Cold Eyes of Fear (1971)

  • Year: 1971
  • Released: 06 Apr 1971
  • Country: Italy, Spain
  • Adwords: N/A
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  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Italian
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Crime, Horror, Thriller
  • Runtime: 91 min
  • Writer: Leo Anchóriz, Tito Carpi, Enzo G. Castellari
  • Director: Enzo G. Castellari
  • Cast: Giovanna Ralli, Frank Wolff, Fernando Rey
  • Keywords: london, england, whodunit, home invasion,

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Cold Eyes of Fear Movie Reviews

Effective suspense flick – but it’s not a giallo

This is often wrongly mislabelled as a giallo movie, thanks to the entirely gratuitous sex scene that opens the film. In it, a mysterious man (we never see his face) stalks a blonde woman (genre regular Karin Schubert) in her lingerie, gradually cutting off her clothing with a flick knife before he beds her. Anyone watching this will understandably think they’re in for a sex-obsessed and entirely sleazy murder mystery, but then the camera pans back to reveal we’re watching a show and the real film starts.

This is a hostage thriller, set in a single location as a couple of people are trapped in a house with two violent killers. The premise has been done over and over again (as in the Bruce Willis flick HOSTAGE) but that’s because it’s such a filmable premise and easy to get right. The good news is that this film is a success, largely thanks to direction from Enzo G. Castellari. This Italian director was one of the biggest names in action cinema and as a result we get a film chock full of tense stand offs and brutal fist-fights, along with the stylish camera-work we know and love from this director.

The script is intelligent and the various characters have believable machinations. Acting is spot on, with honours going to the American Frank Wolff as the shady copper who turns out to be the chief villain. Wolff brings equal parts humanity and equal parts villainy to his character and it’s a barnstorming performance not to be trifled with. While Gianni Garko makes for an entirely unsympathetic hero – he’s just too weedy and self-centred, the leading actress is easy on the eye and an equal force to be reckoned with. Heavyweight support is lent by the ever-good Fernando Rey and the film as a whole rips along, never boring or slow, always adding to the tension and suspense. The finale is perhaps unsurprisingly violent and brutal, but it works and provides a fitting coda to what is a very effective suspense flick.

Exciting though claustrophobic ¨Home invasion Giallo¨ being co-produced by Italy and Spain

Moving and bleak Italian/Spanish film with high doses of violence and a lot of dialogue . This spooky picture about some criminals holding the couple hostage at home contains shocks , suspense , grisly killings and numerous creepy scenes . It is a passable home invasion thriller with noticeable flaws . It deals with a solicitor called Peter (Gianni Garco , famous Spaghetti actor as Sartana) , son of a respectable judge (Fernando Rey) , picks up Anna (Giovanna Ralli) , a prostitute from the club in which is shown a nude spectacle (performed by Karin Schubert as Nightclub Actress) and takes her back to his father ‘s place . The duo soon discover they are not alone , as a mugger called Quill (Julian Mateos), is waiting for them . Subsequently , there appears Arthur Welt (Frank Wolff who ulteriorly committed suicide) , the lead maniac disguised as a bobby , and things get worse . The couple is besieged and terrorized by the psycho-killer attackers and then look for some means to getaway .

