Phantom of Death (Italian: Un delitto poco comune, lit.'An Uncommon Crime' is a 1988 Italian giallo film directed by Ruggero Deodato. It starred Michael York, Donald Pleasence and Edwige Fenech.

Phantom of Death
Directed byRuggero Deodato
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Vincenzo Mannino
  • Gianfranco Clerici[1]
Produced byPiettro Innocenzi[1]
CinematographyGiorgio Di Battista[1]
Edited byDaniele Alabiso[1]
Music byPino Donaggio[1]
  • Globe Film
  • Tandem Cinematografica[1]
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)

Plot Edit

Robert Dominici is a pianist who suffers from a genetic condition that causes him to physically age at a rapid pace and also to go mad. Distraught by his condition, Dominici goes on a killing spree. Inspector Datti sets off to catch him. Meanwhile, Dominici targets the Inspector's daughter, Gloria.

Cast Edit

Production Edit

Phantom of Death had a script developed in the early 1980s by Gianfranco Clerici and Vincenzo Mannino which later became the basis for the script for Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper (1982).[2] According to Clerici, the two were offended by how their script was changed and continued to edit it before giving it to director Ruggero Deodato.[3] Parts of the story that were used in The New York Ripper remain in the film, such as the killer who disguises their voice and taunts the police.[4]

Deodato has stated that "I did Phantom of Death because it was based on a true element – the idea of growing old [...] And I got to work with Michael York and Donald Pleasence."[5]

On the film as a whole, he commented that "some parts look like an 'A' production. But it seemed too long in the final part." He added that Edwige Fenech was miscast, and was only included because the producer wanted her in the film.[5]

Release Edit

The film was released in 1988.[2][6] According to film critic and historian Roberto Curti, the film has "passable box-office" results.[7] The film was released in Germany on home video as Off Balance - Der Tod wartest in Venedig and in Holland and Belgium as an English-language version as Off Balance.[4] In the United States, it was released by Vidmark as Phantom of Death.[4] It has received further DVD releases on home video by Shameless as Phantom of Death.[8]

Reception Edit

From contemporary reviews, "Lor." of Variety commented that the film had "little suspense".[1] The review noted that York had "solid thesping which engenders some pathos for the central figure" and added that Pino Donaggio's score was "lush".[1]

In his book Blood & Black Lace (1999), dedicated to Italian horror and sex films, Adrian Luther Smith described the film as an "unexpectedly thoughtful production", and a "austere horror/giallo hybrid", finding it having a strong cast and "some choice moments of gore."[4] Curti wrote in his book Italian Giallo in Film and Television that the film was "somewhat slow" but was "graced by the director's capable technique".[7]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lor. 1991.
  2. ^ a b Curti 2022, p. 377.
  3. ^ Curti 2022, p. 377-378.
  4. ^ a b c d Luther Smith 1999, p. 89.
  5. ^ a b McAllister, Matt (11 August 2009). "Ruggero Deodato: The Cannibal King Interviews - Total Sci-Fi". Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  6. ^ Curti 2022, p. 9.
  7. ^ a b Curti 2022, p. 378.
  8. ^ "Phantom of Death (1988)". AllMovie. Retrieved March 11, 2023.

Sources Edit

  • Curti, Roberto (2022). Italian Giallo in Film and Television. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-8248-8.
  • Luther Smith, Adrian (1999). Blood & Black Lace. Stray Cat Publishing. ISBN 0-9533261-1-X.
  • Lor. (1991). Variety's Film Reviews 1989-1990. Vol. 21. R. R. Bowker. There are no page numbers in this book. This entry is found under the header "January 18, 1989". ISBN 0-8352-3089-9.

External links Edit