The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is a bottom-of-the-barrel giallo, but as per usual in the genre, is not totally without merit.
The story (what little there is of it) concerns a number of couples converging on an old disused theatre at the behest of Sir Patrick Davenant. After various soft core fumblings, the real business begins with a recital of Romeo and Juliet. At the end of the scene, the actress playing Juliet falls on her dagger, which unfortunately has been replaced with a real blade, causing the actress to die for real on the stage. Thinking that this is a great performance the rest of the cast give her a hearty round of applause!
It soon becomes apparent that a masked maniac has locked the doors of the theatre, trapping the cast inside and is roaming the corridors with murder in mind.
One by one the cast are bumped off by the killer, using a number of notably graphic murder techniques. One particularly memorable scene has one of the female cast members being mauled by the killer, who first removes her panties with a switchblade, stabs her repeatedly in the crotch, and then as the "piece de resistance" uses a mallet and a six inch nail to pin her hand to a wooden post!
A possible supernatural element is belatedly brought into the proceedings near the end as the rapidly dwindling cast try to work out the identity of the murderer.
The Killer Reserves Nine Seats is one of the most ridiculous giallos ever made in terms of character motivation. The actions of the characters are totally ludicrous throughout the film. Even when they realise a maniac is decimating the cast, they still sneak off for various illicit trysts (with both heterosexual and lesbian shenanigans being on display), and one female character, after spotting the grotesquely masked killer in the shadows, has no qualms about chasing him down a dark corridor even though she is totally alone.
All the women in the cast are gorgeous, and every single one of them is required to strip naked for the camera at some point, which is probably a good thing as their acting abilities are on a par with Mr. Ed!!!!
The film is flatly directed, looking almost TV movie like at times, only springing to gleeful life when another sex/gore sequence is served up for our delectation.
The musical score by Carlo Savina is a terrible, droning dirge for most of the film, and doesn't help matters at all.
The most interesting part of The Killer Reserves Nine Seats is that when you are watching it you realise that Michele Soavi and Aristide Masaccesi have at some point seen it as well. Soavi's "Stagefright" (an infinitely better film in every respect) repeats a number of scenes from this film almost verbatim, and also shares the same disused theatre setting.
The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is for giallo completists only. It does have a tendency to drag, but comes to life kicking and screaming every now and then with a brutal murder sequence or a gratuitous sex scene.
The tape reviewed here is the Greek tape which is fullscreen, has a pretty "soft" picture quality throughout and has a crackling mono soundtrack.