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us title: The Sister of Ursula
italian title: La sorella di Ursula
year: 1978
director: Enzo Milioni
composer: Mimi Uva
full details: IMDB
overall score: 70

Bottom Line: Skip It
Lacks any redeeming value. A waste of time.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

It had to happen eventually. After reviewing 35 films within a genre so obscure that its peak period only lasted 5 years, I was bound to come across a movie that is just plain bad. Many "serious" film critics would argue that just about all the Gialli from the classic period are "bad", but Enzo Milioni's The Sister of Ursula is not even a "so bad, it's good" film. It's just really, really bad.

Released in 1978, long after Argento and Martino had moved on to other ideas, Ursula is a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of the thriller genre without a single inspiring frame save for the few cliff shots from the seaside hotel. And while most of the other reviews out there seem to favor the main theme of the soundtrack, I found it to be a nauseating ear worm that popped up in all the wrong places.

As the score indicates, Ursula follows the typical Giallo format: A black-gloved killer, driven by a past psychological event is murdering young naked females immediately after coitus. The action takes place in an urban seaside town with the main characters as tourists and plenty of suspects. There are car chases, spiral staircases, J&B bottles and of course, tons of nudity.

What's ironic about this film is that the sex and nudity is actually what ruins the film for me. Clearly inspired by the success of late 1970's soft-core porn, the sex scenes in Ursula account for over 15 minutes of the film's 94 minute running time. These scenes function more as an unwelcome interruption rather than the erotic breaks from the action that they were meant to be. Most Gialli that fall into the trashy category succeed by incorporating just the right amount of titillation and voyeurism, but Ursula goes way beyond that and I must admit that I reached for the fast forward button numerous times.

The film's resolution is convoluted even by Giallo standards and by the time the murderer and motive is revealed there's very little gas left in the films tank to deliver a memorable ending.  So unless you're porn historian, I cannot recommend this film. If you're looking for an entertainingly trashy Giallo with gratuitous nudity and sex check out Strip Nude for Your Killer, Case of the Bloody Iris or Eyeball instead.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 45/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Motivation: Psychological Trauma/Revenge10 points
Avoid Capture: Acciental Death/Suicide10 points
Standards : 18/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Italian Location3 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Urban Location4 points
Signatures : 7/10
Chase scene1 point
Death from Falling1 point
Gay/Lesbian1 point
Foreigner1 point
J&B1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Spiral Stairs1 point
Total Points : 70/100



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Published: 2014-09-15