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us title: The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
italian title: L'assassino ha riservato nove poltrone
year: 1974
director: Giuseppe Bennati
composer: Carlo Savina
full details: IMDB
overall score: 77

Bottom Line: Entertaining
Nothing ground breaking here, but a fun time nonetheless.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Try to imagine if The House on Haunted Hill had a baby with Five Dolls for an August Moon and you'll begin to get a sense of what The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is like. The film has the unique distinction of being one of the only Gialli whose resolution legitimately relies on the supernatural.

Directed as a "one-and-done" Giallo by Guiseppe Bennati with a compelling (if not slightly Morricone plagiarized) soundtrack by Carlo Savina, Killer Reserved is a fun and often suspenseful spin on the Ten Little Indians motif with a splash of Gothic horror added in for good measure. The entirety of the film's events transpire in an extremely creepy operatic theater that provides a palatable air of claustrophobia and plenty of dark and dingy corridors for the characters to walk through.

The film features a likable (in a "love to hate" sort of way) cast who spend most of the film staring into mirrors and simultaneously undressing and insulting each other. But things start to get a little wacky once Kim is stabbed "for real" in the middle of her Romeo and Juliet death scene and the deranged masked killer who runs wildly through hallways makes his/her first appearance.

The plot details are a bit far fetched, but the film does a great job in forcing the viewer to remain skeptical when it comes to the supernatural elements at play here. With 12 minutes left in the running time and all the loose ends tied up, the film takes a turn away from the logical characteristics of the typical Giallo resolution and literally transports the viewer down into the depths of a classic horror ending. 

Despite these thematic diversions, the film scored well on the Giallo Score with the majority of points lost due to its solitary location and lack of the normal genre tropes that typically accompany a police investigation.

I would have enjoyed more Gialli from director Bennati but sadly this is his only entry into the genre and the last film of his career. Killer Reserved is a fun Giallo that is definitely enhanced by a dark room and a thunderstorm outside. The recently released region B blu ray of the film presents a crisp and visually detailed version that is worth seeking out.

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Published: 2016-05-17