Macabre…ish Horror Review: Eyeball
Eyeball, 1975/ 1 hr 31 min
Italian: Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetro (Red Cats in a Glass Maze)
A group of American tourists board a tour bus for a long European trip, first stop is Barcelona. The guide is a jokester and pranks his customers at their stops. The first one, a woman is stabbed by an unseen attacker, she was left on the ground, missing one of her eyes.
Meanwhile, philanderer, Mark Burton (John Richardson), is having marital issues pursues a woman he’s been cheating with who is also his secretary, Paulette Stone (Martine Brochard), to Barcelona. Unfortunately, some of the other guests on the tour knows his wife, Alma (Marta May).
At the next stop, Barcelona’s ‘Coney Island’ it’s raining but it doesn’t stop the tourists from enjoying it. Until, once again, a girl, Peggy (Olga Montes), is killed, this time on a ride and she too is missing her left eyeball. In her hand, she holds a toy spider that the tour guide used to scare them earlier.
The inspector (José María Blanco) believes the killer must be one of the group, which they protest but he does take the tour guide in for questioning.
Later on in their hotel room, Naiba (Ines Pellegrini) has a jealous confrontation with Lisa (Mirta Miller) that ends when Lisa slaps her. Everyone else is uneasy too.
Mark also calls the clinic where his wife should be and finds, she never checked in. So he calls home to Burlington, Vt but no one is home. Paulette tries to put him at ease but you can tell he wonders if his wife is in Barcelona. Then he gets a message telling him his wife is waiting for him at the Hotel Presidente hotel and she’s check in under her maiden name.
He goes to the suite and though the shower is on, it seems to be empty. And he finds a knife of the floor with dried blood on it. Then the phone rings but no one is on the line.
Later, at lunch with Paulette, he’s withdrawn and they argue about where he went and he storms off.
A local woman is killed in the area while tending her pigs and she is also missing an eye, she falls over in the sty. Just before this happened, the priest, who is also a part of the tour group. He tried talking to her and giving her money but she ignored him.
At this point, a few guys are looking suspicious. Especially one with a scratch on his hand, which he got after harassing a girl in a mini skirt. The inspector returns with news of her murder. Gail (Silvia Solar) is suspicious and points the finger at Paulette who was seen cleaning mud off her shoes.
Mark quickly returns to the hotel to see hus wife but is told she already checked out and is heading back to New York. He goes to the airline just to find out she canceled her flight. Then he runs into Lisa there, who is seeing off The Randalls (Richard Kolin and Olga Pehar), who lost their daughter, Peggy. He shows her a photo of his wife and asks her to keep an eye out for her. And someone is watching them.
Mark finally talks to Paulette about his marital problems and there was a killer on the loose, who killed a neighbor, Terry Moon. He says he came home to find Alma unconscious on the ground, a bloody knife in one hand and an eyeball near the other. He cleaned up. But a man was arrested for the murder. And he always suspected his wife, now he believes she’s doing it again in Barcelona.
Later that night, someone in a raincoat, with a knife, sneaks into Lisa’s room, stabs her and searches her belongings. Naiba walks in on before the killer is done but they get away. Mark gets to Naiba first.
Everyone searches the grounds and they find a bloody raincoat. The inspector arrives and questions everyone. Jenny (Verónica Miriel) is asked to try on the raincoat because she arrived just as the culprit gets away. He is informed that they all got standard red raincoats provided by the tour company. They are ordered to turn over their passports until the case is solved.
Back on the tour bus, Jenny finds a roll of film and the priest assumes it belonged to Lisa and takes it.
The inspector receives correspondence from the American Embassy and it’s bad news for Mark. But Mark is brainstorming with Paulette about this situation and he decided to go to the inspector.
Late that evening, the priest tries to meet Naiba at the hospital but disappears before the nurse returns. They call the police. Meanwhile, a raincoat clap person is in Naiba’s room.
Then the killer fled just as the priest returns for his case, he left, before. But it still looks suspicious.
Jenny wanders off to skinny dip in the pool and it’s her turn. She’s stabbed but keeps her eyes and is still alive in the pool. And once again the killer gets away. This is the second attack in 4 hours. And the cops think Mark is the culprit.
- Spoiler Alert
The next day, Naiba receives the photos from Lisa’s film and goes searching for Reverend Bronson (George Rigaud). He apparently lost his daughter Martha months ago and he admires young women with her same eye color. Naiba finds him and another girl, dead at the castle. She then spots Paulette.
She’s bent over the girl with a knife, she plucks out her own left eye and then the girl’s. Naiba screams before she’s done.
She says they always drove her crazy and the girl her cost her, her own eye, was never punished. She had the brightest blue eyes. And so did her victims.
As for Mark’s wife, this whole time she was in Florida with her mother.
This giallo slasher was written and directed by Umberto Lenzi. This was pretty good, with the mysterious who-done-it air about it. At some point, almost everyone looked like the killer. This movie was also at times from the POV of the killer where you see nothing but gloved hands, sometimes holding a knife. It’s not gory, the kills and eyeball scenes are not graphic, this feels more like a mystery than anything.