Day 17: Fulci!
The Psychic (1977)
This years Junesploitation has seen me watch a number of Italian horror films and Day 17’s is no different as the prompt is ‘Fulci’ and a great excuse to fill in a gap with his filmography. One Lucio Fulci film I had no previously seen is The Psychic (1977) aka Sette note in nero aka Murder to the Tune of the Seven Black Notes and what a fantastic choice this was. Perhaps one of Fulci’s more reserved films in terms of over the top gore, as a supernatural style giallo he really hit a home run with this.
Clairvoyant Virginia (Jennifer O’Neill) has been having psychic visions since she was child and saw her mother’s death as one of those visions in a scene that is reminiscent of the end to Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972). Virginia is having visions again, as she makes her way to her husband Francesco’s (Gianni Garko) old house to start renovating. Her visions inspire her to break through a wall in a bedroom and skeleton is found. With the help of her friend Luca (Marc Porel), Virginia is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to to the skeleton discovered but her visions seem to be hinting at something much more sinister.
The Psychic is a visually stunning and intense film, the scenes of Virginia having her visions are extremely well done and how they play into the story give enough clues that it all ties together by the final act. The tune ‘sette note in nero‘ is so simple yet so chilling, whenever that plays it sends tingles up the spine, a memorable one that Quentin Tarantino would use in Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003). The conclusion may be a tad predictable (especially if you follow the clues carefully), however the impact is shocking and hits hard. Jennifer O’Neill is great as Virginia and holds the film together with the mystery that surrounds her. Fulci was certainly a giallo master and this film shows why, highly recommended viewing especially if you haven’t seen a lot of Fulci’s work or giallos.
Day 18: Cannon!
Sleeping Beauty (1987)
Last year I discovered Cannon Films Puss In Boot (1988) starring Christopher Walken for Junesploitation with ‘Musicals’ day and to follow that up I decided to go with another Cannon Movie Tales film with Sleeping Beauty (1987) for ‘Cannon!’ day. Sleeping Beauty is a story I have always liked, the early versions of the story in fairy tale form are quite dark and Disney certainly made their animated version dark in a different way. This version is far lighter with many musical numbers and aimed at a young audience, much the same as Puss In Boots.
The story does not really differ too much from the classic story, an evil fairy upset she was not invited to the Princesses party as hosted by the King and Queen puts a spell over the Princess. This version does have the addition of Kenny Baker as the elf and it is all the better for it, he is just wonderful in the role and is a real stand out in the film. Cannon was well known for their low budget productions and several of the Cannon Movie Tales were filmed around the same time and often shared the same space. The budget constraints are evident, however the costumes are quite lovely and are another stand out of the film.
Unfortunately the film suffers from some dire pacing issues and songs that are not very good and slow the film down, the only musical sequence that works and is extremely charming is the scene with the fairies, when they first visit the Princess. Overall the film is not a complete failure by any means, it has charm, flair and enjoyable moments just mixed with some rather dull elements. If I had seen this as a child, I do not doubt it would have been a favourite to watch on repeat.
Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea
Please check out FThisMovie.net, with many thanks to the crew for the concept of Junesploitation and some excellent prompts for 2022!