Color, 1975, 97 mins. 58 secs.
Directed by Andrea Bianchi
Starring Nino Castelnuovo, Edwige Fenech, Femi Benussi, Solvi Stubing, Erna Schurer
Arrow Video (Blu-ray) (US/UK RA/RB HD), Blue Underground (Blu-ray & DVD) (US R0 NTSC), Shameless (UK R0 PAL), X-Rated Kult (Germany R0 PAL) / WS (2.35:1) (16:9)
Tacky, profane, and crammed with gratuitous skin from start to finish, Strip Nude for Your Killer was directed by genre-hopper Andrea Bianchi, whose career spans all the way from Burial Ground to hardcore porn. Fortunately this outing is a bit slicker than usual thanks to the visual sheen of cinematographer Franco Delli Colli, whose colorful, shadowy scope compositions manage to make this look like a first-class affair even when busty, naked women are being groped by hairy, obese men in baggy underwear. Once the boyish star of films like The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and Camille 2000, Castelnuovo is virtually unrecognizable here as the slimy "hero" whose chauvinistic treatment of women is so ludicrous it can't even be classified as offensive. Meanwhile the women all perform their duties as required by the film, though as usual Fenech (with a very short hairstyle) injects more charm and pluck into her role than anyone probably expected. Underrated composer Berto Pisano also contributes a fun, funky score that sorely deserves a CD release. Giallo fans may be disappointed in the thriller aspects here; the storyline's not that involving and any bloodshed consists mainly of a few unconvincing splashes of red paint and the occasional body part flopping onto the ground. Still, most will be having too much fun to notice. Will you respect yourself in the morning after watching it? Probably not, but the ride's certainly fun while it lasts.
For years after its release, most viewers had to seek this film out in unsubtitled Italian bootleg tapes though an English dub did circulate throughout Europe briefly in the '70s. The English track first appeared on DVD via Germany's X-Rated Kult label in an adequate transfer, though any curious parties were better served by Blue Underground's attractive DVD which sports a much cleaner English audio track and a steadier anamorphic transfer. Unlike the phony video-generated "trailer" on the German DVD, the Blue Underground disc also sports a genuine international trailer that's far more entertaining, with a ridiculous Marquis De Sade quote thrown in for good measure. The only other extra is a 12-minute featurette, "Strip Nude for Your Giallo," in which co-writer Massimo Felisatti and actress/victim Solvi Stubing talk about the making of the film. (Note that the featurette is in Italian, and the English subtitles wouldn't activate on some DVD players on the first pressing of the disc.) It's a fun but brief short, complete with a look at Stubing's extra-giallo career and coverage of the filmmaking scene at the time. A subsequent DVD followed in the UK from Shameless, uncut and apparently taken from the same English-language source with a handful of their usual trailers as extras.
Most people probably wouldn't have pegged this as a likely title for a Blu-ray upgrade in the format's early days ahead of pivotal thrillers by directors like Argento, Bava, and Fulci, but sure enough, Blue Underground decided to deck it out in high style as a 2012 release anyway. This one was a little tricky to evaluate visually since the standard def versions all had a blown-out, grainy quality and dull black levels; the Blu-ray features smoother gradations during brightly lit scenes (faces don't bloom into pure white anymore), though it still has that odd overlit, chalky quality. Detail increases substantially across the board (especially those shots of Stubing's fur coat, which now looks like it's actually made of animal hair), and while the dark stalking scenes still don't look dynamic by a long shot, at least you can finally tell what's going on all of the time. Colors are also more intense and have a pleasant mid-'70s gloss. Not surprisingly, there's also what appears to be a few passes of digital filtering; there's still film grain, but the film has been scrubbed and doesn't look quite natural.
