In the Folds of the Flesh (1970)

a.k.a. - Nelle pieghe della carne (ITA)

Pier Angeli stars in a uniquely twisted and unusual Italian Giallo for director Sergio Bergonzelli. Severin R1 USA.

The Film

In a large country house, a murder is taking place and the body of the victim is buried out in the garden - but an escaped criminal witnesses the scene from a distance. Years later he is free from jail and pays the family a visit, hoping to uncover the body and escape with some blackmail money, after taking advantage of the mother and daughter - but the family have other plans...

Giallo films range from light hearted sexy comedies to some dark and disturbing productions, usually following a basic murder-mystery format, some however deliberately subverted the format, most notably Lucio Fulci's premonition based Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes (1976). From much earlier in the giallo cycle Sergio Bergonzelli's script for In the Folds of the Flesh does a similar job of subverting what you would expect. It opens with a murder and all seems cleanly cut (like the victim's neck) for a little while, but as the storyline progresses we are hit with a number of clues and it becomes apparent that nothing is quite right until the multi-twist climax that amazingly resolves everything and somehow never quite pushes into the realms of the improbable (but does come close).

The film certainly takes a lot of time to get into, the lengthy early sequence with a visitor the house being introduced to the family is rather tiresome, but things start to pick up when he gets killed and more victims start to arrive. Pacing is quite slow but aside from these early scenes, the film never drags. Although all of the killings are well written in to the story, a sequence that does seem completely gratuitous is a Nazi death camp flashback, seemingly only there to provide extra nudity and shock value for the trailer and completely superfluous to the storyline - oddly though, there is little in the way of nudity in the rest of the picture.

Little known director Sergio Bergonzelli takes the ropes here and certainly adds a distinctive touch to this picture with a penchant for unorthodox camera angles and a clever use of still photographs to represent events in flashback as though through the eyes of the media. Jesús Villa Rojo is credited with the soundtrack and provides a neat background score varying from contemporary jazz to dark classical during the acid bath sequences, rather remniscent of the old Universal Horror scores.

Two Italian starlets who never made it into the mainstream take the top billing here, Eleonora Rossi Drago as mother and unexpectedly blonde Pier Angeli as daughter - but the most memorable performance comes from Spaghetti Western regular Fernando Sancho as the sharp eyed but not too clever criminal and none will forget his lengthy bathtub sequence for a while...

One of the most original Gialli, In the Folds of the Flesh will certainly not be to all tastes, but Euro-cult fans looking for something rather strange and different will probably want to check this one out.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? No-one particularly well known
Directed by anyone interesting? Sergio Bergonzelli - a lesser known Italian director who worked on the early Spaghetti Western Jim il primo (1964) and later the French erotic drama Joy (1983).
Any gore or violence? Some gory deaths but nothing too vivid - certianly not compared to the later films
Any sex or nudity? Aside from unerotic full female nude scenes in the black and white death camp flashbacks (which crop up briefly a few times), there are a couple of very brief topless shots and a cut-away rape scene.
Who is it for? Fans of the giallo and of the more unusual or simply wierd elements of Italian cult cinema should really enjoy this.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour
The print is good with good colours and detail - some mild grain and slight print damage throughout.
Audio English mono track, sounds fine.
Subtitles None.
Extras The disc includes:
  • Original theatrical trailer.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - NTSC
Other regions? Not otherwise available on DVD.
Cuts? Believed to be fully uncut. The print used is English language.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 3rd January 2009.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

Please contact: