Editor’s Notes: Scissors and Requiescant are out on their respective formats October 13th.
Scissors (Kino Lorber) is a psychological thriller. Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct) plays Angie Anderson, a beautiful, emotionally fragile woman living alone in a big city. When she’s attacked in her apartment building, she manages to thwart her assailant by stabbing him with a pair of scissors. He vows to return. Angie’s emotional state gradually deteriorates as she’s overwhelmed by fears real and imagined. A handsome neighbor (Steve Railsback, The Stunt Man) and an esteemed psychologist (Ronny Cox, Deliverance) seem to want to help, but someone is leading Angie into a nightmare of madness and terror and a confrontation with her worst, long-repressed fears.
Though the acting is sub-par and many elements of the plot are far-fetched. this low-budget picture works because of its strangeness. Director Frank De Felitta owes much to Hitchcock and De Palma. As the plot progresses, it gets weirder and more bizarre, carving out an identity all its own. The sense of pervasive madness becomes an unsettling element that keeps the viewer intrigued. It’s tough to give up on Scissors despite its numerous flaws. It’s just too odd. One has to see how the plot plays out.
Stone hadn’t yet hit the big time when she made this film in 1991 and her acting isn’t always up to the demands of the story, but she forges ahead, giving it her best. Railsback plays twin brothers and the trick effects aren’t at all bad. One twin is kind and thoughtful, the other dark and mysterious — sort of a Jekyll and Hyde. Watching the R-rated Scissors is like entering a surreal universe for two hours. It’s by no means a great film, but it is fascinating in a looney, twisted way.
There are no bonus features on the Blu-ray release.
Requiescant (Arrow) is a 1967 Italian Western whose title is Latin for “Rest in Peace.” Made during the heyday of Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns, this picture never received the attention or acclaim of the Leone films. As a boy, Requiescant is raised by a priest to be a pacifist after Confederates, commanded by sadistic Officer George Bellow Ferguson (Mark Damon, Black Sabbath, The Fall of the House of Usher), massacre his family. It turns out the boy has a natural talent as a sharpshooter. This proficiency will lead to a bloody, unexpected confrontation with his past. Lou Castel (Fists in the Pocket, A Bullet For General) stars as the adult Requiescant, Franco Citti (The Godfather) as Ferguson’s henchman, and Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini (Salo) in a rare acting role as a revolutionary priest. The film is directed by Carlo Lizzani and has a score by Riz Ortolani (Mondo Cane).
Also known as “Kill and Prey,” the film starts well but soon gets bogged down with its political message. Speeches about aristocrats and the proletarian classes and several scenes used as metaphors for contemporary issues reflect the director’s interest in leftist causes. Despite being occasionally longwinded, the film contains all the traditional elements of the spaghetti Western: violence, vengeance, the evil villain, and an often murky sense of morality. The audacity and fearlessness of the screenplay may have served as model for such later Hollywood revenge Westerns as Hang ‘Em High and True Grit.
Bonus extras on the 2-disc Blu-ray release include an illustrated collector’s booklet containing new writing on the film; reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork; optional English subtitles; archive interview with director Carlo Lizzani; and a new interview with Lou Castel.