This somewhat quaint giallo-thriller from Italian filmmaker Filippo Walter Maria Ratti (directing as Peter Rush) is something of a throwback to the drawing-room mysteries which characterized the subgenre prior to Dario Argento's striking redefinition of its elements with L'Uccello dalle Piume di Cristallo. Following a tour of the world, a pretty young countess named Ileana (Karole Annie Edel) invites a group of friends to stay at the castle she shares with her crippled father, Baron De Chablais, and a crazy kid named Leandro (Roberto Zattini) who is kept behind locked doors. The Baron is an expert in Chinese art, and Ileana doesn't know that a couple of her friends have smuggled opium in one of the artifacts she brought back for him from her trip. Pretty soon one of the guests is brutally murdered and has her eyes removed, bringing the obligatory fearless police inspector (Corrado Gaipa in the film's most amusing performance) to investigate. Ratti, who was best known for a series of sexploitation ventures including Mondo Erotico, includes some fairly graphic eyeball violence and brief nudity, but uses curious stylistic restraint by the flamboyant standards of the time. The result is a dated and somewhat slow-moving film which, primarily due to Ambrogio Molteni's workman-like script, never really engages the delirious combination of exploitation, horror, and stylistic panache which made the giallo subgenre so popular. Isabelle Marchal co-stars with Gaetano Russo and Patrizia Gori.
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