Fulci’s first transition from Italian comedy flicks into thriller/horror came with his 1969 release, Perversion Story a.k.a. One on Top of the Other. Though classified as an early giallo by some, I wouldn’t categorize it as such. The film is a slow-paced mystery with plenty of exploitation. A simple plot synopsis would be as follows: the main character, Henry, finds himself charged with murder after the death of his wife when a very large insurance claim is at stake. He begins dating a stripper who looks shockingly similar to his late wife while still seeing his mistress. The three become the center of scandal and suspicion while Henry’s trial is underway.
For fans of Fulci, this is nothing like his later horror films, but for die-hards it is one that should be added to the list. Unlike later Fulci films, there is a complete lack of gore, which also may disappoint many fans. And though it is purely my opinion, this film is not a giallo. I’m a bit baffled at what factors would give anyone reason to classify Perversion Story as a giallo, so I assume that anyone watching this movie expecting a classic Italian giallo will be disappointed. Instead approach the film expecting a well told classic mystery.
The first half of the film is slow-moving character development while the true suspense doesn’t really surface until later on. Once it finally gets rolling, the tension and the twists make for a very interesting watch. However, I must admit I found myself bored with the film until things got moving. So to those that feel the same way the the first half of the film, stick it out because the twists are worth it.