I caught THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS on Amazon Prime recently and...wow...friggin strange. hehehehe
(Note: The film wasn't 100% in English - snapping into a few lines of Italian from time to time. Captions helped.)
We have a classic giallo setup here. A group of late night, post dinner party folks drive out to a theater owned by one of the folks at the party. They open up the theater and stroll in as one of the guests speaks to the fact that the theater is very old...with a history.
It's not long before things start going wrong. Large items drop from the ceiling, shadowy figures roam around backstage, and we start to see that the friends at the party all have things they hate about each other. When people start dying - in classic gialli style and following a series of illustrations that are part of the theater's dark past - they need to figure out who's behind the murderous acts...and who that strange man was that was talking about how old the theater was. It seems that no one knows who he was.
As things roll along, we get bits and pieces of the mystery, but we're never really given enough to put everything together until the very end. And, what an end it was. Pretty dern dark and strange. The film also has one of the most odd and creepy villains I've seen - a crazy masked figure with crazy hair and eyebrows.
I enjoyed the film, though it's on my C LIST for giallo films - entertaining and fun, but very loose on plot and acting. It did have some amazing and dark visuals. The films poster art is one of the more grim moments and it's rather striking.
There are several upsides with the movie. We have the usual nude females as well as some grand "tough guy" moments that always make me laugh. When we really get rolling, the story becomes rather interesting, going from standard slasher to truly mysterious happenings. The theater setting is interesting which is good because the whole film is based there and we see A LOT of it. It never becomes a bore, however. There are several spots showcased high and low. And, as I've said, the murderous activities are well done.
My biggest downside with the film is the fact that you won't really be able to figure out the mystery and certain parts of the plot get muddy and silly from time to time. Looking back on it, I'm still not 100% sure what the heck was going on even after seeing it all play out! heheheh It was forgivable, though. It was still a fun watch.
I liked Giuseppe Bennati's direction. Things seemed very kinetic and interesting more often than not. I want to see more of his work and I'm very excited to see if I can find his MARCOVALDO TV series - a book I love. (In English, of course.) :)
Films like BAY OF BLOOD, DEEP RED, SUSPIRIA, and TENEBRE are still my go to, A LIST giallo films, but THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS was a fun watch for sure. Check it.