Gentle readers, it is I, the Duke, and I simply must make a confession: I do not know what Mario Bava looks like. That's right, I've never seen a picture of him. You exclaim with horror, "Duke! You have a shrine dedicated to Bava in your house! You have 7 pairs of "Mario Bava Does It Mod" thong underwear! How could you not know what this man looks like?!"
I would answer you thusly: I don't have to look, because I already know. In my mind's eye, Mario Bava is a graying old letch, who wears camel-hair smoking jackets at all times, and usually can be seen smoking a pipe. His black eyes can disintegrate panties at 100 paces, and his weathered hands are at all times either cupping a breast or a glass of 50 year old port. (sometimes both) Mario Bava is my hero, and not simply because he made passionate movies with a passion, but because he has bedded every single hot Eurobabe who ever walked the planet between 1960 and 1980, usually three at a time.
Let us examine, shall we, one of Bava's lesser seen films, the great ultra-mod 1970's murder mystery "5 Dolls for an August Moon". 5 Dolls indeed! I sat agog at the sheer amount of super hot Eurobabe flesh on display throughout this picture. Bava went all out on casting this one, and his attention to detail with regards to smoking hot busty broads must once again be applauded.
First, let's set the scene. The film takes place entirely on an island, ostensibly somewhere in the Mediterranean. 4 couples have come to stay at the home of the extremely horny and mostly ugly George Stark and his babe of a wife Jill. First we have Nick, who likes to affect blue sunglasses, and his wife Marie, played by the Vicar's and everyone else's favorite Eurobabe Edwige Fenech. Next up is Jack and his hot wife Peggy, and finally Professor Fritz and his lesbian wannabe wife Trudy.
The final piece of the puzzle is the smoking hot, holy-shit-I-hope-she's-18 Isabel, a blue-eyed, blonde bombshell that no doubt spent most of her time during filming inside Bava's trailer. Isabel belongs to no one that I can discern, and simply is. She becomes important later. First, we have a party to attend!
The movie opens with what you would assume all parties in 1970 were like: mod furniture that includes crazy lamps, silly chairs shaped like eggs, vases shellacked with weird colors, and people sitting around dressed in jackets and sweaters, sipping drinks and not talking. Everyone is doing this but Marie, who has the boogie in her butt and isn't afraid to show it. Perhaps I should say the boogie is in her breasts, as she quickly gyrates out of her dress down to a bustier and skirt and begins shimmying around the room as Bava quickly zooms the camera in and out repeatedly, Wayne's World style.
George gets up and cuts a rug with her briefly, before he gets the bright idea to play a parlor game. This game involves tying Marie up to a coffee table made from actual drift wood and then each guest taking a knife, I suppose to simulate stabbing her in sacrifice to the god Kraal, which George apparently made up on the spot. Suddenly the lights go out, and when they come back on it appears Marie is stabbed for real! Only, it's a joke, perpetrated by whom we never really know, except Marie is somehow in on it. Disjointed happenings like this become the norm in this movie rather quickly.
It seem Fritz is the target of this little get-together. George, Nick, and Jack are all trying to buy Fritz's secret scientific formula, which we finally find out is nothing more than a new industrial resin. WTF? I gaped at this revelation. Couldn't have been a new non-nutritive cereal varnish, or something you could sprinkle on your lawn to keep gypsies away (note that the Duke will pay vast sums for this). It was just a lame industrial resin.
At any rate, Fritz is offered $1 million from each of the men, but he refuses. Why he refuses is never quite clear, perhaps he's just holding out for more. This makes Jack, Nick, and George quite angry, but the are resolute in their agreement to strip Fritz of his secret formula post haste.
Meanwhile, Nick's wife Marie is off sleeping with Jacques the "houseboy". After making out on a speeding boat (seriously, no one was driving... some people are more brave than the Duke), Marie goes to meet up with Jacques for even more hanky of the panky later that night. Upon arriving, she finds Jacques dead via knife in the back. She runs down the beach in horror, only to finally stop, give a little stretch and a sigh, and then return to the house, not telling anyone about Jacques.
