The Curator of Schlock #391 by Jeff Shuster

The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail

Money Money Money!

The ruthless vigilante known as the Revenging Manta spilled his beans to me at a Waffle House. He was once a humble haberdasher and family man. He had a loving wife and young daughter until the Iguana Consortium, a unified alliance of all the gangs in Orlando, FL, demanded protection money. When he refused, their leader, the Goose Lord, murdered his family right in front of him. That day he swore revenge against the Iguana Consortium, donning the guise of the Revenging Manta. — To be continued.

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It’s August and I want to write about giallo movies. What’s a giallo movie? That’s kind of hard to explain. Much like porn, you’ll know one when you see one. This week’s movie is 1971’s The Case of the Scorpion’s Tale from director Sergio Martino. The movie begins in London with a young woman named Lisa Baumer (Ida Galli) having a torrid affair behind her husband Kurt’s back. Not that he’s going to find out since the airplane he’s traveling on blows up.

In Athens, she meets a handsome man named Peter Lynch (George Hilton), but she quickly deduces that he’s an insurance investigator. Later, Lisa runs into Lara (Janine Reynaud), her husband’s late mistress. Lara tells her that Kurt was going to divorce Lisa and marry her. Lara demands half of the insurance money or she’s going to have her lawyer, Sharif, rearrange Lisa’s face. Lisa evades them thanks to aid of Peter Lynch. When she gets the check, she insists on getting it cashed right away instead of waiting until she’s back in London.

Anyway, turns out Lisa’s husband had a life insurance policy and Lisa is the lucky beneficiary of a million dollars! She just needs to travel to Athens to collect it. Some creeper named Phillip is blackmailing Lisa for hundreds of pounds. There’s also a man in a fedora and sunglasses stalking her. Lisa comes home to find her apartment ransacked and Phillip bleeding out on her carpet. Oh, well. Off to Athens to collect that money.

With a handbag stuffed with a million dollars, Lisa heads back to her hotel room and books a flight to Tokyo to meet up with her lover, Paulo. Somehow I don’t think Lisa thought this through. If you walk around with a million dollars in cold hard cash, you should expect someone might try to rob you!. Lisa orders a taxi to take her to the airport later that evening, but a black gloved killer sneaks into her apartment, slashes her throat, and steals the money. Wait! What? Lisa was the protagonist of the movie and she doesn’t make it past the half hour mark. All bets are off!

From here we follow Peter Lynch as he works with an Interpol inspector to find out who murdered Lisa and stole the million dollars. First stop is Lara’s place since she threatened Lisa the day before. Peter almost gets his head hacked off by the killer outside Lara’s place. Lara denies having anything to do with Lisa’s death. Peter befriends a lovely reporter named Cléo Dupont (Anita Strindberg). She helps him investigate the case while having a torrid affair with him. The gloved killer takes out Lara and Saffron. Who could it be? I’ve never been good at guessing these things. There’s a big shocking twist at the end and plenty of gruesome deaths in-between. Check it out!

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Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeff Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124episode 131episode 284episode 441episode 442episode 443, episode 444episode 450, episode 477episode 491episode 492, episode 493episode 495, and episode 496) is an MFA graduate from the University of Central Florida.