Orgasmo (aKa Paranoia) is a 1969 giallo film co-written & directed by Umberto Lenzi (So Sweet… So Perverse, A Quiet Place to Kill, Knife of Ice, & Black Demons). It was co-written by Marie Claire Solleville (A Quiet Place to Kill & Even Angels Eat Beans) & Ugo Moretti (The Black Mask, Holiday Hookers, Double Murder, L’alcova, & Emanuelle and the Erotic Nights). It was produced by Salvatore Alabiso (Africa Express). The Italian version of Orgasmo has a different ending than the American version. Kathryn West (played by: Carroll Baker from So Sweet… So Perverse, A Quiet Place to Kill, Knife of Ice, & The Game) arrives in Italy several weeks after the death of her older husband. With the help of her lawyer Brian (played by: Tino Carraro from Hell Raiders of the Deep, Constantine and the Cross, & Werewolf Woman), she moves into a luxurious villa away from everyone. She meets a young man named Peter Donovan (played by: Lou Castel from The American Friend, A Bullet for the General, Man on Fire, & The Scarlet Letter) looking for tools to fix his broken down vehicle. Kathryn lets him stay the night & they end up hooking up right away. She’s lonely & she lets him move in after barely knowing each other. They are joined by Eva (played by: Colette Descombes from The Swiss Affair, La ragazzina, & Le tue mani sul mio corpo) which Peter introduces as his sister. They all get into a deadly threesome that changes their lives forever. As time goes on, Kathryn starts to notice things that are off & she doesn’t trust her new lovers. When she calls them out, they keep her a prisoner in the house by drugging her up. Can she survive these two psychos or is it too late for her????
So Sweet… So Perverse is a 1969 giallo film directed by Umberto Lenzi (Hitcher in the Dark, Nightmare Beach, Ghosthouse, & Ironmaster). It was written by Ernesto Gastaldi (The Scorpion with Two Tails, 2019: After the Fall of New York, Almost Human, & The Great Alligator). It was produced by Sergio Martino (American Rickshaw, Slave of the Cannibal God, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, & The Suspicious Death of a Minor). Jean (played by: Jean-Louis Trintignant from Crime Thief, The Great Silence, & Death Laid an Egg), a rich socialite comes to the aid of the frightened young Nicole (played by: Carroll Baker from Orgasmo, A Quiet Place to Kill, Knife of Ice, & Kindergarten Cop) who lives in the apartment below him who is under the domineering control of her abusive boyfriend Klaus (played by: Horst Frank from The Elixirs of the Devil, The Night of the Askari, & Cold Blood). Jean develops a romantic relationship with Nicole despite being married. Jean is being set up by them, they were offered $20,000.00 to kill him. Nicole ends up falling in love with Jean which motivates Klaus even more to carry out the execution. Jean’s wife Danielle (played by: Erika Blanc from Body Puzzle, The Devil’s Nightmare, A Man for Emmanuelle, & The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave) gets tangled up in this deadly situation with Nicole. Who can trust who now? Everyone has their own plans but who will survive them????
A Quiet Place to Kill (aKa Paranoia) is a 1970 giallo film directed by Umberto Lenzi (Cannibal Ferox, Eaten Alive, Nightmare City, & The Tough Ones). It was written by Marie Claire Solleville (Orgasmo & Even Angels Eat Beans), Marcello Coscia (Dorian Gray, Black Sunday, Rings of Fear, & Let Sleeping Corpses Lie), Bruno Di Geronimo (What Have You Done to Solange?, Puzzle, & Flavia, the Heretic), & Rafael Romero Marchent (Sartana Kills Them All, The Black Wolf, Curse of the Black Cat, & Santo vs. Doctor Death). It was produced by Bruno Bolognesi (Battle of the Commandos & The Vampire and the Ballerina). Helen (played by: Carroll Baker from Baba Yaga, Bloodbath, The Fourth Victim, & The Devil with Seven Faces), a race-car driver whose life is in a rapid downfall. She is invited by her ex-husband Maurice’s (played by: Jean Sorel from Speaking of the Devil, The Day of the Jackal, & Short Night of Glass Dolls) new wife Constance (played by: Anna Proclemer from Journey to Italy & Malia) to stay at their plush estate. The two women form a bond & it is not long before their mutual dislike for the husband culminates into a plan to kill him. Their plan to murder Maurice on a sailing trip goes awry & Constance pays the price for it. Helen gets stuck in a bad situation with her past. Constance’s daughter Susan (played by: Marina Coffa from The Last Rebel) shows up & she begins to suspect that her missing mother involves the two former lovers.
