UNA LIBELULA PARA CADA MUERTO/A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE

1973

Cast: Paul Naschy (Inspector Scaporella), Erica Blanc (Silvana), Eduardo Calvo (the professor), Angel Aranda, Antonio Mayans, Maria Kosti, Ricardo Merino, Jose Canalejas, Rafael Albaicin, Susana Mayo, Mariano Vidal
Director: Leon Klimovsky
Screenplay:
Jacinto Molina
Photography:
Francisco Sanchez
Music:
CAM music library
Production Company:
Profilmes (Spain)

Running time: 88 min.
Alternate title: REDKILLER

Eastmancolor

U.S. theatrical release: None?

English-language video: British video release, long out-of-print.
NTSC dupe available in Naschy Store.

  

  

         

Left: Naschy (as Inspector Scaporella) roughs up a pervert
Right: Naschy shares a tender moment with Erica Blanc

Review: A giallo every bit as gritty as the ones made in Italy. It's full of bizarre characters, a flamboyantly clad killer (he wears a wig and red flare pants, hence Redkiller) with a motive tracing back to childhood trauma, many red herrings, all shot in lurid hues. Best of all it has Paul Naschy as the tough as nails Inspector who scours the Milanese underworld in search of the person leaving scale model dragonflies by the corpses of his victims. Naschy chomps on cigars, has a regulation moustache, and is not above beating a confession out of a suspect. It's one of his most unlikely personas, miles away from the victimized werewolf, Waldemar Daninsky, and a tribute to his versatility and a sharp rebuke to those who have underestimated his acting abilities. Naschy's script moves vertically through the varying social strata of modern Milan. "There are different classes," one of the characters points out and the middle class detective finds himself socializing with the wealthy upper-class architect, Edmundo (Angel Aranda) and his businessman friend (Ricardo Merino). The group around him also includes a respected professor, a gay fashion designer, the wives of the businessmen, one of whom is cheating with a transvestite gangster. All of them are suspects and the meaning of the dragonfly icon will be part of the puzzle's complex solution. The Inspector has a unique relationship with his beautiful wife (Italo genre star Erika Blanc) who decides to take it upon herself to beat her husband in the race to identify the killer.


The exteriors were shot on location in Milan while the interiors were done in Spain, but Klimovsky proves expert at integrating the locales (perhaps as a result of his helming many Spanish-Italian westerns during the 60's). He sets the scene in the first shots of the red light district of Milan, the glittering, tacky neon edifices under which lurk the hookers, addicts and drug dealers who the Inspector sees as symptoms of a social malaise. There's a skewering, hackings, a beheading and even the dismembering of a hooker waiting in a coffin for her necrophiliac client (who turns out to be the learned Professor). Everyone seems caught up in the sleazy atmosphere so well defined by Klimovsky. As a scriptwriter Naschy's themes here seem to be social decay and class corruption; he seems as disgusted with the top of the feeding chain as he is with the bottom. It's an embittered, ironic worldview which pervades the twisting narrative. The CAM score, which includes prominent cues from BLOOD AND BLACK LACE and TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE, works surprising well, despite the sense of deja vu it inevitably evokes. Those only familiar with Naschy's werewolf films should definitely check this one out to experience another aspect of the actor-writer during his busy early 70s period.

-- Robert Monell


Victims of the "Redkiller"


1984 Spanish video cover on the Clemente Senior Video label
(courtesy Alfonso Romero)