Lucio Fulci may be more infamous for his horror films but those of you who are Fulci fans will be aware that he was also a major player in the Giallo and Western fields too. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is one example of the Giallo films he made.
This surreal story centres on the daughter of a successful lawyer, a woman plagued by recurring nightmares and fantasies about a neighbour in her apartment block. The neighbour lives a life of hedonism, regularly hosting drug and sex fuelled shindigs, much to the distaste of the main character. Despite regular psychiatric counselling to help the woman come to terms with her disturbing visions, there is no respite, thus a long spiralling descent into paranoia and mental disorder starts. This is exacerbated by the subsequent murder of the neighbour and her doubts as to the fidelity of her husband which embroils her whole family and threatens her very life.
Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is possibly Lucio Fulci’s best example of his work in the Giallo genre. All of his trademark signatures are still there – the surreal nature of his work and his unique insight into visceral and disturbing storytelling. There is a real sense of paranoia and a woman losing her mind as you watch the film progress and the narrative flows well to the point that you really start feeling for what the main character is going through. The role played by the main protagonist’s father is also a strong performance. This is a Giallo film after all and no Giallo murder mystery is complete without some genius and tenuous plot twists to utterly confuse the viewer to the point where the plot is lost but thankfully with this movie, it all just about hangs together until the bitter end, which is satisfying.
Fulci has carved a name for himself and deserves his place in cinema. Like Hitchcock and Fulci’s main peer, Dario Argento, there’s nothing quite like watching a Fulci film. Whether the film is good or bad, it’s always an experience that is never forgotten. Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is no disappointment and Fulci fans will do well to add this movie to their collections.
Optimum’s release of Lizard in a Woman’s Skin seems to be fully uncut and some footage appears to be restored older footage. There are times the picture and sound quality will be reduced and reverts to Italian dialogue with English subtitles but these instances are few and do not last more than a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, there are no extras to speak of.
It is great that these films are making back into general circulation again and that a true genius of Italian cinema lives on.