Slaughter Hotel / La bestia uccide a sangue freddo (1971)

1.5 out of 5

Exceptional crime director Fernando Di Leo finds himself disastrously out of his depth when tackling the giallo. Interminably crosscutting leering shots of the nude female cast writhing ecstatically with ponderous scenes of the killer stalking dimly lit corridors, the normally solid director seems unable to generate any genuine narrative suspense.

In fact, this mess is so disjointed and bizarre that it is of little surprise that a dedicated cult following has grown around this most odd of curios. The concept of a strange clinic treating sexually disturbed women certainly offers plenty of opportunities for some meaningful discourse, but the enterprise is so ungainly and uncertain that any such approach is entirely out of the question. However, Di Leo does succeed in portraying a convincingly claustrophobic atmosphere of sexual morbidity, in fairness more down to the game cast, and Rosalba Neri gives one of her most feverish and erotically uninhibited performances as an incestuously driven nymphomaniac.

For fans of this aquiline actress, Hotel is a must, but those new to the filone will find the listless combination of graphic eroticism and mean spirited violence bewildering if not downright depressing.

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