Why do we choose to see a Sergio Martino picture?
We don’t choose. We just go.
There is no choice involved. We walk by the cinema where “TORSO” is spelled out on the marquee, and see the poster showing Suzy Kendall inside a hacksaw that is held by a spiked glove. She is walking down a staircase in her nightgown. Do we say to ourselves, “This looks like a good movie.?” Of course not. We simply step up to the window and buy a ticket and go inside.
At least those of us who are attracted to this kind of thing go. The rest of the people stay away. Now, most of you might wonder about the kind of people who would be attracted by this kind of thing. Me, I wonder about those who stay away. You see, the nicest people I know are connoisseurs of the grossest movies, while some of the most vicious humans that have crossed my path only choose to see rom-coms and dramas of social uplift.
What is wrong with these real-life sociopaths who see “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. These budding Charlie Mansons are pretending to be your friendly Jimmy Stewart neighbors, while all the time their fantasy lives are seething with rape and murder. You can see them screaming along to “Gimme Shelter” at a Rolling Stones concert. But the the poor kid watching the Satanic sacrifices at “All the Colors of the Dark” is dreaming of a loving wife and a cottage in the suburbs. He doesn’t want to hurt anybody, or if he did, the nightmare movies he is addicted to have scared him off the path where psychos dance.
Martino’s “The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail” is a whodunit in which nobody in the audience cares whodunit. They just want to watch him do it. Who would want to get their mind all involved in such a stupid puzzle? You will find out who the killer is in the end anyway. “Well,” you might ask. “”What pleasure do you get from watching this kind of thing then, if not the satisfaction of solving the mystery?” And maybe the Martino fan will answer that he likes the colors and the costumes, the art direction and the mood. You may well retort with, “Then why don’t you go see a Fellini Movie? Juliet of the Spirits is filled with all that eyeball stuff.” And the fan answers that he has seen “Juliet of the Spirits” two dozen times. And he isn’t exaggerating.
You might get curious and make a choice. You go into “The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail” and come out saying, “That was a very well-edited picture.” but you would be wrong. Martino broke the 180 degree rule a couple of times, and if you don’t know what the 180 degree rule is than look it up. It is something you need to see for yourself, not simply have it defined for you. Now, Martino’s pictures improved after the Scorpion whodunit, but they may have improved in a way that would give you less reason to choose to see one of them.
And that’s the point here. Nobody chooses to see “All the Colors of the Dark.” Just like nobody chooses to go to sleep and have a nightmare. There is no choice involved. You just close your eyes and there it is. And when you wake up, there it isn’t. Makes you feel pretty good to wake up into a world without nightmares. There are other people who carry the damn things around with them for their entire lives.
You see such people at Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston movies. and you may not believe it, but most of these people actually choose to see those movies. They didn’t just walk in by accident.