Christian (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend are taking a walk on a deserted beach when they discover a woman's body lying. A closer look proves that she's alive. The next day Christian ... See full summary »
As a Child Mariale witnesses her father kill her mother. Years later, she spends her life with little contact from the outside world living in a gloomy castle. One day, however Mariale ... See full summary »
Valentina, a beautiful fashion model, takes an experimental drug as part of a scientific experiment. While influenced by the drug, Valentina has a vision of a young woman being brutally ... See full summary »
A young newlywed couple from America returns to Geneva to visit Marcel's home town. Once there he is informed of his former lover's suicide and in turn is subjected to threats that accuse ... See full summary »
A pharmacist is murdered, and a woman happens to see the culprit leave the scene. She soon finds herself being stalked by the killer, and when her boyfriend tries to discover who the ... See full summary »
I'm a big fan of Giallo, and The Dead Are Alive has been one of my main targets for some time now. With that in mind, I've got to say that the film is something of a disappointment; but there's more than enough good elements to ensure that Armando Crispino's film is a more than passable Giallo attempt, and it's certainly one of the more unique entries in the genre. The film forsakes many of the common Giallo trademarks such as a black gloved killer and numerous sex scenes in favour of a supernatural angle and a plot that focuses on mystery rather than murder; although the convoluted plot that makes some Giallo and ruins others is very much in place. The central character is Jason; an alcoholic archaeologist forced to turn detective when he discovers an ancient Etruscan tomb and two people are murdered in the same way that is depicted on some ancient drawings inside the tomb, which haven't been seen by human eyes in over two thousand years. The line-up of red herrings is vast, and includes a composer, his fire-scarred wife, a sadistic torturer of insects and a homosexual choreographer. But of course, Jason is the prime suspect...
I've seen a lot of Giallo's that are happy to merely wallow in the common genre elements, so it is very much to director Armando Crispino's credit that this Giallo breaks rules and develops it's own personality resulting from that. The burial ground central locale provides a good setting for this film, as it's dirty and gritty and suits the mysterious atmosphere. The plot does get a little too convoluted at times, and the film suffers from a few instances where there isn't a lot going on. The first murder takes place only minutes into the film; and it's a brutal affair as a couple are clubbed to death. However, there's not a lot in the way of bloodshed after that first murder; and the mystery plot isn't always enough of a distraction. The acting is a little flat, with Alex Cord not really convincing as an archaeologist, and the fact that the film lacks an established Giallo heroine is a negative point. The supernatural elements are well implemented at first, and it soon becomes obvious the killer is flesh and blood. The fact that the most obvious red herring is the murderer means that the ending isn't a surprise; but as far as atmosphere and absurdity are concerned, The Dead Are Alive is definitely a Giallo highlight.
5 of 10 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?