Theme Song: This soundtrack is over the top. Recorded by a bunch of Italian session musicians under the guise of Trans Europa Express, the soundtrack totally outshines the movie.
The title theme starts off slow, but provides the vibe for the whole soundtrack. Imagine how awesome it was to be a late-70s Italian session musician with a huge moustache, and deeply howl, “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh … hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh … hhhhhhhh,” into the reverb mic like that non-stop for minutes on end and be totally high as fuck on mysterious white powders.
Even the smallest interlude cue fucking smokes. This plays while two guys drive around in a car for a few minutes. You can’t even fuck with this sound. Goblin can eat shit, Trans Europa Express is where it’s at.
Wicked-ass synth jams. This soundtrack is so incredibly insane it makes me wish the movie was interesting in any way. If one of those rip-off soundtrack reissue companies puts this soundtrack out on vinyl I’ll gladly throw down cash for all 4 overpriced color variants including the one called “smoke,” which is really just the vinyl manufacturer switching from black to white and saving a setup charge.
Interesting Dated References: The Giallo-fever that swept Italy in the 70s. Better researched but more poorly written reviews of this movie will cite multiple instances within the film in which director Antonio Bido borrowed from the work of Dario Argento, but after awhile all these movies blend together so who cares.
Best Line: Any line of dialogue that is muffled by the pounding musical stylings of Trans Europa Express, especially when they’re totally baked and pounding on their synth.
Social Context: Italian movies that upon receiving a U.S. release were made to look like traditional American-style slasher films.
Summary: Mara, who is some type of theatrical stage performer, stops at a pharmacy to get anti-diarrhea medication right after the pharmacist is murdered. Even though she doesn’t see the killer, he decides to follow her and add her and the guy she’s sleeping with to the list of people he wants to kill.
The guy she’s banging, Lukas, is some type of private investigator. After having a bunch of smokes, Lukas realizes Mara is being relentlessly chased by a killer who also happens to be after his neighbor and his neighbor’s lady friend, who were involved with a court case regarding a guy named Ferrante, who escaped prison two months prior.
After an hour of running around to righteous soundtrack action, Lukas somehow figures out the judge on the case was a Jewish man whose wife and daughter were killed in the Holocaust. The judge’s son was trying to take vengeance on the jurors because they were all former Nazis and decided to do so once the plaintiff, Ferrante, had escaped. After confessing all this in front of his father and Lukas, the father shoots the son and himself right in the fucking face. The Italian title for this movie is The Cat With The Jade Eyes, which is a stupid title that has nothing to do with the movie.
– Insane soundboard sequence where Lukas has an audio engineer decipher an answering machine message that his neighbor received. The audio engineer is so talented he can take a flat recording and separate it into layers and fade in and out the different sound elements (e.g., turning down dogs barking in order to amplify the sound of men marching). Super far-out.
– The only two onscreen murders feature a throat-slashing (from behind) and a bathtub-choking (from behind/above), both of which make it impossible to be watched while performing the act of killing.
– Released by Cobra Media who has an insanely tough logo.
Poster and Box Art: The Betamax box is a Thorn/EMI clamshell with the best rendering of pantyhose over a face I’ve ever seen.
This woman is specifically watching him while she is killed, as instructed. A great cover with excellent type treatment, regardless.
The Italian poster involves the cat with the jade eyes that doesn’t really have anything to do with the movie at all.
Availability: DVD on Amazon, no word on quality.