Later, someone apparently dumped Jacques body in the water, because it washes up on shore to the horror of Jill, who promptly tells everyone else. Attempts to reach the mainland fail, so the guys drag Jacques into the deep freeze, wrap him in plastic, and hang him up like a side of beef. What else were they supposed to do, pray tell?! Everyone retires to the main room, where Nick confesses that death makes him feel dirty and promptly washes his hands with J&B! I found this to be supremely cool, and will employ it during my day-to-day life beginning immediately.
Marie confesses to Nick that she slept with Jacques. Instead of outrage, Nick asks her to do the same with the Professor in hopes of scoring his formula. She tries this, wearing a hot number consisting of a red bra and panties, all the while laying on one of those round rotating beds (seriously, what's the point of those anyway?), but Fritz is an oak that will not bend. In fact, Fritz burns his formula papers. Why isn't clear, but I suppose he doesn't want them to fall into the wrong hands.
Meanwhile, Trudy starts making lesbonic innuendo towards Jill, George's wife. Unfortunately this doesn't go ANYWHERE and I give Bava a momentary frown because of this. The Professor decides to take a walk on the beach, when Isabel suddenly shoots him! Trudy and Jill come running, find the body, and go to get help. While they are gone, Isabel drags the body off to somewhere, we're not sure.
At this point it looks like Isabel is the rabid killer. It makes sense, but then it doesn't. Actually, this whole movie makes very little sense. It's like Bava watched "10 Little Indians" and shamelessly ripped it off, only he left out the parts that make sense. Back at the house, everyone suspects Trudy is the killer. Nick tries to slap her, only she grabs his hand and flips him over, Karate Kid style!
Meanwhile, Jack is sexing his wife Peggy, who walks out on the back porch while Jack is washing the love stink off his nethers. Jack gets out of the shower and goes to check on her, only she's been shot in the head! Elsewhere, the others discover Marie sexily stabbed and tied to a tree, dead! This really gets everyone going, the paranoia kicking into overdrive.
Even more bizarrely, George's wife is found dead in her bath of an apparent suicide. This causes everyone left to gather in the great room, where the guys play chess while Trudy makes an audio recording saying who is left and that one of them is a killer. Everyone gets into a fight, and finally Jack reveals himself as the killer of most everyone, according to him, except for the Professor.
Jack goes to get some microfilm that is hidden in the ring on someone's finger, at this point the plot is so messed up I lost count of what was going on. Somehow Trudy is in on it with Jack, they double cross each other and basically shoot each other inside the deep freeze. Only Isabel is left alive. She gathers up the $1 million checks, and leaves.
We flash-forward to later and Isabel, wearing obviously nicer clothes, is walking into a prison. Inside the prison is... The Professor! He's alive, though somehow in jail?! Isabel reveals that she "shot" him with a tranq dart instead of a bullet. I guess somehow the Professor is blamed for all the murder, though how isn't explained. In fact, nothing at all is explained. The movie ends with the Professor in jail and Isabel riding off in a Rolls. Fin.
Despite the WTF-ness of the plot, this movie is almost worth watching for one reason: Babes. Specifically, babes of the European set. Collect them all, I say. Edwige is put on display a bit, but sadly not enough in my opinion. Bava missed a lot of opportunity to display the goods, of all the women for that matter, but sadly it just wasn't enough.
In the end, I was mildly disappointed with this movie. It did have a lot going for it. Kooky 70's furniture and lingo. Sexy women on an island. Dead bodies piling up in a deep freeze. Sadly, the plot holes coupled with the obviously lack of extreme nudity, not to mention the lesbian tension that goes nowhere, just adds up to 1 Thumb Up I'm afraid. 2 Thumbs Up if you like 70's mod furniture.