Director: Roberto Bianchi Montero
Code Red Releasing

Cheating wives shiver in fear when THE SLASHER IS THE SEX MANIAC on Blu-ray from Code Red Releasing.

The police have no leads for the murder of a beautiful woman except for photographs of her in flagrante delicto with a man whose face has been scratched out of them by the same razor that inflicted postmortem mutilation on her. After the body of Serena (Femi Benussi, THE KILLER MUST KILL AGAIN) is found with photographs of her infidelity, head detective Capuana (Farley Granger, AMUCK) believes that the killer travels in the victims' high society social circle in which the women would do anything to avoid a scandal and the men would be equally unforthcoming lest they be publically revealed as cuckolds. Lawyer Franco (Silvano Tranquilli, THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK) attempts to send his own cheating wife (Annabella Incontrera, BLACK BELLY OF THE TARANTULA) away until the heat dies down, but his own daughter (Angela Covello, TORSO) witnesses the murder of his own lover (Susan Scott, DEATH WALKS AT MIDNIGHT). Coroner Casali (Chris Avram, BAY OF BLOOD) suggests that the killer is either impotent or a homosexual(!), but there is also his own assistant Gastone (Luciano Rossi, DEATH SMILES AT MURDER) who makes an art of washing away all traces of sin from the bodies he prepares for burial and Serena's lover Gianni (Andrea Scotti, WEREWOLF WOMAN) who has already sought legal counsel. Pressured to solve the case, Capuana arrests an unhinged publicity seeker (Ivano Staccioli, THE DEVIL WITH SEVEN FACES) to ferret out the killer who retaliates but threatening Capuana's own wife (Sylva Koscina, LISA AND THE DEVIL) and suggesting that the too has been unfaithful.

Titled in Italy REVELATIONS OF A SEXUAL MANIAC TO A POLICE CAPTAIN, THE SLASHER IS THE SEX MANIAC is a slick giallo from a C-list director in jobbing Roberto Bianchi Montero (CALIGULA'S HOT NIGHTS) with an B-list supporting cast that also includes Krista Nell (THE RED HEADED CORPSE) and Jessica Dublin (ISLAND OF DEATH), many of whom are required to do little more than strip and be killed. On the surface, the scenario appears misogynistic but the hypocritical choice of this "moral avenger of the middle class" to target only the unfaithful women and the motivation for the crimes suggests at least a psychological impotence on the part of the killer that is uncomfortably shared by the hero. The killings are fairly bloody and mostly well-staged – particularly a gag involving a fogged mirror – and the scoring of Giorgio Gaslini (NIGHT OF THE DEVILS) is surely better than the film deserves with romantic main theme vocalized by Edda dell'Orso and some jazzy riffs underscoring suspense and sex scenes.

Released theatrically by William Mishkin as THE SLASHER IS A SEX MANIAC but better known for Mishkin's infamous but lost reissue version PENETRATION with hardcore inserts, the film went to video from Monterey Home Video as THE SLASHER, although the onscreen title remained the longer version in a version running roughly eighty-three minutes while the longer export version was available in widescreen on Japanese VHS under the title SO SWEET, SO DEAD. The first digital restoration was carried out on DVD by Camera Obscura, resorting to video inserts for a few snippets. Code Red's 1080p24 MPEG-4 AVC 1.85:1 widescreen is derived from a new scan of the export version with color correction done here in the states. The opening and end credits are in English but some Italian newspaper headlines are subtitled on the screen (blame the original optically-printed subtitles for misspelling "lover"). Clarity and detail are great while colors are vibrant but more naturalistic than the Japanese transfer. While the day for night tinting of the beach murder is still unconvincing, it is not as murky as the tape's tinting with a nice grayish blue while the train compartment murder is richly blue giallo-style. Some specs pop up here and there but the one diagonal scratch that could not be cleaned up was also evident in the earlier transfer. The English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mono track has some hiss but dialogue is clear and Gaslini's score comes through nicely. The only extras are a video trailer announced by the narrator as THE SLASHER but bearing the full American title as well as trailers for ALMOST HUMAN under the title THE DEATH DEALER (2:51), 2019: AFTER THE FALL OF NEW YORK (0:53), HANDS OF STEEL (2:21), CRY OF A PROSTITUTE (0:33), and THE GREAT ALLIGATOR (2:52). (Eric Cotenas)