Knife of Ice is a 1972 giallo film written & directed by Umberto Lenzi (Spasmo, Eyeball, Almost Human, & Sacrifice!). A famous singer, Jenny Ascot (played by: Evelyn Stewart from The Psychic, The Bloodstained Butterfly, & The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail) visits her cousin Martha Caldwell (played by: Carroll Baker from Ironweed, The Watcher in the Woods, Bait, & Giant) at her home in the Pyrenees. Caldwell has long been rendered mute after witnessing both her parents being killed in a train crash. While Ascot & Caldwell are traveling to Caldwell’s home, they notice a strange man who seems to be following them. That night, Ascot hears noises coming from the garage & when she investigates, she is surprised by an unseen figure. The police believe it’s connected to the murder of a teenage girl hours before & their prime suspect is a local hippy they are convinced is a drug-addicted Satanist. However, more murders occur while this suspect is in custody. Several other locals are placed under suspicion including a inspector (played by: Franco Fantasia from Zombie, Eaten Alive!, & Seven Dollars to Kill), a chauffeur (played by: Eduardo Fajardo from Oasis of the Zombies, Nightmare City, Django, & Lisa and the Devil) & an occultist (played by: George Rigaud from Eyeball, Horror Express, & Death Walks on High Heels). The police are forced to reopen the investigation. After they find that their suspect’s girlfriend had died of a drug overdose rather than being murdered. Who is the real killer among all these shady characters????
Director Umberto Lenzi is mainly known for his cannibal films & his later trashier horror flicks but he’s done much more than that in his career. He everything including some top notch Italian crime features but this set focuses on some of his classier & high quality giallos that he made back in the day. When someone brings up the giallo sub-genre, they almost mention Lenzi but he deserves to be included in that conversation for these 4 movies alone because they are just as good as anything else made during the same time when the giallo was very popular overseas. In America, it’s basically the suspense thriller or even slasher sometimes depending on the direction they decide to take it. Actress Carroll Baker really shines in this set. These are some of her best performances in her entire career & each role is very different for each other. She’s excellent eye candy & she’s not shy at all here but she can actually act. She carries all these features including Knife of Ice where she’s mute the whole time so she has to do anything from facial expressions & reactions which is impressive. It has some quality supporting characters & actors in each feature. Each one is completely but all still fits the giallo sub-genre. The scripts kept you on your toes the whole time & they all had some nice twists for the most part. My two personal favorites from this collection was Orgasmo & Knife of Ice. Orgasmo had the best thrills & villains, they kept torturing her until the crazy finale. Knife of Ice delivered on brutality & kills. I enjoyed the other two but the ones I mentioned really stood out here & honestly, there’s not a bad film in this set. This is definitely one of the highest quality & overall best releases from Severin Films so far, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Severin Films! Orgasmo, So Sweet… So Perverse, & A Quiet Place to Kill all have an excellent (2.35:1) from a brand new 2K master. Knife of Ice has a brand new 2K master (2.39:1) from the original 35mm camera negative. I think A Quiet Place to Kill & Knife of Ice are the two that shine the most when it comes to the visuals. They have their different ranges & quality but this is the best that they has ever looked on home video. The Complete Lenzi/Baker Giallo Collection is the definitive version when it comes to the Lenzi & Baker collaborations. Each feature has two different audio options which includes English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 & Italian: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 except for A Quiet Place to Kill actually has Italian: LPCM 2.0 for it’s other track. These releases sound great on blu ray! Music is very important on most of these movies so that’s the true highlight when it comes to the audio here. All of the dialogue is crystal clear & all the thrills have a killer boost to it. It also has English & English SDH on every disc!