Vinegar Syndrome corrupts the minds of giallo fans with their latest Blu-ray release of the 1973 Spanish-produced gem “The Corruption of Chris Miller”.
If there’s a sub genre of horror that I am dedicated to finding more about, it is giallo. Famously, the term giallo refers to Italian murder mysteries that have certain trademarks including: a black gloved killer, a mystery killer but multiple suspects, exceptionally bloody kill scenes that usually involve a knife, glass from a window, or other very sharp objects that reflect light in an artful way, and a twist conclusion.
My knowledge of giallo is limited, for the most part, to Italian productions.
Vinegar Syndrome aims to expand the knowledge of giallo fans by releasing a Spanish produced giallo that had been one of the hardest films for fans to see — THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER, directed by acclaimed Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bardem.
THE FUNDAMENTALS: A LOOK AT THE FILM
Living in an isolated country house, Chris Miller (Marisol) and her stepmother Ruth (Jean Seberg) have a peaceful, if not stressful existence together. Chris’ father has mysteriously disappeared at some point in their past. Chris maintains that her father will return and is trying to get a message to her, while Ruth maintains they should get on with their lives and forget the father.
Chris is convinced that Ruth is hiding messages from her father. To complicate matters further, Chris is haunted by a rape, which we see unfold in flashback, and only Ruth can calm her down during times she’s reliving the horrific event. Unfortunately for Chris, Ruth has other motives when Chris is at her most vulnerable.
Into this mix a drifter named Barney (Barry Stokes) arrives at the house, begging for a place to stay and offers his services to the women as a handyman. Around the same time as Barney’s appearance at the country estate, a sickle-wielding killer has arrived in the area and is stacking up an impressive body count.
THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER has all the giallo trademarks, though it trades the black gloves for a black rain slicker. As the story plays out, plenty of clues are left pointing to multiple suspects as the true killer, and when you think you’ve figured out who it is, another clue is presented that points to another suspect. Part sexual psycho drama and murder mystery, THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER provides plenty of twists and turns until the killer is finally revealed.
Despite the movie’s lurid title that teases at an EMMANUEL type of movie, the tawdry bits are only hinted at. But what director Juan Antonio Bardem gives giallo fans is a tight, well-told murder mystery with plenty of blood splashed on the walls to satisfy any gorehound.
THE FEATURES: A LOOK AT THE BLU-RAY RELEASE
Having not seen the movie in any previous format, I cannot speak to how the film looks compared to previous home video or theatrical releases. The movie looks crisp, and the colors are sharp and bright. This does not look like a movie released nearly 50 years ago.
The career retrospective interview with Juan Antonio Bardem is of particular interest to fans interested in the Spanish film industry, especially during Francisco Franco’s military dictatorship of Spain. Bardem also discusses what it was like releasing movies that were decidedly anti-Franco during Franco’s tenure as dictator. Bardem also delves into issues facing filmmakers when Spain turned into a democratic country with fewer constraints on speech.
The short film about actress Jean Seberg runs about 12 minutes and is a complimentary companion to the Bardem interview. The film focuses on Seberg’s blacklisting in America and Hollywood due to alleged ties to the Black Panthers. At the age of 40, Jean Seberg died of an apparent suicide, and six days after her body was found, the FBI admitted to purposely defaming her character during the Hoover era.
Vinegar Syndrome has released a film that giallo fans will be quickly adding to their library of Blu-rays. Not only is THE CORRUPTION OF CHRIS MILLER an excellent giallo film, but the backstories of Juan Antonio Bardem and Jean Seberg are musts for film buffs looking to expand their knowledge of European film history.
- Newly scanned and restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative
- Archival career retrospective interview with director Juan Antonio Bardem
- “Jean Seberg: Movie Star” – a short film exploring the tragic life of Jean Seberg
- English and Spanish sound mixes
- Alternate Spanish ending
- Alternate Spanish insert shot
- Alternate Spanish title sequence
- Original theatrical trailer
- Reversible cover artwork
- English SDH subtitles
- DVD/Blu-ray Combo