“A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin” (1971)
Studio: American International Pictures (AIP)
Starring: Florinda Bolkan, Stanley Baker, Jean Sorel, Silvia Monti, Anita Strindberg
Directed by: Lucio Fulci
Running Time: 101 min.
Synopsis: A woman has a nightmare that she killed her neighbor and finds out her neighbor was really murdered.
Director Lucio Fulci is best known for his all out gore films mostly involving the living dead in films like Zombi 2, City of the Living Dead, and The Beyond. There was a time in the pre-Zombi 2 days where Fulci did many giallos and suspense thrillers like Don’t Torture the Duckling, The Psychic, and the feature that I am about to review, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. These films that came out in the early 70’s were more like films from Mario Bava or Dario Argento, but to me they were not Fulci’s forte like his zombie or ultra gore films. Most of Fulci’s giallos seemed to be Bava or Argento lite, but a few of them were entertaining and had some promise.
The film is about a woman, Carol (Florinda Bolkan) who is having these very strange dreams that involve her neighbor, Julia (Anita Strindberg). They seem so real that one night Carol dreams that she murders Julia by stabbing her and then the next day Julia is found killed in her flat. Carol is not sure if she did it or not. She first keeps it to herself, but then the weapon that was used to kill Julia has her fingerprints on it. The rest of the film has many twists and turns and interesting things are revealed.
This film is a mixed bag. There are some things I liked in it and some things I did not. There were more things I disliked then liked. First the things I liked in the film. The look of the film was good. The dream sequences were done very well and had a psychedelic feel to them and they looked like a trip on LSD. One scene that is the best part of the film is when Carol is trying to figure out what really happened with Julia’s death, so she goes to an old church to meet someone who was going to give her some answers. Turns out someone starts to chase after her. It is a great chase scene that goes through this creepy church. There is great suspense and atmosphere in this scene.
Things I did not like about the film were the way the story was told and some of the acting. The story tended to drag and become very boring. Also the story would go in a different direction sometimes and did not explain some things throughout. Most of the characters in the film are uninteresting and you do not really care for them during the film. Then the ending of the film (which I won’t give away) was very predictable and very uneventful.
Another highlight of the film was the musical score, which was done by the legendary Ennio Morricone who is famous for his scores in the classic spaghetti westerns, Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly just to name a few. He also did the score to John Carpenter’s The Thing along with Carpenter and Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables.
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin may have some good moments to it, but it is not a memorable giallo and it is a decent film from Lucio Fulci. His best work came with Zombi 2 and films after that. A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin is worth checking out for those hardcore Fulci fans and ones that want to watch anything giallo from the 60’s and 70’s.