Written by J. Weagle
Looking back at the sexist, misogynist, often under looked Italian murder flick Strip Nude for your Killer.
Back about eight or nine years ago I discovered giallo films. I can’t quite recall how I discovered them, but I fell in love with the Italian sub genre that tore through the 1970’s and early 80’s. One of the things that really caught my attention was the direct understanding that these are films, they never tried to be drape themselves in realism and used camera techniques and lighting to set up a dream like atmosphere that at the time couldn’t be found anywhere else.
One of the first giallo films I ever laid my eyes on was the 1975 sleaze romp Strip Nude for your Killer. With a title like that it was impossible not to be drawn to it. The film is directed by Andrea Bianchi who had a run in the 1970’s and 80’s directing mostly cheese ball goofy horror and murder films that went unnoticed, at least here in the west.
Strip Nude for your Killer is not a good movie, not in the terms people usually use to describe what is good and bad. Like most giallo films of the time the acting is awful, or rather the dub is. The plot is ridiculous and the gore is barely seen, but anyone who has followed the genre knows that those things never make a good film. I don’t know anyone who would place this film in the top tier but when it comes right down to it, Strip Nude for your Killer embodies everything that the genre was, and becomes damn entertaining because of it.
Drenched in the cliches of the genre, from the beautiful naked women, the stalker killer who breathes heavy and carries a knife in the perfect position to set up a cool shot – to the american voice dub that only adds to the absurdity. No, Strip Nude for your Killer is not the best the genre had to offer either, but it is perhaps the most self aware, proud giallo ever made and for that it doesn’t get the respect it deserves.
One reason for this is probably on the fact that Strip Nude is one of the most sexist films ever made. We live in a very politically correct time, for better or worse and this film feels like a relic that could never be remade or brought into current times, like so many other Italian films of that time. Women are used as a plot device, sex objects to be raped and abused and ogled at by viewers. There is ridiculous bi-sexual relationships and the film even opens with a botched abortion where the a woman dies setting up the story in a way in which people would be outraged by today.
After someone kills a doctor who’s botched abortion killed his patient, the film shifts focus to a modelling agency and all the suspects and victims therein. Specifically, we get to focus on a photographer named Magda, who is played by Edwige Fenech, one of Italy’s most important actresses during that time for her roles in numerous giallos and sex comedies. The other character we focus in on is Carlo, who takes the trophy as the most sexist Italian movie hero I’ve laid eyes on. We first see him sexually harassing and eventually having sex with a young girl, then he hooks up with Magda, seemingly immediately moving in to her apartment, moaning about his coffee, and reading the paper while ignoring her. Magda, for her part, doesn’t seem to mind being called stupid, being shouted at, or even choked for saying the wrong thing. It is customary for the Giallo murderer to don black gloves for his crimes, but Bianchi goes all the way again with this idea and has his killer completely dressed in motorcycle leathers.
It’s as though Bianchi took everything the genre had become known for and upped it to eleven. Covering the film in a thick layer of sleaze that will satisfy any fan of lurid cinema, from the opening shot to the very end. It acts more like a love letter to everything I love about the genre, and when I think of what a Giallo film represents Strip Nude for your Killer is the film that comes to mind first.