The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971)
A lot of this genre of film reads as follows: exotic, misogynistic murders and attacks, kind of cobbled together with multicolored bits of cinematic Playdoh for story. This film is no exception, but is executed poorly enough it was pretty hard to sit through. The story threw in random red herrings and lots of dark-wood paneled interiors. In addition to all the lady-murderin’ & mutilatin’, this film has a particularly nasty little bit at the end – an attack on an elderly woman and naked teenage girl. For the pretentious amount of characters, murders, and dramatic buildup, the actual reveal of the bad guy is entirely flaccid.
Performances here – inasmuch as poor sound, poor writing, and silly dubbing interfere – are adequate: especially from lead Luigi Pistilli, leading lady Dagmar Lassander, sinister maybe-bad-guy (and Nazi character actor) Anton Diffring, and hopped-up unhappy housewife Valentina Cortese. The women are especially beautiful, and the men in the film don’t quite match their charisma.
Unintentionally humorous moments: the lead actor’s dubbed Irish accent, the foley effects during the throat-cutting (which sounded like one of those bubble pipes kids play with), and the many, many, MANY musical-sting/camera zooms involving sunglasses. I mean really I think there were about twenty of those. I hope someone out there makes a montage!
Bottom line: unless you’re a hardcore fan of giallo, or you are diving in the works of director Freda (who himself disavowed the film) or a few of the principal actors, you’ll want to give this mess a miss.
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