Dec 16, 2021

Raptus (1969)


An Italian film about a murder which goes through the courtroom drama as well as the psychological evaluation.  Not sure I've seen a film like this which goes so far afield of the central story: it begins as a standard procedural crime drama then takes a right-turn and explores the conditions of two murderous inmates in an asylum. 

Franco Adami (Umberto Liberati) fools around with a prostitute (? actress) in the woods.

She wants to relocate to an abandoned building.

Franco doesn't realize he's being watched.

Next, law enforcement arrives at the abandoned building.

The prostitute has been strung up in macabre fashion; naked and tied to a pillar.

Franco is brought to trial.

Defense attorney Montani (Folco Lulli

His wife  (Solvejg D'Assunta) reads about the case in the papers.

The trial

The eyewitness gives his testimony

He describes how Franco took pictures of the nude girl.

As the camera rotates, whe see that she is still very much alive.

But then Franco is triggered by flashbacks. He's been traumatized by seeing animals butchered.

He slices the girl's wrist and she dies.

Franco pleads to Montani.

Montani explores the subject of insanity as the cause of the murder.  He meets with the director of the asylum (Daniele Vargas) who introduces him to two patients to illustrate his point.

The first patient: Usai (Silvio Bagolini) a pedophile murderer.

We flash back to Usai who is infatuated with a young girl.

The girl is Francesca (Caterina Barbero).

He watches her ride a bike and lusts at the sight of her panties as she pedals.

Caterina Barbero was 18 when this was filmed... thank god.

Usai watches Francesca dress across the way...

As she opens the wardrobe door we can glimpse full frontal from Caterina Barbero in the mirror.

Francesca comes over to be tutored by Usai. 

He can't control himself and grabs her leg.

She tries to escape, but he won't let her.

When Francesca's parents come home they find Usai sitting beside Francesca, naked and dead.  Quite a ghoulish scene.

The director explains how Usai became this way, relating to something in his childhood.

The director introduces Montani to the second patient: Gilberto (Piero Lulli).

Gilberto was fucked-up as a child by fire and brimstone sermons.

This turned Gilberto into something of a sadistic devil.

In adulthood, Gilberto is obsessed with fire and torturing prostitutes for their sins.

This prostitute is chained up by a fire.

Gilberto threatens her with a hot branding iron.

Another gets a similar taste of fire...

He threatens to push her into the flames.

Krista Nell plays his next prostitute victim.

She tries to get the hell outta there.

He throws her down and she's consumed by the fire.

So, Montani delivers his defense, and wins the insanity plea for Franco. THE END

Folco Lulli is a really good actor, and the direction here is superb.  It's sleazy but also dead-ass serious about conveying this disturbing tale.  It is just plain bizarre how it completely becomes about the stories of the two asylum patients and we almost lose the Franco murder plot entirely. I have to say, the pedophile story was creepy as hell; the following story of the religious sadist is incredible with its visuals of fire and red.  So, I'm not sure how I feel about how this whole story was told; is it okay to just say "fuck the story I was telling, here's a new story" midway through?  Maybe, maybe not, but a memorably dark and original film nonetheless. 


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