Today I watched Lucio Fulci’s A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)
This piece of surreal horror centers around Carol Hammond, a rich and privileged Englishwoman who lives with her extended family in a large London apartment. With a father in politics it seems her only real issues are the hippies next door and her nightmares about them which she recounts to her psychiatrist. Things get significantly more complicated though when her neighbor winds up dead in the same manner as in Carol’s dream.
Psychedelic sequences, orgies, and hippie paranoia define this film. It is a fantastically disorienting and torrid tale of debauchery that is very much so a product of it’s time. This is colourful Italian Giallo at it’s most experimental and is largely successful at creating a dark sense of intrigue to complement the madness. That being said, much of the film plays like a mystery thriller and while the unique edge given to it by the psychedelia does help the thrills, it makes that mystery a bit muddled. Maybe it’s just me but I found the numerous twists, turns, and nightmares a bit difficult to follow to the film’s detriment.
Still, that imagery is incredible and disturbing and drives the film with plenty of momentum. Any confusion felt is part and parcel to the film’s ability to stage elaborate swerves wrapped in dream sequences and psychedelic effects. I wonder if there is some intended theme in this film’s fear of the strange outsiders, but I can’t help be fascinated by this hippie hysteria. I would certainly recommend it for both the serious value of it’s visuals and pacing as well as the camp value of the aforementioned hippie fear. 5/5