Pop-musician and film-maker Federico Zampaglione has succeeded in making a full-blooded giallo in the classic tradition of Fulci and Argento with his latest horror-thriller, "Tulpa - Perdizioni mortali" [Eng. Title: Tulpa] - it comes complete with the Fedora hat and trench coat-clad masked killer, not to mention the trademark black leather gloves. But that isn't the only reference the film makes to the genre.
Set in contemporary Italy, Lisa (Claudia Gerini) is a successful businesswoman at a leading financial corporation run by Roccaforte (Michele Placido). Having no time for a normal social life, she unwinds by frequenting a private sex club themed and named after a Tibetan mystic tradition called 'Tulpa'. Each time, after partaking a special concoction from mysterious resident 'guru' Kiran (Nuot Arquint), bisexual Lisa engages in sex with randomly chosen club members, presumably with the aim of reaching a higher state of consciousness or orgasm through her libido.
But her 'tranquil' life will turn a bit stressful after a scandal erupts in the newspapers about the company she works for. At about the same time, Lisa also discovers that someone, either out of spite or disapproval of her lifestyle, is going around viciously murdering the people she had sex with in Tulpa. She will even break a club rule by contacting and warning one of its members. Suspicion falls on everyone associated with the club and her backstabbing work colleagues. Her only friend and bookshop assistant Joanna (Michela Cescon), offers her support. But the body count continue to mount and it is only a matter of time before Lisa too will be forced to confront the killer...
In typical giallo fashion, the film undergoes twists and turns with the intention of keeping audience guessing. The atmosphere in the film is quite remarkable, and the killer too - true to gialli, uses the most elaborate and outlandish methods to do the deed (some ideas are even original). Worth mentioning is a scene where the victim is firmly tied to a carousal before it's switched on, and with every round, the victim's face will be forced to make contact with a strategically positioned coil of barbed wire. The film contains dialogues that were shot originally in English using Italian actors, and dubbed back into Italian later (as during the golden era of giallo, when they really tried hard to reach an American audience). Also, some of the dialogues were amended during post-production - not uncommon either. This film is neither a homage nor a nostalgic look-back at the Italian giallo - it's the genuine article, and for fans of this genre, it obviously has to be Recommended Viewing..!
Amazon DVD Link [PAL] | Amazon Blu-ray Link
The Nudity: Claudia Gerini and Crisula Stafida
Claudia Gerini who's also the director's wife in real-life, is as stunning as ever, and more than adequately fills the role of Lisa - a high-powered woman with strong sexual appetite. She appears nude in a couple of sex scenes, and also briefly in bed. Crisula Stafida appears nude during the sex scene with Ms. Gerini, and later on in the shower.