Sergio Martino’s twisted 1972 giallo starring Anita Strindberg and Edwige Fenech

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key is one of the defining gialli of its early Seventies time with its rich style and excellent cast. It is a spectacularly sleazy giallo directed by Sergio Martino loosely based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Black Cat. If you’ve never seen an Italian giallo, this 1972 psycho-sexual thriller works as a perfect introduction with its over-the-top characters and demented storytelling.

This is a lurid slasher with memorable direction and performances. A degenerate writer with an attachment to his dead mother beats his battered wife into submission. A rash of grisly murders point to him being the killer. If you like 70s exploitation thrillers, this is must-see viewing.

Oliviero Rouvigny (Luigi Pistilli) and his wife Irene (Anita Strindberg) are not a happy couple at all. Their excessive, decadent lifestyle includes wild orgies and drug parties. Oliviero is a failed writer and alcoholic, practically torturing his battered wife with cruel, vicious behavior. He regularly calls her a whore and has been known to lock her up in a closet for hours. Irene provides an alibi for Oliviero when one of his mistresses, a former student, is found brutally murdered. Irene lives in fear of Oliviero and despite his cruel treatment saves the writer from being a suspect.

Oliviero’s young, fetching niece Floriana (Edwige Fenech) soon arrives at their villa and turns Oliviero’s life upside down. Both Irene and Oliviero lust after the beautiful Floriana, learning all their devious secrets in the process. One of cinema’s most twisted love triangles soon becomes a murder plot. As all of this happening, more mysterious murders keep occurring that may or may not be related to Oliviero. Did I mention Oliviero’s black cat named Satan? It is a potent stew of giallo elements done in a very memorable manner.

Edwige Fenech proves why she would become queen of the giallos…

The leads are absolutely wonderful in their roles. Edwige Fenech proves why she would become queen of the giallos with a mesmerizing turn as the seductive, manipulative Floriana. Anita Strindberg is perfect as Oliviero’s battered wife, striking back the only way she knows how by viciously killing his cat. Pistilli plays the sleazy, drunken Oliviero with an authentic intensity.

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key is a wonderfully crafted proto slasher that could have only come from Italy with excellent direction and a strong score from Bruno Nicolai. This is an unusual Italian giallo in terms of story, turning accepted conventions around with a brutal, twisting narrative. That may be why it has held up so well, decades after release. Director Sergio Martino is not as familiar to Americans as Bava or Argento but his five films in the early Seventies are critical to gialli history. This is a cult classic in every sense of the word.

Movie ★★★★★

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key Blu-ray screen shot 7

Arrow Video delivers another fantastic vintage film transfer on Blu-ray for this movie directed by Sergio Martino. The film-like transfer is a new 2K restoration from the original camera negative for the 1972 Italian production. Beautiful levels of details and fine grain mark the crisp 1080P video’s 1.85:1 presentation. The 96-minute main feature is encoded in a high-quality AVC video encode on a BD-50.

The unfiltered transfer reveals an incredible amount of resolution. The camera negative is in immaculate condition from beginning to end. The excellent cinematography has extraordinary depth and focus, becoming slightly softer in the last act.

Arrow Video’s new 2K scans continue to produce fabulous image harvests of vintage film, flawlessly replicating the original grain structure. The film has remarkable contrast and color saturation in razor-sharp glory. The black levels are solid with nice shadow delineation.

Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key looks glorious, making this limited edition Arrow Video set a must-purchase for fans. Rarely do Italian films of any vintage get this kind of lavish, videophile treatment.

Video ★★★★☆

Arrow Video provides the original Italian and English soundtracks in mono audio, each presented in 1.0 DTS-HD MA soundtracks. Both dubs have solid fidelity, though the Italian dub sounds imminently more natural for the movie. The English dub has a couple of awkward voices for the characters and loses much of the film’s edge. This is one case where I highly recommend the Italian soundtrack for an Italian giallo. This is mono sound from the early Seventies but the mix has decent range and fine tonality.

New, optional English subs are provided for the Italian soundtrack and optional English SDH subtitles are available on the English dub soundtrack.

Audio ★★★☆☆

Arrow Video has paired Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have The Key with Fulci’s The Black Cat in a limited edition box set, Edgar Allen Poe’s Black Cats: Two Adaptations. This is a lavish set with an 80-page book and the packaging itself is nearly worth the price of admission alone. The special features for Fulci’s film can be seen in my review for it.

The Limited Edition 80-page booklet contains new articles on the films and a reprint of Poe’s original story.

Through the Keyhole: An Interview with Sergio Martino (34:42 in HD) – In the director’s native Italian with English subtitles, the director recounts working with the leads in this extended interview. This is a new interview shot fairly recently but the elderly director is pretty good at remembering details.

Unveiling the Vice (23:07 in HD) – Making-of retrospective featuring interviews with Martino, star Edwige Fenech and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi. Fenech is a little shy in her statements, Martino and Gastaldi have to carry this retrospective that cuts between the three interviews with clips.

Dolls of Flesh and Blood (29:04 in HD) – A visual essay by Michael Mackenzie exploring the director’s unique contributions to the giallo genre. I found this an excellent capsule summary of Martino’s films but far too many spoilers are revealed for casual viewers.

The Strange Vice of Ms Fenech (29:42 in HD) – Film historian Justin Harries on the actress’ prolific career. Almost her entire body of work is covered from her earliest roles.

Eli Roth on Your Vice (9:17 in HD) – The horror director shares his thoughts on the film as a fan. This is a very enthusiastic piece highlighting the film’s strengths and what he ripped off from it in his own films.

Extras ★★★★☆

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.


Click on the images below for full resolution screen captures taken directly from the Blu-ray. Images have not been altered in any way during the process.

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