Gianni Garko stars in Lucio Fulci's unrelenting and incredibly well written supernatural giallo. Severin Films US R1 DVD release.
young girl in school screams as her mother jumps from a cliff, hundreds
of miles away. Years later, Virginia is married to the wealthy
Francesco Ducci (Gianni Garko). After dropping him off at the airport
to go away on business, she is assailed by the vision of a brutal
murder. Talking to her psychiatrist Luca (Marc Porell) she tries to
understand the meaning of the case. Visiting Ducci's old family home
she realises that she is in the room that she saw, and tearing away at
a wall, discovers the skeleton of a young girl. The police are baffled,
but Virginia and Luca try and figure out the clues from her detailed
vision, but some elements simply do not match up...
by Fulci regular Roberto Gianviti, and Dardano Sacchetti, who would
script many of Fulci's best known horror films over the next few years,
and was working with the director for the first time, Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes
takes a partly supernatural twist to the Giallo genre - this was
something relatively common, but rarely done as effectively as the more
orthodox Gialli. However from the opening moments, the script for Seven Notes in Black is simply perfect and comes to form a film that undoubtedly ranks in the genre's topmost echelons.
open with the suicide of Virginia's mother - a scene that would seem to
be rather unnecessary, given that it plays no part in the film, but it
is essential as it provides from the start that she really is Psychic,
and means the audience know her visions are more than just bad dreams.
The development takes the Giallo mystery elements to new places, no
longer are we simply trying to work out the name of the killer, but the
time of the murder and even the identity of the victim. The film moves
along at a quite relentless pace, without any time to drag - a lot of
subplots that could have slowed down the film are quickly passed over,
and exposition is kept to a bare minimum - it all builds up to a
lengthy climax that certainly ranks as one of the most nail-biting and
tense in all cinema, with an ending that is simply perfect.
Fulci is often derided as a simple hack, obsessed with gory effects,
but watching this movie it is clear that he is on a par with the best
of Italian cinema. While he shoots most of the film in a very normal
fashion, the sequences of the vision are edited and filmed in a
wonderfully dream-like style. Special effects are used lightly, and
aside from some rather dodgy effects at the start, are very effective.
The soundtrack is provided by Franco Bixio, Vince Tempera and Fabio
Frizzi, the latter of whom would provide many of Fulci's distinctive
1980s horror themes, and gives the film a good edge, working
particularly well in the vision sequences.
born Jennifer O'Neill is cast in the demanding lead role, and gives a
strong performance - many of the better known female Giallo stars
conveyed a lot of potent sexuality that would be very inappropriate for
this role. Ruggedly hansome Spaghetti Western star Gianni Garko was
rather unusual casting here, having only appeared in one other genre
entry - Cold Eyes of Fear
(1971) - but looks very effective in what is quite a brief role. Ida
Galli plays Francesco's sister, while Marc Porell heads up a long cast
of familiar faces with good performances all round.
One of the best Giallo scripts ever written and boasting one of the best ending scenes in cinema, Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes
is also treated to some good acting and a strong directoral turn from
Lucio Fulci, making it a highly recommended film to all Giallo fans,
and a must-have for anyone looking to explore the wider world of Fulci.
Anyone famous in it?
Gianni Garko - an Italian actor who became best known for his Spaghetti Western role as Sartana.
A couple of bloody murders, with some shots repeated several times.
Who is it for?
Highly recommended to Giallo and Lucio Fulci fans.
Original Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour. Picture quality is generally good, some very minor print damage is the only blemish. During the opening title sequences the print is slightly brighter and rather faded.
English mono. Note:
the review samples contained incorrectly processed audio which was too
quiet to hear on many television sets, the discs have since been
repressed, and the retail copies will all have corrected audio, which
is said to be very good.
The disc includes:
Original US Theatrical trailer
interview segment with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti, the editor Bruno
Micheli, and the costume designer Massimo Lentini. Contains some
interesting detail on the making of the film. (27 minutes)
DVD Title: The Psychic
Region 1 (USA, North America) - NTSC
on DVD from France, including a 2-disc special edition. No English
options (even though English audio is listed on the DVD case).
Belived to be fully uncut. The print is in Italian.
An amazingly well written Giallo, boosted by some good acting and direction. Highly recommended for Giallo or Fulci fans.
A good looking DVD release,
with an interesting interview segment, it is only a pity that the
lengthy extras from the French DVD could not have been licenced as well.