Director: Dario Argento. Sc: Dario Argento, George Kemp.
Music: Simonetti, Pignatelli, Norante. Cast: Anthony Franciosa, Daria Nicolodi, John Saxon, Giuliano Gemma, Eva Robins/Roberto Coatti, Mirella D'Angelo, John Steiner, Ania Pieroni, Lara Wendel.
Peter Neal comes to Italy to promote his latest work, a violent thriller. He is criticized for the violence in his novels and in fact, right before he arrived in Rome, a woman was brutally murdered with pages from Neal's latest work, stuffed in her mouth. The killer contacts Neal and tells him how much he admires his work. As more killings occur, Neal and a police detective work together to try and uncover who the killer might be. When the assassin begins to knock off those closest to Neal, he decides to track down a fan whose obsessions with his books troubles him. Sure enough he has located the killer but when he's is murdered and the deaths continues, he and the police realize that there may be a second murderer.
This is my favorite Argento Giallo. It contains perfection in every element seen on the screen: photography, music, acting, special effects, you name it. When you consider that Lamberto Bava was the first assistant director and Michele Soavi was the second assistant, it's no wonder the film is a s good as it is. Franciosa is usually given to hamming it up, but here, he keeps it under control and gains audience sympathy in the process. Steiner had gained a world of experience playing psychos in crime films during the seventies, so his part here is not much of a stretch, still you can't wait for him to bite the bullet (or in this case, get an axe to the skull). With a strong narrative (for a change) you're able to concentrate on the characters more and you have to applaud Argento for concocting a storyline that admits, violent material could possibly influence people to commit violence. Of course in this case, the person was nuts to begin with, otherwise this would just be a piece of Christian coalition propaganda. The film was butchered for its US release (a typical reaction by distributors to Argento's early work) as UNSANE. Needless to say, avoid that version like the plague.