When I say that the first hour of the film is pointless drivel, some of you are probably thinking “ahh, there’s probably a good death here and there. Surely there’s something packed in that full hour that I can derive some sort of pleasure from”; Believe me, there is NOTHING! There are two death scenes in the first hour of the film, but both total about five seconds in length, combined, and are both amateur to say the least. Surely not the gory mess some might be lead to believe by the film’s fans. The other three (yes, only three) death scenes of any interest come in the last twenty minutes. Granted, the scenes are pretty good, but after sitting through an hour of worthless and useless crap it’s hard to find anything positive to applaud. Sure, the film has style, and I applaud that as well as D’Amato for setting up some kind of atmosphere. The only thing is, I could shoot a turd with good cinematography, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s crap. Fulci is often accused of developing atmosphere, but adding no tension. I agree for the most part, but I wonder if the people who say this have ever popped in Antropophagus. The only tension in the film comes in the last two minutes of the film where our heroine is being chased by our villain, and I’ll admit it was pulled off effectively, but for the rest of the film I could barely even tell which characters were which. The only two characters that stood out for me was the blind girl and the killer. The blind girl because she’s the only brunette, and the killer because… well, he’s the killer. Giving three women who are all the same hair color and have no real identifiable traits, even in personality, isn’t a good thing. The director had a whole hour to let us get to know each character as an individual, but somehow failed. I remember one of them was clairvoyant or something, reading tarot cards and whatnot, but I can barely remember which one it was. That’s what makes the film so unnervingly bad. If the director was going to spend so much time building tension, why are the characters so generic and tripe?
What about the gore though? Ahh, it’s alright. The fetus scene which has been spoiled many times before, isn’t exactly something to vomit over. Nor is it pretty. Still, the fetus ripping at the beginning of Terror Firmer was more disgusting to me, and that one was played for laughs instead of horror. The only thing that sometimes raised the film above mediocrity for me was the style at some points. One scene that I liked was right before the previously mentioned flashback, where the killer walks through a dark hallway and gets right in the camera’s face. Half his face hidden in darkness, with a touch of light beaming down on his face. Definitely a great looking shot and is quite menacing, but even if there were thirty shots equally as great, it wouldn’t change the fact that for 75% of the film absolutely nothing happens. This should have been a short, if anything at all. I could probably get in the editing room and make the whole film twenty minutes long. Maybe then it would at least be easier to sit through. Frankly, when it comes to bad Italian horror films, I’ll take Bruno Mattei. At least he was so bad his films were funny and entertaining.