Death Steps in the Dark (1977) watch uncut


Directed by:  Maurizio Pradeaux
Stars: Leonard Mann, Robert Webber and Vera Krouska
Language:  English
Country:   Italy

Also known as:  Passi di morte perduti nel buio

Description: Another giallo, but this time we get a delightful mix of murder, great visuals, nudity, and comedy! It’s not a comedy per se, but it really does have its tongue in its cheek. If films had tongues. No you shut up.

On a train from Istanbul to Greece, a compartment contains one victim and five suspects. The victim is a young French girl about to be stabbed in the chest with a letter belonging to our first suspect, photographer Leonard Mann. The other suspects are a suspicious looking man, an angry looking woman, a priest, and a dopey Swedish model who is Leonard’s girlfriend and who also will be delivering some of the broader humour of the film. There are also two people out in the corridor important to the plot – a young fella and his girlfriend, both of which witness the killer going to the toilet to cut the electricity (please don’t think about that or anything else that occurs in the film because you’ll get a nose bleed). The killer also drops a pair of gloves, quickly snatched by this duo in order to do some blackmailing later.

The cops think Leonard did it and when there’s a strange coincidence involving two separate illegal $10,000, he has to go underground, living in a fishing shack next to a railway line. This is after he dresses in drag for a bit, which may give you an indication of where this film is in tone. The killer gets blackmailed and kills the blackmailer with a straight razor to the neck, but what he/she didn’t reckon on was that the blackmailer’s girlfriend was having an affair with half the population of Athens, which complicates things greatly.

Character wise, you have a heart-burn suffering cop and his daft sidekick, Leonard and his really daft Swedish sidekick, the remaining suspects (the priest isn’t a priest and the angry woman is going through a divorce), the local crime family also being daft as brushes and owning a Minah bird who calls everyone an asshole. The suspicious guy follows everyone around and is basically the red herring and the kidnapper’s girlfriend has rather a lot of nude scenes. This weird mix of nudity, gore, great visuals and slapstick really works. We even get a song in the middle of the film and the cinematography is amazing. The stupidity lasts right up until the last second and I’m still not sure if the method used to catch the killer was genius or borderline racist. Who knows? This is a really outstanding entry into the giallo genre. For those who have a sense of humour.

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