Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Killer Wore Gloves (1974)

Original title: La muerte llama a las 10

Peggy Foster (Gillian Hills) hasn’t heard from her live-in boyfriend Michael for quite some time, which not only makes her rather nervous, what with him working as a war correspondent in Saigon, but also sees her money running out quickly. So she rents out the upper flat of the double flat she shares with Michael to one John Kirk Lawford (Bruno Corazzari, I think). Shortly after Lawford arrives, a phone call supposedly coming from Michael (though Peggy can’t seem to actually identify her own boyfriend from his voice, so make of this what you will) lures her to the outskirts of London.

There, a glove-wearing would-be killer attempts to shoot Peggy. Our heroine manages to flee, only to find somebody has jumped to his death from her terrace. She just assumes the corpse is Lawford, and then proceeds to pretend to the police she knows nobody and nothing, and where is this anyway? She also tells them nothing about the attempt on her life, because Peggy is obviously not going to do anything sensible during the course of the movie. While two very rude cops – who clearly and correctly believe that Peggy’s a lying liar who lies – are still trying to get any useful information out of her, another guy calling himself John Kirk Lawford arrives (this would be Ángel del Pozo, unless it’s the other way round) for his room. Things proceed in the same tone and style from here on out, with Peggy acting like an absolute idiot while bizarre characters like her crazy and sleazy neighbour Mr Lewis (Carlos Otero) say threatening and ambiguous stuff to her that barely makes sense, people are murdered, and a bag full of money appears.

Well, you really can’t accuse Juan Bosch’s Spanish-lead giallo The Killer Wore Gloves (which indeed the killer does) of making much sense at all, or most of the time of making any sense whatsoever, perfectly fitting into that part of the giallo genre that doesn’t even construct convoluted and hardly believable plots anymore but instead presents a random series of barely coherent scenes filmed with as much style and vigour as director and money can come up with.

The film makes so little sense – and obviously doesn’t care to - I found myself zoning out of its plot quite early on, instead admiring the cheap yet excellent 70s interior design, Marcello Giombini’s derivative yet great score, Peggy’s fashion-sense (though appreciating it with horror might be the better term here), and all the different ways Gillian Hills comes up with when it comes to looks of wide-eyed panic and confusion. The last reactions are of course perfectly appropriate for the film they are in, and reflect my feelings towards Peggy’s actions during the course of the movie so perfectly, I might be just ready to pretend the film is doing this on purpose, instead of being shoddily written.

I suppose, Peggy might be supposed to think she’s protecting Michael somehow from something or someone but since she has as little clue about the truths of matters around her as any of the film’s viewers, this makes as little sense as the eventual explanation of what’s going on. Not surprisingly, given the tone of the rest of this thing, said explanation doesn’t in fact explain much about the wherefore and why of the suspense scenes, the peculiar people, and the curious happening around our heroine. Like: who threw the cat at her? Well, the assistant director, one supposes, but that’s not exactly a great in-movie explanation. What, exactly were the bad guys thinking when they came up with their plan? Did they know everybody else would act idiotic or crazy or both? Was something in the water? Who actually murdered all these people? And so on, and so forth.

So, obviously, The Killer Wore Gloves isn’t exactly a film for anyone who wants their mysteries to make even the minor amount of sense one is used to in one’s giallos, but if you’re willing to just go with it, stare at the pretty people (okay, one or two pretty persons, really, because the rest of the cast isn’t always pretty to look at), bug your eyes at how little this hangs together as a story - in a thematic sense or however else - and enjoy some cheap yet often quite stylish (if less than original) moving pictures, you might have as fun of a time with this as I had.

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