The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974)

Meeting somewhere between Repulsion and Rosemary’s BabyThe Perfume of the Lady in Black is heavily saturated in conspiracy and paranoia. For both the the leading lady, played by Mimsy Farmer, and the audience.
 After suddenly being confronted with a traumatic event from her childhood, Silvia (Farmer) begins finding herself disoriented and being apparently stalked by her inner child. On top of that, everyone from her boyfriend to colleagues to the shop girl around the corner seems to be plotting against her. It’s difficult to decide whether or not everything happening on screen is apart of her delusions or if there’s something bigger at work here. Perfume keeps you guessing until the very end. I was pretty sure that the obvious conclusion would be that she’s just insane. Thankfully director Francesco Barilli didn’t sell the audience short with such a predictable ending. I won’t give it away, but it’s pretty bad ass.

I’m not sure if this would qualify as giallo. No black gloved killer in sight. It’s a little more complex and psychological than your run of the mill Italian slasher. Stylistically however, it fits the bill. It’s absolutely gorgeous in it’s design, lighting, costumes and score. Those are the four most important things in a “giallo” film. Which explains why Argento’s movies suck as of late. An Italian horror movie can get away with having mediocre plot (although of course a good one helps) and still win you over on aesthetics alone. Perfume is one of the loveliest I’ve seen. The building Mimsy Farmer lived in was out of control gorgeous. Every room, every piece of furniture, it was all spot on. 
Perfume of the Lady in Black was a delightfully depraved and stunning work of art. Lucky for us, it’s streaming on netflix! So you have no excuse not to revel in it. So get on that, wouldya?!

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