La morte cammina con i tacchi alti

1971

Action / Mystery / Thriller

20
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 68%
IMDb Rating 6.5 10 879

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Reviewed by Red-Barracuda 8 / 10

Susan Scott shines in super sexy giallo

Luciano Ercoli's Death Walks on High Heels is a sexy and suspenseful thriller. The convoluted plot revolves around the whereabouts of some stolen jewels and the involvement of a strip tease girl.

Susan Scott (aka Nieves Navarro) plays the stripper who is central to the story. And, quite frankly, she's a revelation. Oozing sex appeal and stealing every scene she appears in, Miss Scott was one of the queens of giallo cinema. She was highly impressive in Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion but she is given a more central role here. And she delivers one of the most erotic performances in the giallo sub-genre.

Other than the obvious appeal of the delicious leading lady, Ercoli's movie works as a suspenseful thriller, with some genuinely unsettling scenes. Chief amongst them being the somewhat haunting appearance of the 'high heels' killer in the opticians, whose approach is seen through through frosted glass and, also of note is an extremely brutal murder scene in the latter half of the movie, the savagery of it is definitely shocking. This murder stands out all the more as this is not exactly a body-count movie. The violence is kept to a minimum but is strong when it rears it's head.

Like in Forbidden Photos, Ercoli uses another actress who looks strikingly similar to Susan Scott, in this case Claudie Lange. Simón Andreu, another Ercoli regular, puts in another sleazy performance as the chief suspect. And there is a host of other shady characters prowling about. In fact there are so many red herrings that we even have a dodgy character selling fish! In order for early 70's gialli to sell themselves to an international market they were often expected to do two things. Firstly cast leading ladies who look more Anglo-Saxon than Italian (which the Spanish but strawberry haired Miss Scott fulfilled) and secondly to incorporate locations outwith Italy (this being achieved by the French and British settings).

Death Walks on High Heels is one of the most erotically charged gialli I've seen. Recommended for fans of both Italian thrillers and, of course, Susan Scott.

Reviewed by bensonmum2 7 / 10

More plot twists than a mountain road and boatload of red herrings.

A jewel thief is brutally murdered on a train by a masked assailant. But when the murderer is unable to locate any diamonds, the murderer immediately suspects that the thief's daughter, a Parisian stripper named Nicole (Nieves Navarro aka Susan Scott), may have the diamonds. Nicole, however, claims to know nothing of the diamonds. After a series of threats, both verbal and physical, Nicole decides to flee France with a man she hardly knows. The pair begin a seemingly ideal relationship in a secluded seaside village. But Nicole is unaware that the killer has followed her to England and will stop at nothing to get his hands on the diamonds.

What a fun Giallo! Death Walks on High Heels has one of the most convoluted plots I've run into – even by Giallo standards. While the movie may lack the quantity of murder scenes found in other Gialli (although at least one murder scene is as violent as they come), Death Walks on High Heels makes up for this shortcoming with more plot twists than a mountain road and boatload of red herrings. It had me guessing (incorrectly, I might add) up to the very end. It's all about the mystery and director Luciano Ercoli skillfully casts the shadow of suspicion on just about everyone in the cast. Much of the movie is told quite nicely in flashbacks with bits and pieces of the story being revealed as each person confesses to what they may or may not have seen. There's even a pair of bumbling Scotland Yard detectives who are (surprise, surprise) actually funny. Overall, Death Walks on High Heels is very well done.

The acting is a notch or two above what I've come to expect in a Giallo. The highlight, at least for me, is Nieves Navarro. She is amazing as Nicole. I didn't think I would ever say this, but I think she might have been capable of challenging Edwige Fenech in my mind as the Queen of the Giallo had she made a few more of these movies. I'm looking forward to checking out more of her work.

As much as I enjoyed Death Walks on High Heels, it's not without its flaws. Chief among them, at least to me, is a "cheat" with respect to one of the murders. I don't want to give anything away, but there is one particularly nasty murder that the killer could not have committed given the circumstances immediately following the murder. Hopefully, with repeat viewings, I can reconcile this point in my mind and just enjoy the movie for what it is.

