Directed by: Piero Schivazappa
Actors: Philippe Leroy, Dagmar Lassander, Lorenza Guerrieri
Language: Italian (English dub)
Also known as: Femina ridens, Brazil Os Profissionais do Sadismo, Le duo de la mort, Gioco d’amore, gioco di morte, The Frightened Woman, The Laughing Woman
Description: A young woman agrees to the interview on the sterilization of men with Dr. Sayer. Dr. invites her to dinner, pours a soporific, drove to the Villa and for the first time tries to play their perverted fantasies, inspired by the children’s trauma on a real woman.
Review: This is an excellent and little known erotic S&M thriller. Lot’s of great late-60’s bizarro imagery, several fun plot twists and turns that keep the pace going through to the climax. It’s easy to see why Radley Metzger took one look at this and decided to distribute it.
FEMINA RIDENS aka: THE FRIGHTENED WOMAN, is – in my opinion – a late-sixites (1969) candidate for
inspiration towards the style of the sevenites Giallo films. Other than Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace,
can anyone tell me of another Italian film that has the same kind of lurid colourful visuals, mysogonostic scenes, style, and crazy plot twists as these two films? I can’t think of any.
All the Giallo imagery is there, intensely inspiring, there are two sequences in the film; one that
Cronenberg was obviously inspired to use in Scanners; and another that Kubrick borrowed for EYES WIDE SHUT.
FEMINA RIDENS is an absolute gem of sixties Italian film-making, completely erratic, bizarre, crazy and
I’m not going to spoil the plot. The least you know about the film, the more you’ll enjoy it. I’ll let the screenshots do the talking: