kill Again, however, is a fantastic well-plotted thriller from the first time director, and one must wonder why he didn't pursue the giallo genre beyond his first film. Was it his association with Argento, who had a distaste for the gialli that sprang up after the success of his Bird with the Crystal Plumage? No one, but Cozzi could ever say for sure, and he certainly has never stated publicly. That being said out of the lot of his films I have seen it is his first that is truly his best.
Mondo Macabro present Luigi Cozzi's The Killer Must Kill Again in an absolute stunner of a 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. The colors on this transfer pop nicely, black levels are inky and deep, and detail is nice and strong. I did not see much in the way of print damage either, which is quite surprising considering many films of it's age, and caliber are usually riddled with at least a few imperfections. This is truly a revelation of a giallo transfer.
Mondo Macabro have given us 2 audio options mono tracks in both English and Italian. As most people reading this are probably aware Italian filmmakers in the past didn't shoot sound on set, so either track would suffice as far as native viewing, however, I did stick with the Italian track for most of my viewing if just to have subtitles. The Italian track is nice crisp and and clean with all elements completely audible throughout. The English track for the moments I did switch over did have some lower dialogue levels, and I did find it slightly harder to hear at times.
Mondo Macabro have put together a nice slate of extras for the Killer Must Kill Again. The disc opens with a feature commentary with director Luigi Cozzi moderated by Mondo Macabro's Pete Tombs. We then have 2 interviews with Cozzi The Road to the Killer and Initials D.A. The first has Cozzi talking about his background in the genre, as a child hood fan of horror and sci-fi films, and what lead him to make films in the first place. The second discusses his mentor ship, and friendship with director Dario Argento. We then have a wonderful documentary on the giallo genre called Death Walks at Midnight and the Giallo Genre, which was taken from the Mondo Macabro U.K. disc of the giallo Death Walks at Midnight. We also have the films theatrical trailer under the title The Dark is Death's Friend. The disc content is rounded off with a series of text biographies.
Luigi Cozzi's the Killer Must Kill Again is an absolute blast of sleazy giallo fun. The Mondo Macabro disc looks incredible, and comes loaded with special features. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.