Gialli are a crazy breed of film, with an even crazier fanbase. I should know; I stand in league with them, eagerly awaiting the DVD releases of films like Sergio Martino’s Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key. One of the most sought and sleazy of the Italian murder/mystery genre, Vice comes to DVD courtesy of dark-horse distributor, NoShame Films, a company whose catalog reads like a Euro-sleaze wish list.
Vice tells the tale of Oliviero Rouvigny (Rassimov), a once-popular writer who, since his marriage to Irina (Strindberg), has struggled with writer’s block, alcoholism, and serious anger management issues. Oliviero is also something of a womanizer, preying on the naïve young girls who still think him a literary genius. When one of those girls, a former student of Oliviero’s with whom he’d had planned a meeting, is found brutally murdered, the police question the writer about his whereabouts on the night of the crime. Irina covers for Oliviero, telling the police he was home even though she has her own suspicions about him.
Soon after, the couple’s maid is butchered in their home, and Oliviero, still proclaiming his innocence, insists that Irina help him dispose of the body lest they attract further attention from the police. Meanwhile, as if life wasn’t complicated enough, Oliviero’s gorgeous niece Floriana (Fenich) arrives for an unannounced visit. Floriana sees the way Oliviero mistreats his wife, and offers the woman her condolences by way of seduction. The young girl also seems to not only have her eyes on Oliviero, but a fortune in jewels left behind by the writer’s domineering mother. All the while, the killer is still at large, seemingly intent on seeing Oliviero pay for the crimes; that is, if the killer isn’t Oliviero, himself!
As convoluted as its title would lead one to believe, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is the quintessential giallo film, loaded with bloody deaths, loads of softcore sex, and a fish market’s worth of red herrings from which to choose from. One of the things I love most about this genre is that anything can happen, and, oftentimes, it does. There’s murder, incest, rape, racism, inane banter, and heaps of misogyny. These films are like time capsules of sophisticatedly bad taste and the good ones, like Vice, take these elements to delirious extremes.
NoShame Films present Vice in a gorgeous widescreen transfer with choice of the original Italian track (with English subtitles), or English dubbed (both in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono). Special features include interviews with Fenich (who is still pretty hot for an older gal!), Martino, and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, as well as a stills gallery, trailers for other films in the Sergio Martino collection, and a booklet featuring liner notes and talent bios.
If giallo flicks are your thing, then this is an absolutely essential purchase! Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key is as fun and thrilling as its title is long, so sit back, pour yourself a martini, and settle in for an afternoon’s worth of unadulterated sleaze!