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Classic Giallo The Psychic May Be Light on Gore, But It’s Got Plenty of Thrills

Italian horror master lucio fulci He is best known for his gruesome Gates of Hell trilogy, especially The beyond—and the immortal Zombies 2but his career was also excellently off track. giallo moviesincluding Don’t torture a duckling and The New York Ripper. The psychicsoon to ShudderIt has less of those lurid elements that became Fulci trademarks, but it’s a tight thriller with just enough weirdness to remind you who was calling the shots.

Like most European horror and giallo films of its time, the 1977 The psychic He is also known by several other titles, including Seven notes in black, The death toll multiplies by sevenand the most word salad of all, Murder to the sound of the seven black notes. The psychic It may be the most generic, but it’s certainly accurate, even if most of the other characters laugh at the protagonist’s claims of clairvoyance. But Virginia (Scanners‘Jennifer O’Neill) is authentic; In the opening scene of the film, there is a flashback in which young Virginia “witnesses” her mother’s suicide (a fall from a cliff involving a hilariously obvious mannequin) despite being hundreds of miles away. .

The film begins 18 years later, when Virginia, now a glamorous interior decorator newly married to the wealthy Francesco (Gianni Garko), decides to stop by her husband’s long-empty country house for the first time, thinking she might be an ideal house. renovation project. Once inside it, however, she gets instant chills: she has glimpsed this place in a recent disturbing vision that seemed to involve the murder of a woman. She can’t fight the urge to drive an ax into the wall, aiming for a specific spot, almost instantly discovering a skeleton hidden inside it, to her utter horror.

Image for article titled Classic Giallo The Psychic may be light on gore, but it's heavy on thrills

Screenshot: film company

You’d expect this to be proof positive of her extrasensory perception, but the local police remain stubbornly skeptical of Virginia’s abilities as they investigate the skeleton’s identity and how it came to be covered up in Francesco’s crumbling palace. Francesco and his sister, Gloria (Ida Galli), also ignore her gifts. Virginia must ponder what the rest of her vision could mean (a taxi, a painting, a broken mirror, a magazine cover, a menacing man with a limp?) with only her parapsychologist friend, Luca (Marc Porel), and her resourceful assistant, Bruna (Jenny Tamburi), backs her up. Once Francesco becomes the police’s number one suspect, Virginia accelerates her own detective work, trying to find a timeline that will prove her husband’s innocence.

While The psychic It may not make you guess much about the identity of the killer; There are a limited number of characters and you know that one of them committed the crime; the real fun of The psychic It emerges when each fragment of Virginia’s vision finds an explanation and fits into the puzzle as it is slowly put together. This is definitely a giallo, complete with the genre’s signature shots of sinister black leather gloves. Its effectiveness is aided by Fulci’s striking use of color, particularly red, and a propulsive score created in part by Fulci’s frequent collaborator Fabio Frizzi. But for the most part, Fulci acts with surprising restraint; Instead of becoming hideous from the impact, The psychic focuses on the mystery Virginia is trying to solve, or rather, multiple mysteries, as she attempts to decipher not only the crimes occurring between her, but also the strange clues flowing from her own mind.

The psychic currents in Shudder starting today, February 12.

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