Strip Nude for Your Killer Blu-ray Review
Blu-ray Release: December 21, 2021 (Giallo Essentials: Yellow Edition) /March 19, 2019 (original release)
Audio: English and Italian LPCM 1.0 Mono
Subtitles: English, English SDH
Run Time: 97:59
Director: Andrea Bianchi
Note: This Blu-ray has been re-released as part of Arrow’s Giallo Essentials: Yellow Edition three movie set, which also includes Massimo Dallamano’s What Have They Done to Your Daughters? (Italian: La Polizia Chiede Aiuto; aka: The Police Ask for Assistance, 1974) and Sergio Martino’s Torso (Italian: I Corpi Pesentano Tracce di Violenza Carnale, 1973).
A spate of highly sexualized murders is rocking a prestigious Milanese fashion house. Ambitious photographer Magda (Edwige Fenech) and her on-off boyfriend, love rat Carlo (Nino Castelnuovo), team up to crack the case. But, with the motorcycle helmet-wearing killer clearing bearing a grudge against the agency’s employees, it’s surely only a matter of time before they, too, end up feeling the force of his wrath… (From Arrow’s official synopsis)
Critics of the fad-driven Italian thrillers of the 1970s – contemporary and modern – often complain about the giallo genre’s increasing dependence on shock value and exploitation over intricate, whodunnit storytelling and genuine suspense. Those of us that champion the genre can extol the virtues of its impact and argue the underappreciated qualities of certain films, but, the longer the decade ticked on (with some exceptions), the harder it becomes to disagree with the critical complaints. The already similar formulas established by Mario Bava, Umberto Lenzi, Dario Argento, and Sergio Martino were so overplayed by 1972 that an escalation of sex and violence became the only option for the low-budget product to be shoveled into theaters under the shadow of established masters. Among the trashiest cash-ins of the era was Andrea Bianchi’s Strip Nude for Your Killer (Italian: Nude per l'assassino, 1975).
Strip Nude for Your Killer is far from the goriest or most sexually charged giallo, but it did represent a coming shift away from Argento’s visual flamboyance and Martino’s psychosexual psychadelia. Bianchi and (credited) screenwriter Massimo Felisatti had zero artistic pretension. Despite the lack of inspiration and its director’s extensive history of schlocky imitation, Strip Nude for Your Killer isn’t an entirely empty exercise, in part because Bianchi and cinematographer Franco Delli Colli manage a decent impression of better directors (this is almost certainly Delli Colli’s influence) and because it has a sense of humor about its violence, not unlike Bava’s tongue-in-cheek body-count movie, A Bay of Blood (Italian: Ecologia del delitto and Reazione a catena; aka: Twitch of the Death Nerve, 1971). The ironic violence – punctuated by the fact that the killer wears a black motorcycle helmet that makes their head look sort of like an erect penis – is at least funnier than the straight sexploitation comedy moments, which make up a lot of the downtime between murder set-pieces. The filmmakers were essentially combining two patently misogynistic genres, leading to a protagonist that casually strangles women and makes caustic sexual assault jokes.
Despite being a failed sexploitation comedy, Strip Nude for Your Killer is a solid giallo entry where it counts. The murder set-pieces are boundary-pushingly gruesome, from fingers sliced off at the bone, to an implied castration, a severed ear, a severed breast, and countless brutal stabbings. The mystery is refreshingly simple compared to the utterly opaque plots that followed the big giallo boom, including all the necessary ingredients, like blackmail, past indiscretions rearing their filthy heads, and a single piece of evidence haunting the entire case. Curiously, the pattern of misogyny is also broken by the fact that most of the murder victims are men. All things considered, it is almost certainly Bianchi’s best film as director. Following Strip Nude for Your Killer, he dabbled mostly in sex comedies, erotic melodramas, and softcore porn, eventually giving up all pretense and making straight hardcore flicks. Along the way, he made modestly popular horror movies, including the insane vigilante film Maniac Killer (1987) and pseudo-giallo Massacre (1989). But he will forever be best remembered for his blatant rip-off of Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (Italian: Zombi 2; aka: Zombie Flesh Eaters, 1979), 1981’s Burial Ground (Italian: Le notti del terrore; aka: The Nights of Terror, Zombie Horror, and Zombie 3).
