SPASMO is probably best known for it's trailer, a weird, incessant and absolutely annoying bit of editing that juxtaposed choice bits of melodrama, violence and psychedelic nonsense set to screeching birds, lush string orchestration and someone whispering "Spasmo!" over and over again. Like most of the previews for these kinds of films, the trailer gives away too much and says too little. Those suckered into seeing SPASMO probably expected to see some kind of funky Italian crime flick and must have felt, when it was all said and done, well, suckered. All that funky, sexy, bloody stuff from the trailer... well, it's in there. But it's padded by incredibly ridiculous dialogue and scene after scene of inexplicable nonsense. Oh, and tedium. Lots and lots of tedium. SPASMO is a wooden, incoherent and empty giallo that will leave all but the most forgiving of giallo fans cold or unconscious.
A hanging figure is discovered by two lovers. Upon investigating, it turns out the hanging figure is just a latex dummy. Jump cut. A woman lying face down on the beach is discovered by our hero Christian and his girlfriend. She turns out to be a very much alive - and friendly - woman named Barbara. Our hero is instantly smitten. He tracks her down to a yacht party being thrown by Alex, Barbara's obsessive, would-be lover. When Christian splits on his girlfriend and goes back to Barbara's place for some quick sex, he's attacked in her bathroom by a man with a gun. He wrestles the gun from his attacker and accidentally shoots the man to death. When Christian returns to the scene of the crime to retrieve a necklace he's left, the body is gone.
So far, so boring. On the run, Barbara takes Christian to a friend's house. As her friend is out of town, Barbara - who buys Christian's story completely and trusts him implicitly despite only meeting him a day ago - figures they can hide there for the time being. They break in only to find it occupied by an old man, Malcolm, and his beautiful companion, Clorinda, a mysterious redhead that Christian is immediately attracted to. Soon enough, the man Christian thought he killed is prowling around the house with a pair of hedge clippers, Barbara is having second thoughts about Christian's sanity, and Clorinda is throwing herself at our hero. Morning comes and Barbara is gone, Malcolm is dead, and Clorinda is at the bottom of a well. To make matters worse, Christian's attacker has finally caught up with him... and what's with all the female mannequins laying all over the place dressed up and mutilated like murder victims?
Believe it or not, that's just the first hour or so. How can all that be boring, you ask? Well, wooden performances and a distinct lack of tension will drain the life out of anything. Lapses of logic don't help matters either. Christian, in particular, is a real piece of work. His character is all over the place - not to mention weirdly efficient, managing to tail a car on foot, for example. One moment he's scared for his life, the next he's spilling his guts to an absolute stranger, the next he's intent on staying hidden, the next he's off looking for clues. Most strange. And Barbara - played by the tragically talentless Suzy Kendall - is even worse. As a sex object, she's unable to arouse interest. As a damsel in distress, she's even worse, passive, uninteresting, and bland as hell. In fact, there isn't a single interesting character in the whole piece. Only Ivan Rassimov fairs well here, playing Christian's brother, Fritz, but he's only introduced in the last half hour and benefits greatly by simply being a break from the ultra-boring cadre of characters we've been stuck with for the past hour.
So what's good about SPASMO? Is there anything good about SPASMO? Well, not really. Its oddly detached feel and lack of excitement makes it a film that's hard to really appreciate - especially when viewed with the other Lenzi gialli in mind. None of the actors on display are particularly convincing or captivating and their performances are hampered further by a terrible English sub job that is unfortunately the only audio option offered on most DVD editions. Even the usually reliable Lenzi - well, reliable in the giallo film, that is - stumbles, offering up a bland visual palette and little in the way of sex or violence. Overall, this film feels tired and dull. It's probably best just to stick with the trailer and hop online to read about how it all turns out. Save yourself the 90-some minutes and watch SEVEN BLOOD STAINED ORCHIDS instead.