All the Colors of the Dark

12/02/2021 06:32

Film: All the Colors of the Dark (Tutti i colori del buio)

Year: 1972

Director: Sergio Martino

Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi and Sauro Scavolini

Starring: George Hilton, Edwige Fenech and Ivan Rassimov



This is a movie that I first heard about when I got into podcasts. Part of the reason was that I didn’t know about the giallo sub-genre until then. I knew a bit about Italian cinema, but that was more of the zombie films that my dad had on VHS. This is one of the bigger titles that were a bit of a blind spot for me so I’m watching it for Italian horror month. The synopsis is a woman recovering from a car accident in which she lost her unborn child finds herself pursued by a coven of devil worshipers.

For this movie, we start with an interesting montage that is out of context. We see a pregnant woman on a bench. She is rubbing a weird liquid on her stomach. There is a woman in bed that is attacked by a man with a stiletto. He has odd blue eyes. We also see another woman that is acting funny. It then shifts over to a stretch of road that we are moving down rapidly until it crashes into a tree. I found this an effective way to convey a bit of our synopsis and get us up to speed without telling us.

From here we are following Jane Harrison (Edwige Fenech). She lives with her boyfriend of Richard Steele (George Hilton). As the movie goes on, it makes a point to confirm that we know they aren’t married. Jane has nightmares and what we see is what she dreams of. Richard is a representative that sells pharmaceutical drugs. With her condition, he recommends her taking one of the items he sells. She doesn’t like how they make her feel though. Jane has a sister of Barbara (Nieves Navarro) who thinks her better option is to see the doctor she works for.

Jane is starting to see images from her dreams even when she is awake. This is causing a strain on her relationship with Richard. She is even more terrified when she sees the man with the blue eyes in the waiting room for Dr. Burton (George Rigaud). He doesn’t believe she actually saw this man, but Barbara confirms there was a man meeting Jane’s description before she went in.

She continues to see this man everywhere she goes. In the process she meets her new neighbor of Mary Weil (Marina Malfatti). The two of them hit it off and Jane confides in her. She has another way to help her which leads her to a cult that is practicing rituals nearby. They’re led by J.P. McBrian (Julián Ugarte). At first it seems to be helping, but things take an even darker turn and Jane isn’t sure anymore as to what is real and what isn’t.

That is where I want to leave my recap for this movie. Where I want to start is that this is an interesting take on the giallo. We aren’t getting one in the traditional sense. Jane is questioning what she is seeing and doesn’t know if she is dreaming things or they are happening. She also doesn’t know who she can trust. Jane needs to figure this out before she is killed in the process. There is a reveal at the end that I didn’t need, but it does add a bit of stakes. We don’t really have police investigation here, so this is a giallo that knows what it is doing while being strong enough to work in the frame without being too formulaic in my opinion.

Where I think I’ll start is the character of Jane. She reveals to Dr. Burton that the nightmare she has didn’t start with her miscarriage. She hasn’t told this to Richard as she doesn’t think he will believe her. He is a jerk of sorts, so I get where she is coming from actually. What I like is that her nightmare turns out to be what happened to her mother. In her search of what is happening to her, it will explain this as well. Jane is bothered by her miscarriage as well. Richard believes he is helping, but he’s not. He seems a bit too wrapped up in his life and with work to fully give her the attention she needs. Barbara is there for her though. It also seems Mary wants to help along with Dr. Burton. Not everyone is who they seem though. Fenech does an excellent job in this movie. She can do a lot with her facial expressions and she is gorgeous which doesn’t hurt.

Next I want to delve into this cult we see in the movie. They get introduced when Mary believes they will help Jane let go of her feelings. Their ritual is quite surreal with what they do. Initially Jane thinks it helps. I don’t believe in the supernatural, but I do think that there are psychosomatic effects to those that do. This is short lived in the movie. The deeper she gets into it though, the more she isn’t sure what is real and what is a dream. I like though that movie doesn’t lean too much into making us think she is crazy. There were two times that either Jane or another character confirms what she says is true. This is a troupe we see a lot of today and I like this movie from 1970s was bucking it. Even at the end, we aren’t fully sure if there is something supernaturally happening or not. That is something that worked for me.

I think that is enough for the story, so I’ll take this over to the acting. I’ve already said my piece on Fenech who is great. I like the role that Hilton has in this movie. We aren’t sure if we can fully trust him or not. That adds to the red herrings along with helping the mystery. Ivan Rassimov has a menacing look. We don’t know if he is real or just part of Jane’s fantasy which is interesting. Ugarte has an interesting look. He is similar to Rassimov’s character of Mark Cogan. Rigaud is good as the doctor along with Navarro, Malfatti and the rest of the cast. There is enough mystery for all of them that add layers to this story.

Then the last parts to go into would be the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, we don’t get a lot, but what we do look fine. I was surprised that they are weaker compared to some things that I’ve seen. This movie relies more on the story so I’m fine with what they do. Most of the kills are done with the stiletto or off screen, but it is more of the mystery as I’ve said. The cinematography though is amazing. Martino is a director I’m new to, but along with Miguel Fernández Mila and Giancarlo Ferrando, they shot the heck out of this. The montage and surreal things they do was on point for conveying the story. The soundtrack definitely helped there as well which was also great.

So then in conclusion here, this is a movie that I’m glad that I’ve finally gotten around to seeing. It is an interesting giallo that isn’t as formulaic as others I’ve seen and I give credit there to Martino for how the story is told. Fenech’s performance as Jane helps there as she doesn’t know who she can trust. The acting around her is good. The cinematography is amazing in conveying what they needed along with the soundtrack. Effects are lacking a bit, but it isn’t that type of movie either. There are just some things that work for me with this cult and Jane’s mental state. This is one that I’m excited to revisit now that I’ve seen it.


My Rating: 9 out of 10