Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972)


The second film in the deluxe boxed Black Cat set from Arrow Films is a giallo with a most wonderful title. Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (1972), might just be the longest title of a giallo that has ever existed. I’m not a scholar on the subject but it’s at least got to be in the running.

Loosely based on the Black Cat by Poe (that’s why it’s in the set), Your Vice is about an abusive novelist who hasn’t written in ages. This artistic impotence has turned him into a savage alcoholic and he spends his days boozing and abusing his wife both verbally and physically. The first scene in the film we find him holding court in his palatial home surrounded by hippies as he forces his wife to drink from a bowl filled with partially consumed drinks “donated” from around the room. This is a giallo so really no one cares much and after the debacle soon everyone is singing and one girl dances naked. It was the 70’s, what do you expect? Soon we find out that the husband has been cheating on the wife too and with any old strumpet lying around, but one particular strumpet is blackmailing him. She’s found dead and he doesn’t have an alibi and was blind drunk at the time and honestly can’t remember if he killed her or not. We don’t know either. From there the bodies start to pile up and the novelist is suspect #1. This is a giallo however and it couldn’t be that simple. To spoil the rest would be wrong but rest assured, this one is a hoot to watch.

Director Sergio Martino has 67 directing credits on including Torso, 2019: After The Fall of New York, Mountain of the Cannibal God, and Hands of Steel among other genre favorite high notes and low notes. Fear not dear reader, Vice is not one of his hilarious stinkers but one of his triumphs. The film stars Italian favorites Ivan Rassimov (who was in the recently reviewed Contamination) and Edwige Fenech (whom we get to see in the buff) and features a very appropriate and mysterious soundtrack by Bruno Nicolai, who also did the music for a few Jess Franco movies and The Case of the Bloody Iris, All the Colors of the Dark, and The Case of the Scorpion’s Tale among others.

Your Vice is a fun twisty giallo that hits all the hallmarks. Beautiful women, bloody deaths, a whodunit, great soundtrack, twists, and that eurohorror vibe that you can’t get anywhere else. Of the two films in the set, I feel that this is the more successful. Black Cat didn’t feel like Fulci was giving his all to the project but this film has Martino firing on all cylinders. The film itself looks fantastic and has never looked better. I wouldn’t expect anything less from Arrow. There’s an interview with Sergio Martino, a mini doc about his contributions to the giallo genre, trailers, optional italian and english tracks, and more stuffed into the package to make your day.