The Curator of Schlock#322 by Jeff Shuster

Eye in the Labyrinth

Also known as L’occhio nel labirinto.

I woke up last night to a blood curdling scream. This morning I run into Indigo and Celestial, but Saffron is nowhere to be found. I arrive in the kitchen and notice what looks to be a large swath of blood leading into the fruit cellar. The door opens and out comes Jervis. He said he broke a jar of cherry concord jam. He then proceeds to mop up and tells us that Saffron left earlier that morning, something about having to take care of a sick aunt. Hmmmmm.

Tonight’s Giallo movie is 1972’s The Eye in the Labyrinth from director Mario Caiano. Rosemary Dexter stars as a young woman named Julie that’s been having nightmares about her German psychiatrist boyfriend Luca. In these dreams, Luca is running around in an underground labyrinth made of concrete. A killer is stalking him with a knife. Luca frantically runs away to safety he will never reach. Jazz music by Roberto Nicolosi plays in the background. Eventually, Luca is cornered and stabbed in the back.

Luca has been missing for a while so Julie decides to go searching for him after finding a clue to his whereabouts written in a notebook. This clue is also sputtered by one of the patients at the clinic Luca works at. Julie suspects Luca went to the seaside village of Maracudi. Julie drives out to the village, shows Luca’s photo to people in town until one shady gentleman says he’ll take her to someone that knows Luca’s whereabouts. He drops her off at a hollowed out building. As Julie walks around, trying to find out if anyone is there, someone unseen tries caving in a roof over head.

An older gentleman named Frank (Adolfo Celi) befriends Julie and knows a woman that runs an orphanage who can put her up for the night. Oh, the orphans like to paint and I think the paintings are sold to help with the upkeep of the place. One of the teenage orphans, a boy named Saro, takes a liking to Julie, going so far as to watch her as she sleeps in the nude. Saro is a disgusting pervert, but he gets set on fire later in the movie so it’s all good.

The next day, Julie decides to go swimming in the nude, but some rapscallions filch her clothes and she swims far away to a villa by the seashore. A woman named Gerda Hoffman (Alida Valli) owns it and houses a cavalcade of photographers, musicians, and actors. Turns out Gerda lets them stay there or maybe she rents rooms to them or maybe they’re all helping Gerda smuggle illegal drugs in the country.

Oh, and it turns out Luca had also stayed in the villa and every one of the guests have good reason to want him dead whether that be sexual assault or exposing of dirty secrets. What else? Someone tries killing Julie by locking her in the garage with a car that’s blasting exhaust out the tailpipe. Oh, and Frank is lusting after Julie and it turns out he was a gangster back in the United States before he was forced out of the county. Was Luca murdered? Yes. Was he beheaded? Yes. Is the suspect the person you least suspect? Yes. That does it for the year’s Giallo Month. Only about four hundred more to go.


Photo by Leslie Salas

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