Christian Bauman (Robert Hoffman) and his girlfriend, Xenia (Maria Pia Conte), find what they think is a dead body on the beach. The body turns out to be a young woman named Barbara (Suzy Kendall) who says she must have fainted. Barbara disappears but leaves behind a flask with the word Tucania on it. Tucania turns out to be a boat moored in a nearby harbor. Christian and Xenia go to the boat and find a party on board. Also on board is the elusive Barbara. The boat belongs to a man named Alex (Mario Erpichini). Alex tells Christian that Barbara belongs to him.
Christian abandons his girlfriend and takes off with Barbara. They go to a motel where they plan on having sex. While in the bathroom, Christian is attacked by a man (Adolfo Lastretti). Christian shoots the stranger. Alex shows up and takes Barbara and Christian back to his boat. When Christian realizes he left his neck chain back at the motel, he goes back to get it. When he gets to the motel room, he finds that the body of the man he thought he killed is gone.
Barbara convinces Christian to run away. They end up at the home of a friend of Barbara’s who she says is away. The friend lives in a refurbished lighthouse. While Christian tries to decide what to do they are interrupted by a couple, Malcolm (Guido Alberti) and Clorinda (Monica Monet), who claims they have rented the lighthouse.
From then on Christian isn’t sure what is real and what isn’t. As more strange things begin to happen, Christian begins to doubt his own sanity, and for good reason.
“Spasmo” was released in 1974 and was directed by Umberto Lenzi. It is an Italian thriller mystery and a giallo.
This is one of those movies that you have no idea what is going on until the very end. I have heard them called WTF movies. In this case it applies. It is a strange and twisted plot where random snippets that seem to have no meaning do eventually coalesce. When you do get to the end you are able to piece together the random images and how they relate to the entire story. You may have to watch it a second time to really understand what happened. There are some red herrings but, for the most part, they do have an ultimate purpose in the film.
The mannequin fetish images that are inserted here and there were director Lenzi’s idea. They do add some eeriness to the movie, as well as more confusion, that is only understood, I think, at the very end of the film.
The complicated plot can make the movie a little tedious. If you can stick with it to the end, you will be rewarded with some aha moments, but you do have to sit through it to get to that point.