The Curator of Schlock #193 by Jeff Shuster
The Perfume of the Lady in Black
It ain’t CHANEL No. 5!
We’re in week four of Giallo Month here at The Museum of Schlock. Tonight’s movie is The Perfume of the Lady in Black. And it makes no sense. I watched a Fellini movie once. It featured a large, naked Italian woman singing opera in a cemetery in the middle of the night. I think. My memory is fuzzy on that. I remember the movie not making any sense. Kind of like tonight’s movie. I got to break this up to keep my own sanity.
1972’s The Perfume of the Lady in Black was directed by Francesco Barilli. It stars Mimsy Farmer as a chemist named Silvia.
Mimsy’s credits include movies such as Gidget Goes Hawaiian and Hot Rods to Hell. The movie also stars Maurizio Bonuglia as her boyfriend, Roberto. Oh, he starred in The Fifth Cord. I don’t remember what that movie was about. I think it involved Franco Nero dancing on some giant piano keys a la Tom Hanks in Big. I liked that movie. Whatever happened to Penny Marshall?
Silvia, the chemist, has cocktails with her boyfriend and some engineers from Africa. A Professor Andy (Jho Jenkins) points out that his ancestors used to eat their enemies. Andy goes on about how witch doctors in Africa still practice black magic, human sacrifice, and cannibalism. It’s just done in secret now. He laughs maniacally, making everyone, myself included, very uncomfortable. He then says it’s all a joke, but this does nothing to ease my suspicions.
Silvia has a foppish neighbor named Mr. Rossetti (Mario Scaccia) that likes to take pictures in the park on sunny afternoons. He runs out of tea frequently, knocking on her door at odd hours for a spoonful or two. He also feeds his cats ladyfingers as in fingers that belonged to a lady. Nope. I’m not talking about the sweet British biscuits. Why do the British call cookies biscuits? Maybe they don’t have biscuits in the UK. No biscuits? No biscuits! No biscuits! No biscuits! No biscuits!
The Woman in Black
She’s not really wearing a black dress. It’s black, but it’s covered with polka dots.
Sylva keeps seeing her everywhere. It might be the spirit of her dead mother. She also keeps seeing a young blonde girl running around that may be her as a child. She goes to a sweet shop and buys out their stock of blackberry jam. That’s the little blonde girl’s favorite.
Why am I watching this movie?
So Sylvia falls to her death at the end of the film. Roberto, Andy, and Mr. Rossetti bring her body to a morgue where they cut her open and start feasting on her organs. You’d think they’d at least cook them first. Other characters from the film wait in line, each dining on a little piece of Sylvia. This is a sick movie! You don’t see The Way We Were ending with a cannibalism scene. Not as I remember it, anyway.