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Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key

***
1972

‘…Hey, hot potato, got any cream in your tricycle?…’

Who’s Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key? YOUR Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key! Also known to some as Gently Before She Dies, while others may know it as Eye of the Black Cat, and still others will recognise it under the title Excite Me!, Sergio Martino’s giallo is an original and untypical affair that lifts elements from Edgar Allan Poe’s story The Black Cat, but also has a unique angle of its own. A Cat Called Satan would be an accurate title, since a moggy with that name has a pivotal role here.

Genre favourites Edwige Fenech and Luigi Pistilli star; he’s Oliviero, an author who hasn’t written a word for years and makes money by selling off the antique furniture in his country pile with his wife Irina (Anita Strindberg) who he likes to humiliate at their regular orgies. After one of his students is murdered, and then his maid follows in short order, Oliviero becomes an obvious suspect, but is he gas-lighting his wife or vice versa?

His niece Floriana (Fenech) picks an odd time for a social visit, and it proves the catalyst for all manner of sexual and violent behaviour, with Satan included in the domino effect of killings, mutilations and seductions. Cream seems to be a theme, and choice cream-related dialogue includes ‘Hey, hot potato, got any cream in your tricycle?’ and ‘Satan’s favourite meal is snake-eyes and cream!’

This is a wonderfully lurid, pervy and overheated melodrama. Part of the fun of streaming is that films like this used to be incredibly hard to find and see, often in poor condition and hugely expensive. That a 2021 audience can see such a wonderfully obscure, outre film, at the cost of a subscription, promises that such outré fare might just make an impact again, for the first time since it was made. Viewed on the Arrow Video Channel.

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  1. Definitely worth a look. Martino followed this with classic giallo Torso so maybe this was him warming up. Enough barminess to float anybody’s boat and a great introduction to the fairly offbeat fare racing out of Italy in the early 1970s. Fenech abandons her usual sex comedy environs to stir this up nicely.

  2. I like sour cream on hot potatoes, along with shredded cheese and chives.

    But your use of the words lurid and pervy definitely made sure I won’t be trying this movie, no matter how much like a hot potato it is.

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