I can’t find any evidence that Strip Nude for Your Killer was ever officially released on video tape in North America. Local giallo fans had to wait until Blue Underground’s DVD to discover it. That disc was technically uncut, but the controversial opening abortion sequence was tinted in monochrome blue. Later PAL discs from the UK and Germany included the same sequence in color, as did BU’s 2012 Blu-ray debut. In 2019, Arrow Video took a crack at restoring the film in 2K from the 2-perf Techniscope 35mm camera negative. Arrow’s 2.35:1, 1080p transfer is a notable upgrade over the Blue Underground disc, which was already a substantial upgrade over the studio’s DVD release. Aside from the more accurate framing (BU’s old Blu-rays had a slight windowboxing effect for some reason) and slightly tighter details, the biggest improvements are seen in the levels and dynamic range. The older disc has a sort of overcast effect, in which everything is dulled and washed out. The restoration deepens shadows and black levels, supports better element separation, and boosts the palette, allowing for greater color depth, especially in warm hues. The darkest scenes can become quite grainy, but not in an unnatural way, and the brighter scenes are less snowy than those seen on the BU disc. Also note that this release has the option to watch the opening abortion sequence blue-tinted or untinted.
Strip Nude for Your Killer is presented with English and Italian dub options, both in uncompressed LPCM 1.0 mono sound. As per usual, there was no on-set sound recording, so all tracks were dubbed in post, meaning that there is no official language track, and the choice of dub comes down to preference. The English track is a little cleaner, but its sound effects are sometimes drowned out by music and dialogue, while the Italian track has more going on, but can sound mashed during busy scenes. If lip-sync makes the difference, the majority of the cast appears to be speaking Italian on set. Pop composer Berto Pisano’s score is a highlight, especially his infectiously funky title track. The music is a bit sharper on the English track, but is otherwise almost identical in tone and volume.
Commentary with Adrian J. Smith and David Flint – Horrorpedia.com’s Smith, who is also the author of Blood & Black Lace: The Definitive Guide to Italian Sex and Horror Movies (Stray Cat, 2000), and Horror Out of Control co-author (with Keri O’Shea; Reprobate Press, 2020) David Flint fairly assess (and sometimes tease) the film’s sometimes charming shortcomings, while also discussing the international state of gialli when Strip Nude for Your Killer was released, giallo/sexploitation/comedy overlap, the careers of the cast & crew, ongoing movie censorship, blatant product placement, and marveling at the film’s pure sleaziness.
Sex and Death with a Smile (23:02, HD) – Author of Devil’s Advocate: Daughters of Darkness (Auteur Publishing/Liverpool University Press, 2018) and co-host (with Samm Deighan) of the Daughters of Darkness podcast, Kat Ellinger, explores the life and career of giallo and sex comedy icon Edwige Fenech.
A Good Man for the Murders (14:32, HD) – Actor Nino Castelnuovo talks about breaking into film & television, appearing in Lucio Fulci’s Massacre Time (1966), other directors and actors he worked with over the years, and, briefly, Strip Nude for Your Killer.
The Blonde Salamander (18:30, HD) – Actress Erna Schurer recalls scoring small roles on television, her first lead in Alberto Cavallone’s interracial lesbian romance/sexploitation movie, Le salamandre (1969), some of her favorite co-stars, and the pitfalls of shooting sex scenes with ‘unprofessional’ people.
The Art of Helping (44:18, HD) – An extensive interview with assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi, who runs down his entire career in filmmaking alongside some behind-the-scenes stories from Strip Nude for Your Killer.
Jack of All Trades (21:50, HD) – Actor and production manager Tino Polenghi finishes things off with a look at how he developed from an amateur extra to featured player and production manager, including footage from a number of his films.
Italian and English trailers
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