While the image quality is a happy albeit imperfect jump forward compared to the DVD, the real value here lies on the audio end. The Blu-ray thankfully contains not only the English dubbed track (with optional subtitles in English, Spanish, and French) but also the Italian language track with an optional English subtitle translation from that version as well. The comparisons are fascinating, to say the least, and both are presented in DTS-HD mono. While Carlo sounds like a nasally Catskills dinner theater comedian in the English version, he has a much more natural, deep voice in the Italian one which also contains far more incidental dialogue that was simply never recorded for the English track. Much of the dialogue also differs quite drastically in meaning between the two, and while it's probably a stretch to say the Italian version with subtitles makes the film more "respectable," at least it goes some way to taking it at least semi-seriously as a thriller with a bit of literacy and wit about it. On the other hand, the English dub is still just stupid, goofy fun. It's worth noting that in either audio version, the final scene remains one of the most unexpected, bizarre wrap ups in Euro cinema history; exactly what the filmmakers were going for there is anyone's guess, but you'll have trouble scooping your jaw off the floor after seeing it for the first time. Both the featurette and English trailer have been carried over here, along with a newly added Italian trailer (essentially the same content-wise but with a much wilder title treatment) and an HD poster and stills gallery, which is about as lurid as you'd expect.
In 2019, the film passed over to Arrow Video who outfitted it with a far more elaborate special edition Blu-ray for the U.S. and U.K. markets. The transfer, touted as a "brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative," looks excellent with a more organic appearance than the prior Blu-ray while adding a significant amount of extra info on the bottom and left of the frame. Blacks are also deeper and more satisfying, giving the film a more atmospheric look than it's had in the past. As usual for the label's giallo releases you have the option of watching the Italian or English versions (LPCM mono either way) with their respective opening and closing titles, with English translated or English SDH subtitles offered as well. In an interesting touch, both versions can also be watched with the opening sequence either in its familiar heavy blue tint or untinted with natural color. (Minor note: on laptop playback for this reviewer, either option defaulted to untinted for some reason.) An entertaining new audio commentary with Adrian J. Smith and David Flint who acknowledge the film's inherent exploitation factors while contextualizing it within the trend of the mid-'70s giallo. It also more than earns its scholar stripes with observations like "There's an inference that the murderer has done something 'round the back end there." The Kat Ellinger video essay "Sex and Death with a Smile" (23m2s) is a deft primer on the giallo and sex comedy queen's rise to glory during the height of Italy's exploitation golden age and took over the mantle of Carroll Baker in grand style. It's also full of interesting biographical info that will make you look at some of her titles in a different light. "A Good Man for the Murders" (14m32s) is a new, fine-tuned edit of an earlier Castelnuovo interview that opens with ah, ahem, interesting choice of a clip from this film to kick things off before going into his background from Lucio Fulci's Massacre Time onward including this film, complete with a saucy story involving Bianchi's directions and a broken zipper. "The Blonde Salamander" (18m30s) is a new interview with pipe-smoking actress Erna Schurer who covers most of her career including a bit about this film (she and Bianchi didn't really hit it off) and her tendency to go for "edgy" films. Assistant director Daniele Sangiorgi turns up next in "The Art of Helping" (44m18s) going over some of his professional highlights like The Pacifist before going into this film, his fondness for Bianchi, and colorful little tales from the set during a tight, frantic shooting schedule under the supervision of the Simonetti family producing the film. He also touches on some of his later projects, particularly The Gestapo's Last Orgy and a crazy bit La cerimonia dei sensi. Finally, "Jack of All Trades" (21m50s) with actor and production manager Tino Polenghi talks some more about the Simonettis (who sound a wee bit less than ethical), the physical challenges of shooting the film's weirdest sex scene, the more extreme nature of the Nazisploitation films he did, and the personalities of the people involved with this film. The Italian and English trailers are also included along with an image gallery, reversible sleeve options (including a new Graham Humphreys design), and in the first pressing only, a liner notes booklet by Rachael Nisbet.
ARROW VIDEO (Blu-ray)
BLUE UNDERGROUND (Blu-ray)