Sunday, February 24, 2008


Sometimes a movie makes no sense whatsoever, but still is a hoot to watch. EVIL EYE aka MALOCCHIO (1974) is one of those films. Maybe something got lost in the translation, but this Italian/Spanish/Mexican concoction feels like three or four different movies edited together by a tagteam consisting of Stevie Wonder, Marlee Matlin and Corky from LIFE GOES ON.
It starts with movie #1 - a horror film- as a woman wearing a cape performs what looks like tai chi while robed figures are placing candles around a triangle. Then a guy wearing a red satin KKK hood & robe steps into the triangle and we see a photo of a very good-looking man. Cut to a freaky looking guy with colored contact lenses and the same good-looking guy dreaming that he is being hunted by a gaggle of totally nude people, who stand over him and groan, before breaking into one of those PBS modern dance specials from the 1970s.

Next is movie #2 - a breezy European sex comedy - a poorly dubbed woman named Talia is lounging on a waterbed in a room with a lamp that looks like a giant lightbulb. Her pet poodle is jumping all over the bed as if it really has to go for a walk. Talia is on the telephone, calling a man named Peter (the Mexican hunk Jorge Rivera). He is awakened by her call, only to find dozens of half-naked people sleeping all over his groovy house. It's like a scene from BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. Annoyed by Talia's phonecall and his houseguests, Peter tells his butler Walter to "get rid of the bodies". Walter proceeds to blast a trippy disco LP to wake up the unwelcome guests. Peter then finds a sexy naked guy in his shower, and he turns out to be his British best friend Robbie. The two lounge on a big fluffy pink couch and chat - but Robbie dismisses Peter's disturbing dream. A kicky bossa nova melody accompanies Peter as he drives around Rome and into a fashion show where Talia is waiting for him. She tries to get it on with him, but he's too tired from driving around Rome listening to music. Meanwhile, Robbie is losing his shirt in a casino. He obviously has a gambling problem. Why do we need to know this?

Next we meet a French woman named Yvonne just couldn't sleep - she has got to speak to Peter. So she goes to see him. He pours himself a good stiff drink as she begs for his forgiveness. She says that her husband has been dead for a while and she's ready for Peter, even though she's heard about him being dangerous. Huh? Peter starts to feel her up, but suddenly he gets a flashback of the freaky guy from movie #1. Then Peter turns around and there's a thunderstorm! Lightning strikes, statues move, artwork falls off the walls, her eyes get all fucked up looking and he stares back at her with HIS evil eye...and strangles her!!! Then he wakes up in a short yellow robe, flashes back to the killing - but his house has been restored to the way it was before. Who could have done that? Meanwhile, Walter the butler is washing the car.

Movie #3 - a medical mystery movie - begins when we meet Doctors Stone and Turner. Stone is an old crusty guy and Turner is a hot young female. Peter tells the docs that it's as if he's awake and dreaming at the same time. Meanwhile, a detective who's name we never get (we'll call him McColumbo) discovers that Yvonne has been found dead - but her jewelry and money was not taken. Next is a truly disgusting scene where Peter and Talia shower together and brush their and each other's teeth at the same time - French kissing with mouths full of toothpaste while game show music plays on the soundtrack. Gross! Then Peter gets a crank phone call and tells Talia that he needs to get away for a while.

Movie #4 - a gothic ghost story - kicks in as Peter is driving down a long, dark, winding road when his car breaks down. Did I mention he is wearing a tie-dyed denim pantsuit? He arrives at a mysterious house where he is greeted by an old woman. It turns out that the master and mistress of the manor KNOW him. Of course their phone line is dead, so he'll have to stay with them a while. While the husband attempts to fix Peter's car, the wife turns down the lights and proceeds to fix Peter's penis. But then Peter notices a portrait on the wall and asks the wife who it is. She tells him that it's her husband's late aunt - the woman who answered the door!!! Then he strangles her...and her husband as the old woman watches and smiles. Okay, NOW this is getting creepy.

Back in movie #3, Dr. Stone comes to see Peter and thinks he's hiding something - so he demands a full physical examination. Meaning, naked. He puts him on tanning bed and x-rays his head. He tells Dr. Turner that Peter is clinically perfect, but somehow unbalanced. He needs rest. Then Talia comes to see him , and has a bitchy confrontation with Dr. Turner, all while sunny, romantic music plays in the background. Meanwhile, the most annoying ambulance you've ever heard speeds by. We see a little dog tied up in the woods, and nearby they discover the decaying body of the old woman from movie #4. Ewwwww...

McColumbo's Joan Collins lookalike wife tries to paint a portrait of him as he tells her about the recent murders. She thinks evil spirits are responsible. Whatever. Soon Dr. Turner finds Peter waiting for her - smoking cigarettes in a hospital room. Nice. He tells her that he's written a prescription for himself - dinner with her. And then the cigarettes begin to move by themselves in the ashtray. Huh???