Finally, and I'm really starting to sound like a shill, NoShame's new DVD is fantastic. I would have never dreamed that a movie like Death Walks on High Heels would look this good. Bravo NoShame!

Reviewed by Coventry 9 / 10

Plot twist to the left, red herring to the right…. Giallo Giallo Giallo!!!

Back in the early seventies, during the absolute most glorious years for the Giallo sub genre, I guess it must have been some sort of intense and obsessive competition between the eminent Italian directors to come up with the most exaggeratedly convoluted plots. These movies distinguish themselves from the other sub genres in horror by continuously misleading the audience when it comes to the revealing the identity of a sadistic and (usually) masked serial killer, who barbarically slaughters gorgeous and preferably naked ladies with sharp & shining weaponry. If the directors really did try to surpass each other with complex plot-structures and far-fetched denouements, then I bet Luciano Ercoli was one of the genuine winners of that game! He only made three Gialli and, even though they're not as famous as the works of Dario Argento or Sergio Martino, his films easily rank among the most twisted and extraordinary genre efforts I've ever seen. Ercoli's movies can be recognized by their awkward and flamboyant titles already. Fans of Italian cult-cinema from the 70's are most likely to be intrigued by titles like "Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion", "Death Walks at Midnight" and – of course – "Death Walks in High Heels". Such appealing titles already hint at eventful crime-stories, and by God does Luciano Ercole ever deliver! "Death Walks in High Heels" is easily my personal favorite of his, as it's a tasteful and well-filled Giallo dish containing all the right ingredients such as graphic murders, beautiful music, suspense and copious amounts of female nudity, demented characters and crazy red herrings. The story opens with the brutal stabbing of a guy with an eye-patch who's fleeing from Paris on the night train. We quickly learn the victim was a notorious criminal who recently stole a valuable loot of diamonds from a bank safe in Paris. When his assailant can't find the diamonds in the luggage, he begins to stalk and threaten the jewel thief's beautiful daughter Nicole, who works as a popular striptease dancer in several Parisian nightclubs. Nicole suspects her drunkard boyfriend to be the culprit and she promptly flees to a little British seaside village with an eye-surgeon she hardly knows. The two enjoy a vivid and highly sexual relationship for a short while, but Nicole's aggressor followed her to England and the death toll rapidly increases. The already fascinating plot of "Death Walks on High Heels" even gets more compelling when a couple of important characters perish and the witty inspectors of Scotland Yard interfere with the investigation.

What a thoroughly engaging and exhilarating crime/thriller! The script doesn't always make sense and I counted at least three major holes/errors in the plot (situations that are pretty much impossible given the explanation during the climax), but "Death Walks in High Heels" is a tremendously entertaining film that you won't mind watching several times without ever getting bored. Luciano Ercoli cleverly sustains a fast pacing as well as a high tension-level, mainly by constantly switching locations, introducing new yet fundamental supportive characters and even implementing insightful flashbacks. The film starts in Paris with only three main characters, yet during the climax in the little English village there suddenly is nearly a dozen people involved in the mystery and several others have already died. Granted, this isn't the most violent Giallo available on the market (although one particular killing sequence is effectively nauseating), but the lack in bloodshed is widely compensated by the insane number of red herrings and ingenious little details to improve the mystery. Ernesto Gastaldi, whose pen literally was a nearly inexhaustible source for Italian cult classics, largely scripted "Death Walks in High Heels" and this also partly explains the film's success. The photography is stunning and extremely stylish, Stelvio Cipriani's score is more than enchanting and – last but not least – the acting performances are very pleasing. Susan Scott is an adequate actress and, moreover, a truly ravishing woman! She's probably the only living female creature who can turn you on simply by eating raw pieces of fish. No kidding! The others (male) actors do a fine job too, including Frank Wolff, Simon Andreu and the always suspicious-looking Luciano Rossi. The absolute best role is for Carlo Gentilli, as the cynic Scotland Yard inspector Baxter. Priority-viewing for the rapidly increasing number of Giallo-fans.

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