Sometimes a person has to wonder why a killer kills the way they do. What drives them to not only murder, but to sign their work with a signature move. Obviously there has to be something wrong with them in the first place, but is it psychosis or fame that makes them sign their kills? One has to imagine that they want to get caught, that on some level they want to be stopped. In Umberto Lenzi’s Eyeball from 1975, the killer not only murders pretty young women, but takes an eye from each of them – a very unique marker if there ever were one and if there is one thing that is blatantly obvious, this killer does not want to be caught.
It is a vicious crime of course, one that the perpetrator begins in earnest once among a bus load of American tourists. There are a few different suspects that the audience is pointed towards including a priest who seems like the obvious choice, but Lenzi never really settles upon one person for very long, keeping up the mystery until the end of his story. While the murders are usually fairly bloody and the removing of the eyes quite gruesome, there is a lightness about the picture, as if Lenzi is having a good time in the filming of it and that feeling is then transferred into the movie itself. It is true that Eyeball is a somewhat average and generic affair, but Lenzi does such a great job at sewing it all together that it becomes extremely entertaining. In addition to all the blood and mystery, it does not hurt that he fills the picture up with good looking women, much like every giallo does, which also provides a good contrast to the ugliness of the violence that takes place.
There is a motive for the killings that take place, though it is sort of thin, but in the end it mattered very little as it was used to simply tie things up. Despite some weaknesses to it all, Lenzi’s camerawork was one of the real highlights, bringing life to the scenery of Barcelona and really making those murders pop. Bruno Nicolai’s music was also one of the better things about the film, though not exactly memorable, but it does compliment the picture quite well. Given what there was to work with, there are no real standout performances from the cast, though they do not necessarily do a bad job, but it adds to the overall mediocrity of the film. Still, Eyeball turned out to be an enjoyable feature where those looking for a little violence and a little blood will no doubt be pleased and those looking for something of a game changer being disappointed. A good film almost all of the right notes, but not a great one.
3 out of 5