Tension , suspense , and unsettling scenes when a couple is harassed by two dangerous criminals . “Cold Eyes of Fear” provides that mindless entertainment in spades, with a few head-scratches along the way. It displays relentless thriller , intrigue , shocks , hard-edged drama , plot twists , creepy images and some violence when crimes and fights takes place . The villains in this movie are a mixed bag , each of the burglars have their own agenda that we find out over the course of the movie through the use of flashbacks . This flawed film written by Leo Anchoriz , an ordinary secondary actor , packs thrilling and hair-raising frames , twists and turns . You can attempt to put all the pieces together at the final but you’ll only end up confused and disappointed , it’s not worth the effort . This violent story belongs to ¨Home invasion sub-genre¨ similarly to ¨Michael Hanake’s Funny Games¨, ¨William Wyler’s Desperate hours¨, ¨Michael Cimino’s Desperate Hours¨and recently : ¨Miguel Angel Vivas’s Kidnapped¨ as well as ¨Joel Schumacher’s Trespass¨. The overall result is chilling proof that E. G. Castell can take us back into a luxurious mansion while delivering a completely different scare . While the look is suitable eerie and frightening , the plot spreads to the breaking point and the ending turns out to be a little frustrating . The cast is pretty well , as Frank Wolff’s eccentric performance really adds to the gravity of the situation and makes for a gripping protagonist-antagonist dynamic . Gorgeous Giovanna Ralli as an Italian woman of dubious virtue , Ralli played classic films as ¨El General De La Rovere¨ , but also acted in Spaghetti as ¨The mercenary¨ and Giallos . And Julian Mateos , a famed Spanish actor , player in US Western as well as Spaghetti as ¨Hellbenders¨ , ¨Four rode out¨ , ¨Catlow¨ , ¨Shalako¨, ¨Return of seven magnificent¨ . Special mention for Fernando Rey as a prestigious judge , Rey was Luis Buñuel’s usual actor and unforgettable in ¨French Connection I and II¨. Atmospheric cinematography by Antonio L. Ballesteros shot at Cinecitta and in London . Jazzy musical score by the great Ennio Morricone , including some rare and atonal sounds.

The picture produced by Jose Frade/Atlantida Films was professionally directed by Enzo Girolami Castellari , though has some flaws and gaps . Enzo is a craftsman whose father was filmmaker Marino Girolami and his brother Ennio Girolami . He had a lot of hit-smashes in the action cinema and Spaghetti . His first film was ¨Seven Winchester for a massacre¨ ; after the movie ‘s success, the same producers approached Castellari again to direct a Western ¨Jonny Hamlet¨ the next year, which he accepted . Enzo usually makes experimental editing techniques such as unbroken transitions from one scene to another and a cameo appearance in his films . Castellari often works with Guido and Maurizio De Angelis and uses to do slow motion shootouts and choreographic death scenes . Enzo is a good professional working in all kind of genres , but he made Western especially . His first one was ¨Some dollars for Django¨ co-directed by Leon Klimovsky , but actually , for the most part of its filming by the disagreements arising with Klimovsky was realized by Enzo G. Castellari, which this film was his directorial debut in a sub-genre that became one of its greatest representatives ; in fact if you compare the beginning of “7 Winchester for a massacre” which would direct the next year and the end this one seem to be similar direction . After that , he went on directing ¨ Johnny Hamlet¨ , ¨Kill them everybody and came back alone¨, ¨Tedeum¨ , ¨Cipolla colt¨ , ¨Go kill and come back¨, and the masterpiece : ¨Keoma¨ and finally its inferior sequel ¨Jonathan of the Bears¨ with Franco Nero . Some of them are serious , others are goofy and plenty of slapstick and slapdash . He also directed successful wartime movies as ¨Inglorious bastards ¨ , ¨Eagles over London¨ , Sci-Fi : ¨1990 : Bronx warriors¨ , “The New Barbarians: Warriors of the Wasteland” , “Escape from the Bronx” , Adventures : ¨Tuareg¨, ¨Adventures and loves of Scaramouche¨ , Simbad¨, “The Shark Hunter” and Poliziotteschi : “Day of the Cobra” , ¨Striker¨, ¨Heroin Busters¨. The pic will appeal to Eurocult fans and Italian-Spanish production enthusiasts.

Spanish, Italian co-production, set in London

Spanish, Italian co-production, set in London and already we are wondering if all will be well. We certainly get some strange accents and if this is giallo influenced, it is not drenched in the genre. What we don’t get is lots of gore and nudity. On the plus side there is some Morricone soundtrack, great night shots of late 60’s London and some unusually serious discussion of bribery and corruption in high places. Actually these suggestions of a totally corrupt judiciary might be references to Italy rather than England but hey.. There are some nice twists and if the piece is a little wordy it never stops being interesting as the characters change their stance and help to keep us on our toes. Meanwhile Fernando Rey spends the film sitting at his desk waiting for a bomb to go off, which it does and it doesn’t!