Notorious for one particular scene, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is chock-full of mad dreams, mad hippies, a psych-inspired Ennio Morricone soundtrack, a late 60s London setting and a good old whodunnit story.
Carol Hammond (Florinda Bolkan) – the daughter of respected lawyer and politician Edmond Brighton (Leo Genn) – is having vivid dreams where she walks through a train of nude hippies in a fur coat and has a romantic tangle with her next-door neighbour Julia Durer (Anita Strindberg), a depraved hellraiser who loves to throw psych-soundtracked parties for the local hippie community.
Carol is so disturbed by the dreams that she’s been writing them down and seeing local shrink Dr Kerr (George Rigaud) to talk about them. All of that will come in useful soon.
In a particularly nasty dream, Carol ends up violently stabbing her neighbour, Julia, after the romantic clinch, watched by two spaced-out hippies.
Back in the real world, a smell is discovered coming from next door and the police discover that Julia really has been murdered, in pretty much identical circumstances to Carol’s dream.
Did Carol see the killing in a dream? Did she sleepwalk and commit the murder herself or has she been set up based on her dreams?
All will eventually become clear as Inspector Corvin (Stanley Baker) and his partner Sgt Brandon (Alberto de Mendoza) unravel the story and the evidence, leading to various false endings and one, surprising final ending.
Writer/director Lucio Fulci is usually associated with “video nasties”, but aside from one scene involving supposed experiments on dogs (faked, but so realistic it almost got the director sent to prison), this is a pretty standard Italian Giallo flick that relies more on plot than bloodstained action.
It’s an incredibly entertaining film and the plot leave possibilities for just about everyone to the final frame – from Carol and her father through to her husband Frank (Jean Sorel) – who is having an affair with Deborah (Silvia Monti), stepdaughter Joan (Ely Galleani) and the mad hippie pair of Hubert (Mike Kennedy) and Jenny (Penny Brown) – the most evil-looking hippies you’re likely to encounter.
Fans of vintage London will find much to love, especially the chase sequence through Alexandra Palace and the usual landmarks.
Alberto de Mendoza
Lowell – Scientific Squad
Erzsi Paál (as Ersi Pond)