It's been awhile since I've watched giallo movies. I'll admit Italian giallo/horror movies are mood movies. They require extra attention, patience, and a willing to let the story unfold layer by layer. So here's my way of jumping back into the giallo race.
Raro Video seems to be the new kid on the block, so how are the DVD's? On both "Body Puzzle" and "Murder Obsession" you get quality tranfers, though not an overabundance of extras, but to watch a complete version of a film that's underappreciated or obscure, I consider myself lucky to get a high resolution viewing experience. Kudos for the tranfers! Lets do a better job on the extra features.
As for the films themselves, I'll dive into "Murder Obsession" first. This is the classic scenario where the main character, an actor, doesn't know whether he's killing people or not or if it's just his imagination or someone else behind the scenes that's doing the killing. The main character's one troubled guy. He's got mommy issues, father issues, the fact he murdered his father over his head, and a sick mother who is living in one creepy ass castle with a super creepy butler/groundskeeper. The gore scenes are laughable (though two kills are done by axe and chainsaw with aplomb) and the whodunit twist is very predictable, yet I managed to have some mild fun with this one, though it's got a bit too much pointless stream of consciousness scenes in it for my taste. The music, meant to be creepy, is a tad annoying. Overall, it's almost too tame to be a slasher and too predictable to be a solid giallo. So I'd give a 3 out of 5. For the average person, I'd say skip it, but for someone who has to see everything, there are aspects of this film that will entertain.
"Body Puzzle" I enjoyed a bit more. We're jumping forward about 10 years after "Murder Obsession," so it's late 80's/90's feel in "BP" where the giallo is pretty much a beached whale rotting on the sand. This isn't exactly a film to resurrect the giallo, but it's darn entertaining. It sucks for Lamberto Bava to always be compared to his father, Mario Bava, so I'm skipping that bullshit.
The main plot involves a woman who keeps getting body parts left at her mansion. Is it her husband whose supposed to be dead doing it, an old friend of her dead husband's, or something else completely? The biggest question, why are they taking pieces of people and leaving them in the house? It's not a complicated thriller, because we already know the killer, though the identity of that person is obscured a little, but you'll figure it out without scrunching up that brain of yours too hard. There is some blood flow, but not enough to call it a gory. I'd say the time spent with the detective is the best utilized. By the end, the films just okay, but it's fun to watch.
"Body Puzzle" seems to be missing the style, the grit, and the sexiness that older giallos possessed. It's stripped down of style, sure, so it kinda comes off as a late night Cinemax movie. That may sound insulting, but I mean it's fun, but not a style movie. "Macabre" and "Demons" are Lamberto Bava's best films, and "Body Puzzle" is miles away from those films, but it's not crap.
That said, I'm keeping my eye on Raro Video for what else they put out. I'm happy to add these films to my collection. Here's to keeping an eye out to what other movies are on the DVD horizon!