Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
your vice is a locked room and only i have the key | sergio martino | ernesto gastaldi | adriano bolzoni | sauro scavolini | edwige fenech | anita strindberg | luigi pistilli | drama | giallo | mystery | romance | thriller | italy | ivan rassimov | angela la vorgna
Film: Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Il tuo vizio è una stanza chiusa e solo io ne ho la chiave)
Director: Sergio Martino
Writer: Ernesto Gastaldi, Adriano Bolzoni and Sauro Scavolini
Starring: Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg and Luigi Pistilli
This is another movie that I didn’t know about until I got into horror movie podcasts. This is probably one of the earlier gialli that I heard about due to its wild title. It went on a list of movies to see, but hadn’t gotten around to it. I am now as part of Italian horror month finally. The synopsis is a series of murders are committed near the estate of a degenerate author and his wife.
Now where I’m going to start is that the more I get into gialli, the more I can appreciate them as well. The ones I watched earlier on make more sense once you get into the feel of them. I didn’t realize this movie was loosely based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story of The Black Cat. It is interesting is that not too long ago I rewatched Lucio Fulci’s take on this story as well.
Here though we start at the estate of Oliviero (Luigi Pistilli). His mother was royalty and it appears that she was also crazy. There is a painting on the wall of her along her favorite black cat, Satan. Oliviero is married to Irina (Anita Strindberg). I feel bad for her as her husband is an alcoholic and treats her poorly. He is having an affair with the maid of Brenda (Angela La Vorgna) as well as another woman in town named Fausta (Daniela Girodano). During this party, Oliviero makes a fool of his wife and we get a violent scene later where she dresses as his mother. This turns her husband on and he has rough sex with her.
As the synopsis stated, deaths start to happen. It starts with Fausta. She asks Oliviero to meet her at their usually spot. She sees someone when she gets there, but whoever this person is, they murder her. The police show up at their place when Fausta’s boss overheard her having a rendezvous set up with Oliviero. He denies it and states that he was home all night. Irina also covers for him. Brenda dies next. Oliviero swears he didn’t do it and convinces Irina to help him cover it up.
Things become even more complicated when Oliviero’s niece shows up without being invited. Her name is Floriana and she is played by the lovely Edwige Fenech. At the train station we see a man watching over them of Walter (Ivan Rassimov).
Oliviero, Irina and Floriana go back to the estate and we get the idea that the niece is a quite progressive. She turns on her uncle, amongst others. Being that she is a free thinker, she doesn’t like how Oliviero treats his wife. She encourages Irina to leave him. Things aren’t as they seem though and Irina also isn’t a big fan of Satan the cat. There are more murders, but who is behind them?
That is where I’m going to leave my recap of the movie as I don’t want to go into spoilers. Where I’ll start is the idea of this being an adaptation of the Poe story. For the longest time I was confused by this. We do get to meet the black cat for this story of Satan early on, but it isn’t until much later that it factors in. When I picked up where it was going, I then knew how it was going to end. It does state to be freely adapted so I’m not going to hold it against the movie. There are some plot holes and the story has issues getting started. Once it settles in though, I’m there.
This is another odd giallo film as well. We don’t get to meet Floriana until about 30 minutes of the movie, which confused me since I’m a Fenech fan. What this does though is establish that we have this toxic couple. Oliviero is a drunk, failed writer with anger issues. Irina just takes it. She is attractive, just doesn’t have self-esteem. We see a scene where men in town are turned on by her. Part of this could be that they present as being wealthy. Despite this, Oliviero is no longer attracted to her and has affairs. The deaths start happening, Oliviero needs Irina’s help to prove that he is not the killer. They aren’t trying to solve them as more of trying to keep the police from believing it is them. There is a plot behind this and the killer is kept to the shadows as well. This one had me guessing until right near the end, which I appreciate.
Before moving away from the story, I want to delve into the character of Floriana. She is interesting in that she knows she is attractive and uses it to her advantage. She has a guy from town who delivers things to the estate wanting her. Floriana is a modern woman in that she enjoys sex, but tells the guy to not fall in love with her. She doesn’t know how long their affair with last as she doesn’t want to be tied down. It does get a bit odd with the incest angle with her uncle. Floriana even seduces Irina in a way as well. Fenech takes on this role and kills it in my opinion.
Since I’ve moved into the acting, I’ll cover the rest of the cast. I thought that Strindberg is interesting as this broken woman. She is putting up with a lot and I felt horrible for her. Where her character ends up is quite interesting and I wasn’t expecting it. Pistilli is despicable as her husband. I can see that he’s broken by failure, but I just hate the way he treats his wife. I’ll be honest; I wanted bad things to happen to him. Rassimov is also interesting in his smaller role that plays bigger later into the movie. Aside from that, the rest of the cast was solid. We also have some beautiful women here with quite a bit of nudity if you’re looking for that.
So then the last things to go into would be the effects, cinematography and the soundtrack. For the former, they were good. I was impressed with the blood and the gore that we got. It didn’t go over the top, but it also didn’t need to. They were done practical which I’m also a fan of. This movie is also shot very well. I came to expect that knowing that this is a Martino film. We get some interesting angles and shots. Then finally to the soundtrack, which was done by Bruno Nicolai. He’s a name that I recognized and I think what he did here worked. I was a big fan.
In conclusion here, this is a solid giallo film. I like taking this Poe story and then expanding on it to get what we do here. The acting is probably the strongest part of this movie with the likes of Fenech along with Strindberg, Pistilli and Rassimov. The rest of the cast worked in support. There are some plot holes, but once the movie settles in I didn’t have a problem there. Effects looked good, the cinematography was well done and I like the soundtrack to the movie. For me, this is a good movie and one that I’ll definitely revisit now that I’ve seen it.
My Rating: 8 out of 10