The Third Eye/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
In the same year that he took the lead, and what is arguably his most famous role, in Sergio Corbucci’s ‘Django’ Italian cult movie superstar Franco Nero also appeared in this obscure and perverse psycho thriller. Fans of the 1979 spaghetti bloodbath ‘Buio Omega’ (aka ‘Beyond The Darkness’) will be intrigued to find that Joe D'Amato’s gruesome sleazefest borrows it’s plot entirely from ‘The Third Eye’.
Mino (Nero) and Laura (Blanc) are engaged to be married however Mino’s mother, the Countess Alberti, does not approve. While Mino is busy indulging his passion for amateur taxidermy his mother’s maid Marta is cutting the brakes on Laura’s car. Having watched his fiancée plummet off a cliff into a lake Mino returns home only to find that his dear old mom is also dead. The police are calling it an accident but we know different because we’ve seen Marta and the Countess arguing over who is more deserving of the young man’s affection. This climaxed with mother taking a tumble down a flight of stairs and Marta violently throttling the old bird for good measure.
Mino is understandably unhinged by the double death of his nearest and dearest and starts to suffer haunting hallucinations. Drowning his sorrows in a jazz club he fixates on an exotic dancer. She sure has an eye-catching way with a wiggle and is soon stripping off back at Villa Alberti for a private show. Slipping into bed with Mino she is shocked to discover that they’re not alone; his fiancée’s corpse is lying in wait for a necrophilic menage-a-trois.
Having choked the dancer to death Mino is soon begging Marta to help him cover up the crime and she calmly suggests that they dissolve the body in acid. But Mino’s mad passion doesn’t stop at one victim and he’s soon out prowling the streets for a new plaything. With the corpses piling up Marta threatens to leave and only agrees to stay on the condition that she and Mino get married!!
Matters are complicated further when Laura’s (identical) sister Daniella turns up. Obviously unaware that Mino has Laura’s body tucked in his bed Daniella says she wants to recover her sister’s corpse from the lake where her car crashed and have a proper funeral ceremony. Accepting an invitation to stay at the villa, will Daniella fall foul of Mino’s psycho sexual outbursts or will Marta see off any threat to her own perverse idea of marital bliss?
‘The Third Eye’ is sexy, stylish, sick and seductive and although not as visually explicit as D’Amato’s re-make it certainly does not pull any punches regarding the perverse sexual elements of the story. The crumbling villa and its eccentric inhabitants; the weird family relationships and the threat of madness; all serve to summon up the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe.
The character of Mino; the sexually repressed mother’s boy with a passion for taxidermy, is obviously modelled on Norman Bates but it’s great to see Franco Nero playing a psychopath. He manages to be both pitifully tragic and comically loony in about equal measure.
Special mention must go to Erica Blanc who is excellent as sisters Laura and Daniella; the kind of dual role usually reserved in Italian horror films for Barbara Steele. Blanc starred in some great European horror movies in the 60’s and 70’s giving particularly strong performances in Umberto Lenzi’s ‘So Sweet, So Perverse’ and as the seductive succubus in the demented ‘The Devil’s Nightmare’.
‘The Third Eye’ is a great juicy slice of melodramatic Italian gothic horror and deserves to stand next to the best examples of the genre as produced by the likes of Riccardo Freda and Antonio Margheriti.
Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.