Hmmm… well…. Dario Argento’s Four Flies on Grey Velvet isn’t really like the other nine or so of these types of movies I’ve seen. It’s definitely much tamer than the rest, especially when it comes to bared skin and bloody murder but I think it’s actually one of the better “stories” out of this small collection I’ve looked at. It’s not just: here’s some random shit, here’s some random shit, here’s some random shit, here’s some random shit, wait what the fuck, explain and end. This is more like: here’s the concept, what if this could happen if someone died and what would our movie be like with this type of thing because we wouldn’t want it to be conventional and OK let’s go for it and let’s set these shots up like no one is really doing these days and throw in some groovy music and let’s cast this super hot, white haired lady (Mimsy Farmer) there and have a broody looking lead (Michael Brandon) pout around looking confused and we don’t need knives up hoo-haws or toe sex so here’s our end product, love ya mean it. I mean – this is a very good story with interesting and clever camera work, a genuinely creepy mask, lots of things that make a lot of noise in the pitch black house, the big “look at me I’m the killer” reveal and an ending that I really liked. But – it took a long time to get there (mostly without Mimsy) and I was kinda bored on and off and I might have even worked on a crossword puzzle at some point, but the overall product was good enough for me.
So, unlike the other Giallos, this one doesn’t have someone in a black hat or biker helmet going around knifing people for no reason. Here, a hip and handsome rock n roll drummer (Brandon) is being tailed by some older dude for no reason and one night he’s had enough so he chases him down and accidentally stabs him, those darn accidents. During the act, the room gets lit up by a flashbulb (remember the old flash and whine?) and he notices a masked someone up in the balcony of where they are at taking a picture of what’s going on down there.
Well, we all know he’s fucked but he tries to get away with murder anyway so he heads home and doesn’t tell anyone about it. Soon, though, someone is leaving him notes and pictures of the act all over the place so he fesses up to his wife and the maid overhears. Somehow the maid figures out who it was taking those pictures so she tries to blackmail the masked man and – well – I don’t want to ruin anything. Before too long there’s an awesome private investigator involved, the wife’s cousin is thrown in for good measure and we start getting glimpses into the mind of the killer through flashbacks of a “lunatic asylum” (hahaha I crack myself up). There’s also a guy that goes by the name God (Bud Spencer) who eats fish raw and straight from the stream and his comic relief pal The Professor to round out the major characters. As you may or may not know, a few lives are gonna be lost and then there’s the big reveal and the explanation as to just what the fuck’s going on but there’s even a little more after that in this – which I thought was done pretty, pretty coolly.
There’s three things that really stand out for me now that I am reflecting on this movie: Mimsy Farmer, the way they did that lady falling down those stairs and what the four flies really are. I really thought those flies were pretty creative.