Morbidly Beautiful

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Controversial Italian filmmaker Ruggero Deodato delivers a sexy, erotic crime thriller with a lush score and plenty of eye candy.

A police inspector investigates a possible murder and is led around in circles by three unhinged sisters. Let’s dig into 1993’s THE WASHING MACHINE, directed by Ruggero Deodato!

As I See It

I still remember that feeling I got in my stomach the first time I saw Cannibal Holocaust. Something about the lack of foley when the indigenous tribe’s blades were striking the bodies of the pseudo-filmmakers made it more devastating.

It was Riz Ortolani’s score that really did me in, though. Like some twisted form of the game “Operation”, his high pitch tones and whimsical yet sickening score made me flinch with every beat.

I’ve shown that film to a handful of people — mostly to shock them — but I don’t actually think I’ve ever re-watched it myself. It still sticks with me as if I’ve watched it annually.

Even if some of the stunts that Deodato pulled were egregious explorations of a director’s power, here’s the test to see if he’s good enough to get me again.
…and he did.

This time, he wasn’t massacring animals on celluloid. Instead, he was giving us an erotic fever dream.

It played out as if it was the ultimate male fantasy come to life, where you can have your pick of suitors or have them all. Deodato toys with reality, showing us a murder only to wash it away with alcohol the next day. We never know what’s a vision and what’s real.

The inspector investigating the possible murder is seduced every which way by the sisters, who constantly point fingers at each other while they weasel their way into his trousers.

All of this, and I haven’t even mentioned how amazing Claudio Simonetti’s theme song is!

Famous Faces

All four principal actors have stayed active in film. So, if you’re more familiar with Italian cinema and its stars than me (which wouldn’t take much), you may recognize them from some titles.

Of Gratuitous Nature

We’re packed wall to wall with sex and nudity. The sex scenes have an Italian passion added to them that seems to try to stimulate some natural and realistic sexual encounters.

It doesn’t play like that, perhaps because of the dubbing, but I can appreciate the effort, and I always try to keep an UN-American mind when watching a foreign film. It’s easy for me to turn my “degenerate” on.


The three “sisters” are hyper-sexual, and the inspector is a really delicate and handsome-looking fella. But of all the bunch, it’s Maria (Ilaria Borrelli) who sticks out for me (as she did for the inspector). She seems like the least trouble of them all.

Ripe for a Remake

You know, it actually could stand to be remade. I’m not usually inspired to remake anything unless I see some other angle that hadn’t been explored — that could stay true to the original voice. But this one could be a lot of fun with some big-name actors who would certainly lighten the sex and nudity in the script.


No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

UK-based Shameless Films released a region-restricted DVD that can be tracked down on the secondary market and even has a “Tin Version,” which looks like the front of a washer. You can rent it on Amazon.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 2.5

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