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Piero Piccioni — The 10th Victim

Back when there was this thing called the "Gallery of Essentials" the only things that went up were CD's/albums that the poor saps running the WoM website could find distribution outlets to buy from. So the majority of stuff that should've been up there at the time (White Noise, Princess Nicotine, Shalimar etc) wasn't. Well, now that there's no retail connection we're free to try and fill in the gaps. This one, The 10th Victim, is simply fundamental. We regard it as highly as we do Raumpatrouille, but for different reasons.

The film, which is a totally excellent Italian violent romantic sci-fi black comedy from the ’70s, stars Ursulla Andress and of course Marcello Mastriani. The premise is wonderfully current: reality TV. You hunt and kill your opponents one by one, and if you get 10 in a row, you win... Ursulla Andress has killed nine and Mastriani will be her 10th. And of course, American advertizing interferes with the game, creating an opportunity for the outgunned Mastriani to use love and seduction as a strategy for survival. It's the greatest. Pure femme fatale vs. charming snake, cat and mouse, love/hate B-movie color-saturated celluloid ecstacy. There's even a hippie solar cult who weep on the seashore when the sun goes down... what more could you want?

Well, of course, a soundtrack! And as great as the film is, this soundtrack cannot be humbled. It sounds to me like all the musicians were really excited, or perhaps on some kind of drugs; they can all really play, and yet there's something pleasingly disjointed about everything on the CD. The writing and instrumentation is superb, great chords and innovative dissonances — mostly sort of clumsy faux-jazz, but really catchy, with organs and big band brass and electric guitar. And... MINA! Singing in English. As far as I know this is the only place she sang in English... and GOD is it ever great. Murderous women who want to kill men never sounded so...

Well, the record will probably cost you about $200 by now. But after taping it from several different records of varying quality I did get a CD bootleg of this somewhere along the line... someone must have put this out legitimately by now, right?

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