Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971), written and directed by Dario Argento.

If I were a proper thriller/horror fan I would know all about the giallo genre, but I haven't seen any of the other films listed in the filmography. Too much splatter for me? This one does not have so much, and I might try others.

Roberto, a rock band drummer, is stalked by a mysterious stranger. He confronts the man in a deserted theater and accidentally kills him. It has all been photographed by a masked figure in the gallery. The persecution of Roberto begins. He dreams of an execution. More murders. Then it gets complicated...

Nice Hitchcockian setup, where we identify with the somewhat guilty protagonist. More like DePalma; I'm sure he was a fan, and we have his sort of scene where a private eye tails a suspect on the subway: we don't see who it is, even though the detective does.

Minimalist in presentation and acting, it has nicely tense scenes but also quirky comic bits. Meant to be a wry thriller? In one gruesome moment we see an eyeball mounted in a special camera: they want to recover the last thing the victim saw by photographing the retina (that's an old myth, by the way).

I've read that fans waited for a long time for the good DVD to appear; for the rest of us it is a minor thriller.

One brief nudity and passion scene.

Ennio Morricone score. No subtitles on the Mya DVD, which is the uncut remastered edition, so you have either the original Italian audio track or the English dub.