Friday, March 12, 2010

BLIND DATE - review

A somewhat unsophisticated giallo/erotic film from 1990 that arrived at the last gasp of the giallo genre, BLIND DATE (originally titled APPUNTAMENTO IN NERO/APPOINTMENT IN BLACK) is an effective suspense-mystery marred by frequent lapses in logic and character development. The only relatively full-bodied backstory concerns the lead female character, Angela Baldwin (Mirella Banti), whose rape when a girl leaves mental scars she seems unable to erase or psychologically conquer. Fifteen years after that traumatic event, Angela, now a sexual provocateur, is presumably attacked in a rest room of a seedy movie theater (showing EMMANUELLE 5!). Is she an unfortunate crippled victim of continual sexual violence or is there something more insidious going on? And who is that man with the sunglasses who appears to follow her? And what deceits are occurring between her husband, a respected diplomat, and a blonde fashion model who is staying at their residence? Once it kicks in, the film begins to throw curve after curve, keeping the viewer on his (or her) toes.

Unfortunately, screenwriter Daniele Stroppa (who appears as the mysterious stranger in sunglasses) leaves out key explanations, as if more interested in the surprise element of his plot twists than in explaining just why certain things are in place, or, perhaps, director Antonio Bonifacio snipped pages out of Stroppa's script to keep things moving. There is an unfortunate lack of character motivation and backstory in one of the key players in this evolving game of deceit, so much so that when the "curve" with this person arrived, I sighed out my grievous disappointment. Not too long after that, however, the final curve of the movie arrived, and then I smiled my satisfaction. You win some, you lose some.

For Antonio Bonifacio, this was his first film after being an assistant director on films like TOP MODEL for Joe D'Amato, with whom he worked with three times in the late 1980s. He fairs pretty well here, unafraid to experiment on occasion, as in a moody slow-motion sequence that provides a nice atmospheric respite. The standard giallo confrontation in a shower between the killer and the female victim is handled by Bonifacio and his scriptwriter with some originality. (The woman manages to fight back, instead of assuming shocked victim status, ready for the slaughter.)

Without having seen Bonifacio's other films, it's too early to tell for me just where he stands among his Italian exploitation compatriots. I sense, though, that he hovers around the Joe D'Amato range, which is not a bad placement.

The keyboard score by Marco Rossetti (as "Mark Ross") is energetic and interesting (a bit on the Goblinish side at times, too), punching up the suspense and frequent erotic interludes. According to the IMDB, Rossetti has only three film scores to his credit (all for director Antonio Bonofacio). He has a Facebook page where you can sample some of his music. The selections are quite good and indicate that he should be used far more often in film scoring than he has been.

Mya's retitlement, BLIND DATE, makes no sense, as there is no dating here, nor (if one is going the literal route) is anyone blind. Picture quality on the Mya release is significantly better than I expected, though a tad on the soft side. The transfer is not taken from an old video release (thankfully), but, it seems, from a 2009 Italian DVD release on the Avo Films label. An English audio track has been added to the Mya presentation, which surprisingly comes out with much more force and clarity than the rather drab Italian audio track. As is generally typical with Mya releases, no English subtitles are provided for the Italian audio. This is an anamorphic widescreen transfer, btw.

BLIND DATE is available on

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