He isn’t particularly fond of Jennifer’s goof-off prankster pal, Marilyn, whose sense of humor has a wild range from silly to inappropriate (she plays off Mizar’s death, tricking Andrea (Hilton) and Jennifer who think she might be in jeopardy when soap bubbles from her bath appear under the bathroom door). Marilyn seems to take nothing seriously, always with a jokey comment or goofy expression, but she’s harmless, if just a wee bit off-putting at times. We later learn he’s an architect for his company’s apartments.
I always liked how Hilton can cast doubt his way with just the right kind of odd look of menace. Notice a scene where he tells Jennifer to be careful when the two start to “make it” with each other and she finds out what kind of bastard he is. She says she can’t believe that, leaves his car, and Hilton passes off a look as she walks away that seems to indicate he’s not as fond of her as he might lead her to believe. It is just the right comment and look; a giallo, for me, needs to produce such suspicion. It’s all about letting few people off the hook except the heroine (but, I like it when the formula gets turned on its head and the heroine herself is the real culprit; Fulci has done this before..).
With my experience watching available giallo thrillers, there always does seem to be one great scene that sets up in the brain and I think Marilyn’s death fits the bill. She is carrying groceries—hands full, recognizes the person who approaches her, and doesn’t have a chance to defend herself—and is fatally stabbed right on a crowded street. A moment of shock, falling against Andrea, trying to tell him something but unable, collapsing on the sidewalk, her blood smeared on his coat, citizens surrounding them. It sends Andrea running panic-stricken as the posted cop watching him gives chase, losing him.
This film gives us minute details about characters. The reason behind why blood repulses Andrea is shown at the very end while dangling over a railing as the killer tries to throw him over to the floor several stories down (the apartment has one of those square stairwells that produces a righteous image as a man is tossed to his doom, with the director showing us his hitting a few rails before landing with a sudden thud, a trickle of blood from his head, at an angle that is askew; this is badass.). Sheila, a neighbor to Jennifer, is lesbian and her professor father (typically playing his violin) is always at her about sin. A rather creepy lady neighbor, who buys “killer mags”, has a deformed son with rather nasty burns on his hands who moves to different rooms to peep on girls. So the suspects list is loaded, to say the least. A letter sent to Mizar, and the desirable ladies murdered (and Jennifer, seemingly always on the receiving end of the depraved and grotesque) produce clues as to the motivation behind the killer’s attacks.
Sin can be as black as your color and you have corrupted me.