THE SISTER OF URSULA
Let's make a quick list: knives, axes, garrotes, explosives, pitchforks, scissors, broken bottles, straight razors, handguns, rifles, billhooks, chainsaws, spiked gloves, poisons, gases, swords, automobiles, trains, fountain pens, power drills, acid, letter openers, and their own two hands. Those are all the things I've seen giallo killers use to dispatch their victims - well, not all but close enough. After seeing THE SISTER OF URSULA I can add another murder weapon to that already exhaustive list: huge wood dildo. That's right, the killer in this film dispatches his (or her) strangely passive victims by ramming them to death with a - I repeat - huge wood dildo. Why this hasn't been thought of before in a giallo is beyond me, but here it is. Death by dildo. If that doesn't grab your attention I don't know what will. But I do know what will make that attention fade: everything else about THE SISTER OF URSULA.
OK, OK, I know. I kinda gave away the surprise ending there. And I probably just ruined the big reveal, too. But, truth be told, there isn't much else new on display here. Two young sisters, Dagmar and Ursula, stop at a posh hotel for some rest and relaxation during a search for their long lost mother. Dagmar makes nice with the hotel manager, Roberto, a nightclub singer named Stella Shining(!), and a hunky, brooding heroin addict named Filippo. Ursula meanwhile begins having visions of brutal murders - she's been a psychic ever since her father died. As explained by a doctor, traumatic events can unleash forgotten psychic powers. I've been in three serious car accidents in my lifetime and all I've ever gotten is post traumatic stress. Boy, do I feel ripped off. Soon, young ladies are being found all over the place with busted vaginas and Ursula starts predicting her own demise. And there's love triangles, drug smuggling and undercover cops, too.
In reality, THE SISTER OF URSULA is more softcore porn than giallo. The first pair of exposed breasts shows up little more than three minutes into the film and it doesn't let up from there. The sex scenes approach hardcore quite a few times - crotches do get grabbed, vaginas do get rubbed and, on one occasion, an asshole does get licked - and I'm surprised we didn't get a version with hardcore inserts added in. Throw in a pretty graphic masturbation scene and a lesbian romp featuring several spread eagle shots and you got a film made more for the raincoat crowd than the horror crowd - relax ladies, there's plenty of pickle shots for you, too. Once the murders start happening it feels more like someone changed the channel on your television than plot starting to develop. That's how much sex, untrimmed pubic hair, breasts and wangs are in this movie.
As a giallo, THE SISTER OF URSULA fails badly. There's no amateur detective, only one main character dies, and the suspense is nil. Director Enzo Milioni admits in the interview included on the recent DVD release that Ursula's psychic abilities were added because that kind of thing was all the rage at the time and it's obvious that everything else - sex, violence, high melodrama - was tossed in for their popularity as well. Nothing gels, nothing makes sense, nothing matters. Fulci fans might appreciate seeing Stefania D'Amario - from ZOMBIE - walk around nude nearly the whole movie or Marc Porel - from DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING - ham it up and Argento fans might appreciate Barbara Magnolfi - from SUSPIRIA - showing the goods, but everyone else will appreciate the fact that it's only 94 minutes long and will help them get that good night's sleep they richly deserve.
I honestly can't recommend this film to anybody except hardcore giallo nuts and those people who have simply run out of Jean Rollin or Jess Franco films to jerk off to.