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The Curator of Schlock #285 by Jeff Shuster

Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye

Orangutan at Dragonstone Castle

It’s week 2 of Giallo Month here at the Museum of Schlock. I spent a small fortune on some jars of bathwater taken from the bathtub scene from The Case of the Bloody Iris, the scene where that one model jumped up naked from the bubble bath. I did this purely for research purposes and not for some sick fetish I’m too ashamed to admit in public. I may put these jars on display, but I can’t promise anything. I’m so lonely.

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Tonight’s fine specimen of Italian cinema is 1973’s Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye from director Antonio Margheriti (whose glorious name is an easter egg in Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds).

The flick starts out with a man being murdered. I think he’s getting cut up with a razor blade. A big fluffy cat looks on with bemusement. You could say the cat is eyeing the death. Six deaths to go!

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The movie takes place in this castle on an island off the coast of England, Scotland, or some British country. Oh, and the castle is full of rats too. They make short work out of the corpse mentioned above. If you ever wanted to see rats chewing off a dead guy’s face, this is the movie for you.

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Okay. The protagonist of our cinematic journey is Corringa (Jane Birkin), a beautiful young woman who was away at boarding school, but left abruptly after she upset the nuns.  As she’s getting dropped off at her family home, Dragonstone Castle, we see a deformed orangutan peeking out at her through one of the castle windows. Forget about the serial killer, there’s an orangutan loose in the castle! I’ll take my chances with the serial killer!

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We get a dinner scene with a bunch of potential suspects and victims. We’ve got Dr. Franz (Anton Differing), the family headshrinker who must be on call because these rich families always have a few screws loose due to inbreeding. There’s Padre Robertson (Venantino Venantini), the family’s Catholic Priest who must also be on call to hear a few confessions. Oh, and Corringa has a mad cousin named Lord James MacGrieff (Hiram Keller) whols a potential love interest for her when he isn’t being rude and drinking his dinner. Another guest is a French teacher named Suzanne (Doris Kuntsmann) who was hired as a potential mistress for mad Lord James, but she ended up having an affair with Dr. Franz who is also dating one of the older Ladies of the castle, Corringa’s mother or mad Lord James’s mother.

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Are you following all of this? Can you explain it to me?

Bodies start piling up. Who could the killer be?

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I know exactly what you’re thinking.

It’s the orangutan, but that’s too easy. Also, why would an orangutan go to the trouble of using a razor blade to kill someone? Unless, it’s a killer dressed up as an orangutan. What a brilliant idea. You could dress up as an orangutan, kill some people the way a human being would, and no one would ever suspect you. I think I just came up with the perfect crime. Do me a favor and don’t tell anyone.

Seven Deaths in the Cat’s Eye can be found on Amazon Prime streaming.


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Photo by Leslie Salas

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131, and episode 284) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.