The giallo was never a genre that specialized in tight, coherent, logical storylines. But even by the bizarre standards of the form, In the Folds of the Flesh takes some kinda cake. Trying to summarize its plot is next to impossible, as the first two thirds of the plot are incomprehensible, and are cleared up only in the final third, which feels more like a play than a film, and where the revelations and twists pile up to such a degree that they don’t induce whiplash – they torque your head clean off. So, for what it’s worth, we have a castle (whose interiors look distinctly un-castle-like) where, thirteen years ago, a man was decapitated. His body was disposed of by the woman living there, and she and two children, now grown and thoroughly insane, dispose of anyone else foolish enough to come prying into their lives.
This is certainly no lost masterpiece. Its story is clumsily told, and would be offensive if it weren’t so ridiculous. The murders vary from the delightfully cheesy (the decapitations) to the utterly WTF (death by cuckoo clock?? ). But the demented nature of the exercise makes it compelling in the nature of a train wreck (and speaking of trains, what’s with the constant shots of one?). Lovers of the deranged will find much to feast upon here.
The case claims that this is 2.0 surround, but it sounds like mono to me. Said mono is perfectly clear, with little distortion and strong clarity of music and dialogue. While the absence of surround might be a disappointment to some, the recording quality of the soundtrack and the dubbing are such that a more expansive speaker presence might actually be more irksome than entertaining. Decent mono is better than weird stereo, in other words.
There are a couple of rough patches to the print, notably in the opening seconds, and there are occasional bits of speckling and little splices. But still, for a 1970 obscurity, the print is in pretty spectacular shape. The colours are strong (especially the reds); flesh tones, blacks and contrasts are excellent (barring a couple of somewhat murky night sequences). Grain is minimal to virtually nonexistent, and there is no visible edge enhancement. As with so many of these releases, this is probably the best the film has ever looked.
The theatrical trailer, and that’s it.
My neck still hurts from all the twists, but I’m sure that, at some level, they were good for me. This DVD is a wonderfully unique example of something. Enjoy.