Directed by: Paolo Cavara
Actors: Corinne Cléry, Michele Placido, Quinto Parmeggiani, Tom Skerritt
Also known as: E Tanta Paura
Description: Two murders happen simultaneously – a man strangled by a hooker and woman killed on a bus with a spanner. Both the crime scenes have a drawing from a children’s book called ‘Shockheaded Peter’. As the investigation begins to unravel, a mysterious club called Wildlife’s Friends seems to be at the center of it all.
The Giallo style may have been losing some of its popularity by 1976, but that didn’t stop Paolo Cavara from delivering this excellent little Giallo! Paolo Cavara is best known for his brilliant ‘Black Belly of the Tarantula‘, and while this film is not as good as the earlier one; Plot of Fear delivers most of the Giallo trademarks (murders, mystery, sleaze etc) with style and it has to be said that Plot of Fear is another success for the director (who sadly only made two films in this genre). The Italian title ‘E Tanta Paura’ roughly translates into English as ‘Too Much Fear’, and while that may sound like a bad title; it actually does have some relevance later on. Like many of the best Giallo’s, this one begins with a murder. We see a middle aged man killed by a transvestite prostitute, and from there director Paolo Cavara shows he isn’t going to be doing too much waiting around as he quickly delivers another murder. The police soon catch on to this, and quickly work out that it’s the work of the same killer. Pictures from a fairytale book by a man called Hoffman are found at both scenes; and it all seems to tie to an animal friendly organisation…
The plot portrayed in Plot of Fear is, like many Giallo plots, very convoluted; but director Paolo Cavara does a good job of making sure that it comes off as coherently as possible and despite the many different angles, the film never becomes overly confusing. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the director manages to keep a high level of suspense up throughout the film, and this ensures that Plot of Fear is always thrilling. It would seem that sleaze was the main intention with this film, and while it’s not as raunchy as some other genre films, there’s certainly no shortage of sleaze here, which of course is a good thing. The film is well acted by a somewhat experienced cast, which sees Michele Placido taking the lead role and always keeping the audience engaged in his performance. The murders are fairly brutal though most aren’t overly gory. Director Paolo Cavara succeeds in giving the film a dark and macabre atmosphere which always benefits the film. The ending is a bit of a mess, but it doesn’t spoil what went before it, and overall, Plot of Fear is a very good Giallo that is worthy of more attention!