I guess the first clue of impending unpleasantness for aspiring starlets walking through the door of the Albatross Agency should be its very name. The word is common metaphor for a psychological burden that feels like a curse. The term's from Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 1798 poem The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Ah well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the Albatross
About my neck was hung.
And guess what? The dialogue in Strip Nude for Your Killer is just about as comprensible. Daffy dubbing delights, as do some of the preposterous, totally out of place, comedic moments. While I am not usually a fan of intended humor in my gialli, I did thoroughly enjoy Strip Nude for Your Killer.
The psychedelic slow-fade in centers on the death of a foxy young model during a botched abortion. OK, so that's not too sexy. Cut to a shagadelic photo shoot with nudie cuties in front of — and, er, behind — the clicking cameras. Magda Cortis (Edwige Fenech) is one of the sexy shutterbugs working for Amanda (Gisella Montani), the domineering, bisexual owner of the agency. Polyamourus playboy photog Carlo Bianchi (Nino Castelnuovo) is one of a few suspects at play amongst the model murder mayhem, flaming flamboyant types, and bed-hopping baddies, each being picked off, one by one.
The murders begin with the abortionist and end with… well, I'll let you figure that one out. The reveal of the murderer — a biker clad from toe to shoulder in black leather and shrouded by a sleek, dark helmet — is quite delightful, and watching the related extras on the DVD add to the fun (don't watch them first: they're spoilerific). One of the best kills involves a fat man in his underoos and a blow-up sex doll. Just sayin'. What's more, for a "fashion" house… Albatross certainly doesn't have much wardrobe on hand. Fenech, who's not even a model, gets naked so often, even Hugh Hefner would be offering her his robe.
This raunchy romp is certainly not a paragon of representation for the giallo genre (though hallmarks abound: J&B product placement, nutty zooms, knives). It borders on (very) soft-core porn at times, sacrificing the mystery which is certainly a an considerable aspect of the enjoyment factor in this milieu. Still, its title and schlocky cover art certainly puts it all out there, so no one need be surprised Strip Nude For Your Killer is hardly on par with Argento or Martino.
Fenech is as beautiful as ever (so cute with a short pixie haircut), and her acting is the best of the bunch. Solvi Stubing, a bona fide fashion model at the time, is well-cast… she recounts her experience in the DVD interview portion (she's now an entertainment reporter on TV, and has a funny story about how her past came back to "haunt" her). The men are appropriately oily and slightly skeevy — not unlike screenwriter Massimo Felisatti, who also has some screen time in the additional release materials.
Presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with an anamorphic transfer, the film looks absolutely gorgeous. Strip Nude for Your Killer will be released on Blu-ray by the marvelous Blue Underground on March 27, 2012.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson