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Review: Antonio Margheriti’s Naked You Die on Dark Sky Films DVD

Not much beyond a vintage trailer and a stills gallery, which is actually not so much a collection of stills but a batch of lobby display cards.


Naked You Die

Perky curves are celebrated in this even more perky early giallo about the somewhat predictable effect a serial killer’s visit has on an all-girl private academy, though the pervy details befitting the genre distinction don’t surface until the film’s last few minutes—and the details of a more gory nature don’t surface at all. Despite the blunt title Naked You Die, in practice it’s a little more Stripped to Your Bra and Panties, You Run and Squeal and Maybe Get Gently Choked to Death As Though Your Trachea Were Made of Butter. Based off a scenario by, in part, Mario Bava, the film is stylishly directed by Antonio Margheriti, who would later contribute to the vomit-licious strain of deuce fare imported from Italy as Anthony M. Dawson (Cannibal Apocalypse, The Last Hunter). Despite his later work, Naked You Die is 100% soft sell. It’s the beginning of a new semester at the St. Hilda Academy, where the student-teacher ratio is almost dead even, which conveniently allows each teacher their choice of students to put the moves on. Most of the schoolgirls are busy lusting after leathery daddy types, so it’s easier to spot the film’s heroine by virtue of her preference for the 30-ish, olive-skinned riding instructor (Mark Damon) who, rather than focusing his attention on getting rid of a spare tire, talks to his romantic conquests in terms of Little Red Riding Hood and other literary allusions that won’t strain their fragile little bubble brains. (Indeed, instead of studying between swims, showers and private, um, riding lessons, the girls are shown trading comic books.) When bodies start turning up in and out of traveling cases, the teachers and girls hopscotch from room to room in a seemingly concentrated attempt to ensure one of them will be isolated at the most inopportune moment. Meanwhile, the perkiest one of all (a would-be mystery novelist, the sort of character who is often told to stop making jokes when she hasn’t said anything remotely funny) puts on her sleuthing cap while the soundtrack blares a knock-off of the theme from “Batman.” Formally, the film’s creaky conceit plays off nicely against the cobwebbed cellars and gothic birdhouses filled with exotic fauna. And if very few characters actually get around to fulfilling the title’s promise of violated nudity, at least the film’s (predictable) final twist provides the sort of gender disorder befitting naughty-minded giallo.


It’s not a perfect print, but the colors are frequently surprising in their boldness, and there doesn’t appear to be an excessive amount of dirt and debris (though it’s most definitely there). The biggest problem with the widescreen transfer is that the focus seems a little soft, as though edge enhancement had gone overboard and resulted in a haloed image. The sound is shallow, but the driving basslines and piercing harpsichord of the espionage-tinged score blast more than necessary.


Not much beyond a vintage trailer and a stills gallery (which is actually not so much a collection of stills but a batch of lobby display cards).


Naked is as naked dies.

Cast: Mark Damon, Eleonora Brown, Michael Rennie, Sally Smith, Patrizia Valturri, Ludmila Lvova, Luciano Pigozzi, Franco De Rosa Director: Antonio Margheriti Screenwriter: Franco Bottari, Antonio Margheriti Distributor: Dark Sky Films Running Time: 98 min Rating: NR Year: 1968 Release Date: April 24, 2007 Buy: Video

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