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Severin Films on this set! “Orgasmo” has an additional version included which is the X-rated Cut. It has “Audio Commentary” # 1 with author Alexandra Heller-Nichols. It has “Audio Commentary” # 2 with Mondo Digital’s Nathaniel Thompson & author Troy Howarth. “Giallo Fever” is an 11 minute archival interview with director Umberto Lenzi. He chats about how the film got started. He talks about why the original title was changed. He goes over how it performed in Italy & America during it’s release. He mentions the cast & some of his other work in this. He brings up his influences from America for it & the visual style of the feature. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. It has a U.S. “Trailer” for the film. Piero Umiliani’s original soundtrack for Orgasmo, 22 tracks on the CD. It has a nice lobby card with all the soundtrack information on the back. It has an “Audio Commentary” with author Kat Ellinger. “Lenzi’s Lenses” is an 10 minute archival interview with director Umberto Lenzi from the Nocturno Film Festival in 1999. He chats about So Sweet… So Perverse got started & made. He brings up some of the directors that influenced him. He mentions some of his favorite actors to work with. He talks about getting some bad reviews in Italy over some of his projects. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Equilateral Triangle: Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi on Lenzi” is a 6 minute interview with screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi. He chats about his experience on So Sweet… So Perverse. He talks about his unique working relationship with director Umberto Lenzi. He brings up how it was like to collaborate with him. He takes you through his writing process. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. It has the 3 minute “Italian Credits” with the opening credits. It has two “Trailers” for So Sweet… So Perverse which includes U.S. & Italian. So Sweet… So Perverse & A Quiet Place To Kill soundtracks , both fully remastered plus a bonus track for Knife of Ice on CD. It has a nice lobby card with all the soundtrack information on the back which includes the listing for the 26 tracks.
“Audio Commentary” with critic Samm Deighan. “Sex & Conspiracy: An Interview with Umberto Lenzi” is an 11 minute archival interview with director Umberto Lenzi. He goes over his experience on A Quiet Place to Kill. He said they had to shoot at certain locations due to a contract. He mentions it had shocking twists which helped spread the word about it. He goes over the mass confusion it had since it had the same Paranoia title as Orgasmo. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. It has two “Alternate Scenes” that’s around a minute. It has “Credits: VHS sourced” that’s around 3 minutes. It has 1 “Extended Scene” that’s around a minute. Now, on to the last disc. “Until the Silence Screams” is an 19 minute archival interview with director Umberto Lenzi. He goes over the creation & production of Knife of Ice. He chats about the giallo sub-genre. He brings up it’s changes over the years. He talk about Italian cinema also here. It’s in Italian with English subtitles. “Carroll and Umberto’s Final Stab” is a 30 minute interview author Stephen Thrower. He goes into great detail about their collaborations over the years. He chats about each film & their styles. He briefly mentions their other work. He goes over the visual style for them & the giallo sub-genre. He is always full of knowledge, this is a great watch. It has a U.S. “Trailer” for Knife of Ice. It has 3 minutes of “Italian Credits”. It has an easter egg or two on this release but I’ll let you find those for yourself. Every commentary here is loaded with information about the cast, film, Baker & Lenzi. Each one is very different from each other which is nice. Lots of stories & stuff you didn’t know for these productions. It has a huge variety of Umberto Lenzi interviews on each disc. He was never shy when it came to talking about his work & his competition. Hands down, this is one of the best releases of 2020 so far. Severin Films knocked it out the park for this one. It’s great tribute to the giallo sub-genre plus Baker & Lenzi. The packaging is amazing, it’s very similar to the Vinegar Syndrome box sets which are the best quality around. The artwork & design is very creative here. This needs to be in your collection ASAP because it won’t last much longer before it’s completely sold out. It’s still available at most spots including the official Severin store & website, CHECK IT OUT!!!!