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Eyeball (1975)

Directed by Umberto Lenzi
Prism VHS

THE FILM
It was a beautiful weekend. Cool breeze coming through the window. A big bag of pretzels and some wonderful Pale Ales sat on the coffee table. In the distance, an acoustic guitar played and a man sang. On the TV, Eyeball played. Joe and I took a magical journey to beautiful Barcelona and watched a gaggle of tourists slowly get killed by a person in a red raincoat with a very sharp knife.

I think I prefer watching giallos at this time of day and with this sort of weather. Somehow the atmosphere of the world matches the atmosphere of the movie and everything seems right. The old priest doesn’t seem creepy. All the folks from “Burlington” don’t seem quite so obnoxious. Paulette looks great, although she needs to lose those huge glasses. The lesbian couple doesn’t seem to be as shoehorned into the story as all the lesbian couples (or lesbian scenes) were in films from this place at this time. Yes, the bus driver is still obnoxious but that could be the man dubbing him who is making him that way.

I would have gladly joined them and…awesome…as a guy, I wouldn’t have been in one iota of danger. The killer is after pretty young ladies. I’ve been many things but never that. I would have gone to see some flamenco dancers instead of worrying about the females on the bus. And, that’s what the guys did. You have to know how to have fun and when to have it and where.

I always think of Umberto Lenzi from this period as a man who was just filling up time in movies until he shot another car chase. Eyeball, however, comes to us completely without car chases. This is no Lenzi Deterrent! He keeps the pace going at a nice rate. There is a constant mix of intrigue, mystery, violence, sex and new locations (when the leads are on a tour bus, they’re in a different spot every day) to keep the viewer watching. And, there are just enough goofy bits (in the dubbing and in the general scheme of things) to make you smile. My favorite: Mark, the hero, asks what plane his wife is taking out of Barcelona. The hotel desk clerk says the “Something-Or-Other flight at 5:55″. Cut to a clock reading 17:08…And, I instantly though, “Oh no, it took off 12 hours ago.”

I wish I was more of a giallo expert. I originally wanted to be, when I was younger and more innocent. All those great titles. All those people in masks. All those odd characters. All that strange explaining at the end. But, I never quite made it. I can watch a few and then I find myself watching other things. I don’t know why. Am I not Continental enough? That’s a possibility. After watching Eyeball, I think I figured it out. I need that atmosphere. If I watch them at night, I fall asleep. If it’s too hot, I look around a lot. Too cold…I fall asleep. With the perfect atmosphere, I could watch giallos all day.

There is also a possibility that I might just end up watching Eyeball all day.

AUDIO AND VIDEO
The Prism VHS looks a little gamy but that’s the way all these things look in my mind. The audio was fine. The dubbing is by Our Usual Group of Pals. I’d love to see this letterboxed because there were a few shots that didn’t really work in the pan & scan/locking the picture in the middle of the frame thing they did. There is that German DVD but I never picked it up. My regrets are my own.

EXTRAS
A rather funny Eaten Alive trailer. The announcer’s opening sentence made us both laugh.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Eyeball is a mighty entertaining giallo. I think you should watch it. If you can catch the trailer, watch that too. Not the most insightful things I’ve ever said but the movie does what it needs to do and I had a nice afternoon.