Beast with a Gun / La belva col mitra (1977)

2.0 out of 5

This squalid melodrama from The Sinful Nuns of Saint Valentine director Sergio Grieco is perhaps these days better known for featuring briefly on a TV screen in Jackie Brown than for any of its own questionable merits, but it's far from the worst of its type. After a sloppily realised jail-break sequence, a vicious murderer and rapist played by Helmut Berger is on the rampage with a trio of particularly evil moustachioed thugs as his henchmen.

Their first target is the snitch that turned him in, who, in an extremely gruesome scene, finds himself being buried alive in quicklime. Danger: Diabolik bombshell Marisa Mell phones it in as said snitch's woman, appropriated by Berger as his new squeeze, and Godfrey Ho ninja flick star Richard Harrison rocks the Tanzi look as the determined cop on the psycho's case.

There are a couple of reasonable action and suspense sequences and Berger is always entertaining to watch, but in the end Beast with a Gun comes across like what it is; a bargain basement quickie that isn't really worth watching more than once. Although a synthesised score by Umberto Saila is effective on occasion, the omnipresent cheap-sounding drum machine does start to grate after a while.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics