The Case of the Scorpionís Tail - The Case of the Scorpionís Tail( Blu Ray) [Arrow Video - 2018]The Case Of The Scorpionís Tail was the second giallo from respected journey-man director Sergio Martino. It appeared in 1971 between two of his more known & revered Gialloís The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh & All The Colours Of The Night. Here from Arrow Video we get a new Blu Ray release of the disc, and while film lacks a true punch of originality- itís a well made, often suspenseful & effectively twist-laden addition to the genre
After moody credits of a red hated women walking through 1970ís London streets- we see a plane exploding- one of the passenger is a businessman who's insured for $1 million. His unfaithful wife is the only beneficiary. The insurance agency arranges to pay out, but also assigns their top investigator, Peter Lynch( played by genre regular George Hilton), to sniff out irregularities. And from here on the plot unfolds with a good pace, with some effective twists & turns, and of course black gloved murders.
The Case of the Scorpionís Tail an eventful & fairly shifting Giallo- firstly from its settings that move from London crowded streets, onto scorching & arid cosmopolitan of Athens, though to sea bound near Greek Island. Secondly the action moves from darting chases in rundown & creepy buildings, though to shadowy apartments where black glove killers are trying capture victims. Onto rain lashed rooftops, to underwater action, through to dramatic encounters on rocky side outcrops. Lastly as any good Gialli should, it keeps you guessing who the killers is till the very end with rewarding twists & turns along the way. The score by Bruno Nicola is typical Giallo in its mix of styles, though never the less highly effective moving pacey guitar led chase music thatís edged with angular & jazzy edges. Onto lush & brightly tuneful string cues edged with flamboyant piano flourishes. Onto more gloomy, atonal and fraught atmospherics- that skirt between jazzy noisiness, brooding stringed doom-iness, and the occasional synth textures. The murder scenes are effectively staged, and as one would hope they get more involved & dramatic as the film moves along- there are no really flashy & creatively showy murders of the Argento ilk here, but they are lots of slashings- as well as a particularly nasty glass bottled eye gorge. On the whole I found The Case of the Scorpionís Tail an enjoyable & entertaining Gialli - sure thereís nothing distinctive or strange here, & itís fairly firmly tied to the genres clichťs, but it never gets dull or boring, and you are held by the film though-out, and I didnít really guess who the killer was until the fairly original reveal.
This Blu Ray presents the film in both original Italian language & English dub. Picture & soundwise everything is nicely crisp & balanced, with the often primal colors nicely popping out of the screen. You get a good selection of extras- firstly we get Audio commentary with the film's screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, moderated by filmmaker Federico Caddeo Ė this is in Italian with English subtitles, and really comes off as more as an interview- sure the pair comment on actors when they appear, but for the most part itís Gastald talking about his writing for the film. Next up size wise we have a new forty minute interview with the film's director- this again is in Italian with English subtitles- and Iíd say this is one of the most interesting features on here, as Martino talks in a very candid & informative manner about the film, its production, etc. After this, we get a new twenty-minute interview with George Hilton, a fifteen-minute discussion about Sergio Martino s film work by Mikel J. Koven, author of La Dolce Morte: Vernacular Cinema and the Italian Giallo Film. And a new twenty-minute video essay by respected genre writer Troy Howarth- where he discusses the importance of screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi to the giallo- as he wrote/ co-wrote 20 films within the genre.
In conclusion, itís great to have The Case of the Scorpionís Tail in Blu Ray form, with a good print, and a nice selection of extras. Sure itís not the most distinctive, crazed, or arty of the giallo form- but what it is, is a consistent & pacey film, that I think will be very much enjoyed by fans of the giallo genre.Roger Batty