So Peter and Dr. Turner have a romantic dinner as he continues to sport his very tight tie-died denim jeans. Then they slow dance in the moonlight...leading to fornication in hot red lighting while the cigarettes dance and fly out of the ashtray. Peter sneaks back into the clinic in the morning and a nurse hands him a letter. Then he dreams about the naked groaning people again - this time they are trying to touch him. He wakes up slightly upset. (see photo).

Peter tells Dr. Stone that there are people who are killers, but they don't have hands - so they are using him to kill. He asks to be locked up. So he is locked up - wearing incredibly tight beige polyester slacks. Suddenly he goes all CARRIE - as everything in the hospital is thrown around. Confusion ensues.

Back to movie #2 - a naked pool party/orgy is going on, but a sudden downpour moves the festivities indoors. Peter shows up at the house (I guess he escaped from the hospital) to have a talk with Robbie. It seems that since we last saw Robbie, he has inherited money and a house. Good for him! But Peter claims that Robbie killed someone to get his newfound fortune. He says the victim told him. So I guess Peter can talk to dead people??? Then Robbie's dead too. Oh well.

In a scene that makes no sense whatsoever, Peter is walking home and a truck drives past him. Suddenly a rock flies up from the street and shatters a nearby window. HUH??? Meanwhile, McColumbo grills the orgy goers lightly about Robbie's death - and then immediately tells them all to leave. Peter continues to walk through the streets of Rome as pretty piano music plays. He finally returns home to find Walter in bed with a haggish woman! Walter knows all about the the murders - he's been covering up for Peter and is now blackmailing him!!! The plot really thickens. I think.

Peter shows up all unshaven and sexy at Dr. Turner's - and she's convinced he's innocent. She tells Dr. Stone that Walter may be behind Peter's problems, and she is going to take him under her care. Walter and his hag are waiting for Peter to return - with blackmail money. The hag thinks Peter is gonna kill them, so she tries to get away. Walter then smashes her over the head with a liquor bottle, and reports her death to the police as "another murder". Looks like butler did it!!!

Dr. Turner brings Peter to her family's secluded cabin in the woods. Is this movie #5? A sexy Spanish telenovela? He lights a fire as she fixes dinner, and they talk about Dr. Stone and the fact that had an affair with Peter's mother. Could Dr. Stone be Peter's father? Maybe...maybe not.

McColumbo shows up at Peter's house only to find the hag dead on the floor while Walter is spitting up frogs in the next room. Yes. Spitting up frogs. Then a gun falls off a shelf and shoots and kills Walter. Huh???

Peter once again is sleeping restlessly, dreaming about nudists. Dr. Turner wakes him up and tells him the nightmares are NOT real. But she is...and the soapy music soars. Oh yeah, McColumbo tries to make a phone call, but something has been effecting his hearing. Oh - and there's a subplot about a piece of jewelry that I've forgotten about too...not sure if it's an earring or a keychain.

So then Peter (dreams that he?) sees Dr. Turner beheaded on a train track. Okay.

So, McColumbo spots two guys beating up a woman near a construction site - and he goes to help her. Only a crane full of cinderblocks is hanging overhead. He rolls the woman over and she is a smiling ghoul - just then the cinderblocks begin to fall towards him. He rolls out of the way just in time - but she is crushed! When he goes to inspect her dead body, he finds nothing but the gem!!!

Back in the cabin, Dr. Turner plays a record for Peter ("Tom Jones or Beethoven?"). While back in Rome, McColumbo confronts Dr. Stone. He asks him, "Who are you? What do you want?" Peter gets pissy with Doc Turner, tells her he doesn't want to be her guinea pig. Then they pop pills together and the romantic music soars! After sex, Doc Turner asks Peter for a cigarette - so he goes upstairs to get them - but the door locks behind him. He throws a chair and kicks at the door, but it's no use. Downstairs, an image of the ghoul woman appears and causes the record player to freak out, forcing an LP to fly across the room and floor tiles to begin to move.

McColumbo races towards the house , but his car breaks down. Of course! Somehow Peter and Dr. Turner have managed to escape the cabin and head towards "the light" in her light blue VW. Only the road has plenty of blind curves and Herbie goes flying off a cliff. What???

THEN...we hear a voice say "Let's go back" and we see Peter waking up again just like the beginning of movie #2. Holy shit!
I mean, really -Holy shit! What did this all mean? Was it all a dream? What about the gem? What's the deal with Dr. Stone? Talia? Her poodle? The red-hooded guy at the beginning? Were they witches? Satanists? Vampires? Aliens? Scientologists? It just doesn't add up...or matter much cause every minute of EVIL EYE was amazing and craptastic! 9 outta 10.


Anonymous said...

Spitting up frogs. Yes. Spitting up frogs. Couldn't keep a straight face through that one. My office mate thinks I need to be medicated.


Doug said...

Thanks to you Lynne, I've re-read this old post. God, I forgot how crazy and awesome that film was. Thanks for the memories and keep reading! :)