Evil Eye – Mario Siciliano – 1975

evil eye

Mario Siciliano’s Evil Eye is weird little psycho-dream. It’s as if you dipped American Psycho in euro-sleaze and draped it in a Lynchian dream logic. The film embraces the style and color of the mid-seventies, and yet it juggles all these great elements so clumsily that it is nearly impossible to experience the film as a whole, and yet the frustrating puzzle demands at least cursory examination.

Kudos first and foremost to composer Stelvio Cipriani who’s work here is not only typically excellent, it is, in this case, the absolute finest element of the film. The swinging seventies sounds are immersive and the melodies create that kind of dreamy booze fueled haze that one imagines one might feel if waking up amidst a bunch of passed out models in a sexy euro-mansion.

So, the lead actor is Jorge Rivera, long before his be-mulleted, bone-nunchuck wielding warrior in Fulci’s conquest. However, this goofball is no less wooden and hilarious. In fact, the film, with all its strange editing and bizarre narrative might have actually congealed into some kind of immersion if not for Jorge. Every time this guy was on screen led to one of the most laughable line-readings ever. It’s like this guy never heard anyone speak before. Clearly he was cast for his sculpted torso and not his acting ability.

This film is about a guy who dreams about killing people, then kills people. Then he just kills people. Then he goes to the doctor and tells him, and the doctor says, “People who say they are crazy never are… Admitting you have a problem is the first step.”
Then playboy caveman leaves his super-hot girlfriend and hooks up with his super-hot nurse.

The two of them go up to her cabin hideaway, and are menaced by cheap telekinetic attacks ala breaking glass, and furniture being turned over. Before all is destroyed caveman playboy awakes and says, “It was all a dream.” Around him lie six passed out beautiful women.

This film is tedious, but funny, and very strange. Here’s what I think. The film is a wish fulfillment film much like American Psycho, and speaks like Easton Ellis to the hubris of youth. Like Patrick Bateman, this guy just walks around killing the women he needs to for whatever reason. And like American Psycho the film ends an “It wasn’t real, it was just their dream…”

It plays cheap and unsatisfying, but it suggests a reason for the dreamlike world that precedes it and the supernatural force that pursues Playboy Caveman is essentially his deeply buried conscience, illustrating a kind of divine retribution for thoughts and dreams so murderous and vile.

And then the film breaks under the weight of its own principles. At the end of the film, Playboy Caveman is still Playboy Caveman, and I really am not sure he’s not going to go out there and do those awful things that he never did in the dream, now that he doesn’t have some internal avenger out to get him.

On the other hand, the fact that he had such an elaborate dream, must absolutely call into question his new current reality. If he just woke from a lucid dream, how far down the rabbit-hole hall of mirrors might he go? Was it all a dream, or could this be a hellish loop, Playboy Caveman destined forever to be pursued by the gentle shaking of furniture and the breaking of glass?

We’ll never know, because these are just things I’m thinking about at this point, and no longer the text of the film. I do know this, I liked watching it.

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