Virginia has been psychic since she was a child and, in a vision, saw her mother commit suicide by jumping off a cliff. Now an adult Virginia (Jennifer O’Neill) is married to a rich Italian businessman Francesco Ducci (Gianni Garko). Francesco doesn’t believe in psychics and prefers that Jennifer not talk about her visions. Virginia drops Francesco off at the airport for a business trip and heads back home. On the way back she has a vision of a room, a man with a limp, a broken mirror, someone being walled up, a dead old woman and several other disjointed pictures.
Virginia has been seeing her friend, Luca Fattori (Marc Porel), about dealing with her visions. Luca is a parapsychologist and researcher in psychic phenomenon. She tells him about her vision but is no closer to resolving who the woman is and what really happened.
Francesco owns an old abandoned mansion. Since he is out of the country she decides to renovate the place as a surprise for when he returns. Walking through the mansion Virginia realizes that one of the rooms looks like a room in her vision. This was the room where she saw the woman walled up. Finding the wall and a pick from the basement she chips at the wall until she finds the fingers of a skeleton sticking out. She calls the police.
The police uncover the skeleton of a young woman and manage to identify who she is but it is not the woman from Virginia’s visions. The woman is a 25 year old that Francesco had a relationship with before he married Virginia. Things are not looking good for Francesco. Virginia decides that she needs to make sure that the police find the man with the limp from her vision. With the help of Luca and his secretary, Bruna (Jenny Tamburi), Virginia begins investigating the case to try to prove that her husband had nothing to do with the young woman’s death. Her investigation leads her to Emilio Rospini (Gabriele Ferzetti), a respected wealthy man. He is the man she saw in her visions.
The problem Virginia is having is that her visions are coming to her bit by bit and they are not enough to flesh out all the events. Eventually Luca determines that what she is seeing is not the events that happened to the young woman in the past but events that will happen in the future. The events she is seeing have not happened yet. There will be a murder in the future but she doesn’t know exactly when or who the murdered woman is and she still is not sure who the murderer is.
“Murder to the Tune of Seven Black Notes” AKA “Sette note in nero” AKA “Seven notes in Black” AKA “The Psychic” was released in 1977 and was directed by Lucio Fulci. It is an Italian horror mystery thriller and a giallo.
What makes this movie one of the best gialli is the way it unfolds. You are given clues all through the film but they are sometimes jumbled together. Virginia’s visions sometimes incorporate more than one scene. You see bits of several separate events and unscrambling them to determine what bit belongs to which event is a slow process. After the stunning beginning suspense is built up throughout the film until the final gotcha moment. The killer’s undoing is when the title comes in wrapping it all up.
Unlike most gialli, the movie was filmed in English regardless of the actors’ nationalities. The film was then dubbed into Italian. Even the actors that were Italian had their lines dubbed.
Sometime in the 90’s Quinton Tarantino had planned on doing a remake of the film with Bridget Fonda but, so far, it hasn’t come to fruition. He did use the seven note motif in “Kill Bill Vol 1” 2003.