Phantom of Death

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How do you catch the uncatchable...


Back of Box:  Enter the world of madness in this intense psycho thriller where an incurable disease is the catalyst for a murderous rampage.
Michael York stars as a brilliant pianist stricken by a rare disease causing him to age with alarming speed.  Angry at the world for his misfortune, he sets out to kill those who remind him of his youth.
In the meantime, he plays a nightmarish game with the police, calling, taunting, challenging and threatening, perhaps out of a desperate wish to be caught.  His disease is his disguise.  This baffles the police as the description of the murderer is never the same.
To make matters worse, he discovers that his mistress is pregnant and intends to keep the child.  His twisted mind pushes him to try to kill the mother to prevent transmission of this dreadful disease to his unborn child.
Will the police succeed in stopping yet another brutal murder?
The rage of a man forced to die has no limits!
Plot:  This film holds a generally interesting story that weaves itself together quite nicely.  I will admit that it crawls in places, but it manages.  I also give this film extra points for using a disease as a disguise and throwing in a little karate action (Or whatever it is you call what they're doing in the film).
Acting:  Michael York gives a so-so performance as the degenerating psycho, Robert Dominici.  Donald Pleasence is on point, as usual, as the ever-hunting Inspector Datti.  Edwige Fenech give a nice performance as the lead vixen, Hélène Martell.  Even Caterina Boratto gets a shout out for her portrayal of Robert's mother. 
GoreBody Count (5)  The gore is probably this film's biggest saving grace.  There may be only a body count of four, but let me tell you, three of those four make this film (One good one you get to see more than once☻).  There's a nasty throat gash (Nice), death by lamp (Nice), throat slit (Hmm...), and, the cherry on top, the train station death (Wicked).  Worth it for the latter.
Suspense:  Eh, not so much, except the soundtrack.  You'd think someone aging at an alarming rate would be pretty creepy, but it's not.  There is a scene where we see a young boy ravaged by the same disease, that's pretty creepy.  However, other than that, zip.
Directing:  I like Deodato's style, very raw yet somewhat smooth.  Very interesting.  I also like the fact that he took his time in staging the scenes.  The staging blends very well with the shot set-ups, you don't see that too much. 
Tech:  The lighting, nothing positive, nothing negative.  It does what it needs to do.  I give props to the composer because the music really moves the story along, almost like a musical.  The soundtrack also owned every bit of suspense this film had to offer.  The effects team gets an extra shout out for their sweet splatter and excellent aging effects.
Other:  I want to give the idea of using a disease as a mask, instead of an actual mask, a little more of the spotlight.  I feel it could've done better, but since this is the first film I've seen it done in, I've got to give it the credit.  Oh yeah, the end of this movie is such a trip.  The camera work goes nuts and the slow-mo starts and you feel like you're on acid.  I can't explain it, but if you see it or have seen it you will know.   
Final Word:  Well, no film is perfect.  Nevertheless, I believe this film has enough originality, and just enough gore, to let it stand on its own.  I think the film was a risky project, but paid off pretty good with the finished product.  Now, I'm not saying you should rush out and buy it or anything (Extreme slasher fan must have).  However, I'd say, overall, it was a very satisfying slasher film.


Don't Move, Don't Breathe, and Whatever You Do...DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU!