*** Out of 5
Release Date- 1975
Running Time- 86-Minutes
Screenplay- Adriano Bolzoni, Luigi Cozzi, Daniele Del Giudice
Director- Luigi Cozzi
Starring- George Hilton, Antoine Saint-John, Cristina Galbo, Eduardo Fajardo, Alessio Orano
Released in 1975 The Killer Must Kill Again (one of its many titles) is a forgotten film that had a 2nd lease on life when it was released on DVD by Mondo Marcarbo, which was the first official DVD release in the US. In general the film isn’t very well known and despite a few problems I do think the movie deserves a little more of an audience. When I first saw the movie I loved it, but it hasn’t held up as well for me and the flaws impacted my enjoyment whereas at first I was able to overlook them.
Giorgio Mainardi (Hilton) is going through a few problems with his wife Norma (Velazquez) and when he leaves the house he ends up coming across a killer (Antoine) dumping a body and Giorgio ends up blackmailing the killer as well as offering him 20-grand to kill his wife and make it look like an abduction. The killer does so and puts the body in the trunk of his car, but when he goes inside to clean up when he leaves he finds his car has been stolen by a young couple. The killer than steals a car and takes off in pursuit of the couple who are totally unaware there is a body in the trunk of the car and unaware a killer is on pursuit.
The biggest problem with The Killer Must Kill Again is the screenplay written by Adriano Bolzoni, Luigi Cozzi, Daniele Del Giudice; the plot is solid, but the execution however is a bit off. The characters are rather faceless with very little depth. Giorgio is the only character with any personality, but he’s also a bit cliched even for 1975. The young couple Luca (Orano) and Laura (Galbo) really don’t have anything of real interest to say and Luca is kind of an unlikeable jerk, but Laura fairs a bit better as the naive character and I’m not sure if it was the character I liked or the actress Cristina Galbo is one of my favorite actresses.
When the script focuses more on suspense things work well since the sub-par writing doesn’t really matter, but when the focus is the characters that’s when things get a bit sloppy as none of the characters are strong enough to carry the movie and the investigation by the police isn’t very interesting and the way Giorgio was busted is quite idiotic. Overall I wouldn’t say the script was poorly written, but it just wasn’t very good. I guess the weak characters is what does this one in, but again solid concept, poor execution.
As director Luigi Cozzi fairs a bit better; for the most part the film is well-made with some solid suspense, but when the focus isn’t on suspense the pacing can get very sluggish as I stated the script just isn’t strong enough to carry the movie for more than a few minutes at a time. The first half of the movie is when the film is at its strongest and despite the shortcomings of the script, Cozzi delivers some excellent suspense and while at times the pacing can be a little sluggish it’s made up for in suspense. However the 2nd half of the film is when the pacing gets very sluggish.
After a while the killer following the couple gets a bit tiresome and the investigation scenes lack any energy and while it was ok in the first half due to the suspense when the suspense lacks everything else does as well. Cozzi was trying to build the tension for the final act, but with weak characters it can fall a bit flat. However things get slightly back on track with a highly disturbing rape scene and while its not the most graphic, but for me it worked due to Laura being a virgin and due to Cristina Galbo who is amazing in the scene. Overall Cozzi delivers some solid suspense in the first half, but does lose it in the 2nd half with some decent moments mixed in with the sluggish pacing.
The cast here is great and Antoine Saint-John under the name Michael Antoine is excellent as the killer. I have seen a few of his movies and here he’s at his best as he is highly creepy. George Hilton while playing a cliched character like always is a blast to watch. As a fan of European cinema I have seen many of his films and always enjoy watching him. Cristina Galbo like always is great and amazingly beautiful; Cristina is as I stated one of my favorite actresses and this may not be her best film, but she’s still excellent here.
My review is mixed just like how the movie was very mixed in how it was excellent and sluggish in certain scenes. Originally I rated this one much higher, but the flaws as stated this time around did hinder my enjoyment. But with that said this may not be a great film, but it deserves more of an audience and even though it gets a lot wrong it also gets a lot right as well.