Directed by Antonio Bonifacio
Cast: Mirella Banti, Andy J. Forest, Mary Lindstrom, Sonia Viviani, Daniele Stroppa, Franco Citti, Rossana Coggiola, Laura Piattella, Marina Frajese, Luca Laurenti, Ann Margaret Hughes, Angela Pacini, Vincent Regina, Giorgio Sessa, Dario Silvagni, Vito Terribile, Piero Villaggio, Matteo Vocale
Observing Angela in the foyer is a mysterious man with sunglasses, who Angela seems to recognize.
Angela’s husband John (Andy J. Forest), a hotshot diplomat, is none too pleased with his wife having gone to a sex cinema as he worries about his reputation. He hates Angela with passion and is carrying on a steamy, secret affair with her best friend Eva (Mary Lindstrom - dubbed by Pat Starke), a fashion model who lives together with them in their villa.
But, of course, everything isn’t quite as easy as it seems. Rosie (Laura Piattella), John and Angela’s nosy maid, is constantly eavesdropping on everyone in the villa, and Angela is contacted by a sleazy scumbag (Franco Citti) who is the projectionist at the sex cinema where she was attacked. The projectionist reveals that he has a peephole to the bathroom and that he saw what really happened that day: Angela faked her attack by tearing up her own dress and violently slashing herself with shards from a broken bottle...
The only thing that really bogs the film down somewhat are the tired and uninspired sex scenes – of which there are many. There’s nothing wrong with sex scenes per see but here they are used mostly as padding; with the result that they hurt the film’s pacing by bringing the plot to a complete stand-still far too often. Furthermore, the sex scenes (most of them between John and Eva) are rather repetitive and boring to watch. The film would certainly have benefited from trimming some of these sequences.
The casting is interesting too. The leading role is filled by the curvy Mirella Banti, who is probably best known for her role as Mirella D’Angelo’s sultry lesbian mistress in Argento’s Tenebrae (1982), and who seems to have gained a few extra pounds since that film. Banti does a good job here and proves herself to be quite uninhibited in several explicit scenes. She’s a pretty attractive woman, really, but in some scenes she suffers from what I like to call “the Eva Grimaldi problem”. By that I mean that an otherwise good-looking woman through the use of excessive make-up, very heavy lipstick on pouty lips, and unflatteringly skanky outfits will end up looking more tawdry and vulgar than attractive and sexy - a problem that has always haunted Ms Grimaldi. I like Mirella Banti but that red dress really doesn’t look too good on her.
This may not be a great erotic thriller but it’s certainly far superior to a lot of other Italian thrillers from the same era, including Bonifacio’s next giallo, the disappointing The Strange Story of Olga O. (1995) with Serena Grandi. Appointment in Black, though, is most certainly worth a look!
© 2008 Johan Melle