Giallos are a great diversion. During their heyday, I believe there was nothing better, a crime or mystery thriller with sex and horror thrown into the mix. My favorite Giallo is Murder Mansion (1971), but Eyeball has a charm all its own! What a great title and poster. A red cloaked killer stealing the eyeballs of their victims on a euro tour. Yep, that’s fun.
We join a group of Americans on a euro tour in Spain. We get the usual group of deviants which include a sleazy husband Mark (John Richardson) hooking up with his secretary, Paulette (Martine Brochard), a priest (Georges Rigaud of Horror Express), and the requisite lesbian couple (Mirta Miller and Ines Pellegrini) among others.
Mark is in love with Paulette. His wife has been ill for some time and all they do is fight. Paulette doesn’t want to be the “other woman” (who does?), and is a little stand offish with Paul when he shows up in Spain to see her. This doesn’t go unnoticed by others in the group as they are all from Burlington. The secret is out!
After the group is detained by the murder of one of the models, Paul calls the hospital where his wife Alma (Marta May), is supposed to be only to find that she never checked in. Paul switches into stalker mode, determined to find his wife and we soon learn that it’s not to dump her. It turns out that Alma, was found at the scene of an earlier crime with blade and eyeball in hand. Yes, I know, too easy.
As tourists and townies are knocked off, it is clean that the killer may be among them as the red parka worn by the killer matches the ones handed out to the tour group. It’s all not quite what it seems and that’s one of the great things about Giallo films. Everyone and anyone is a suspect and for good reason. Everyone is a little shiesty.
Umberto Lenzi crafted a thriller that is more style over substance but in this case I feel it works due to the subject matter. The killer’s M.O. is enticing, and we follow the plot for what it’s worth, after all, these are the most unlikable people in Spain. One of the tricks that Lenzi uses in this film is the tour motif. The scenery is always changing; keeping us interested visually in this crazy story. It’s a slasher before it’s time and a fun mystery that may keep you guessing. Check out Eyeball if you get the chance.