(aka. PATHOS - SEGRETA INQUIETUDINE)
CAST: Virigina Hey, Carlo Mucari, Gioia Scola, Gerard Darmon, Dario
Parisini, Teagan Clive, Eva Grimaldi, Carin McDonald, Patrick King, Giorgio
Cerioni, Kid Creole, Jo Ann Smith, Valentine Demy, Loredanna Guerra, Marisa
Parra, Eugenio Cartoni, Arnaldo Cosimi
DIRECTOR: Piccio Raffanini
PRODUCER: Piccio Raffanini
Titanus Distribuzione S.P.A / Reteitalia
RUNNING TIME: 91 min. 55 seconds
VIDEO SOURCE: Imperial Entertainment Corp.
Now here's a rather kinky giallo experience. Straight out of the late
eighties 'mangle the European model' mélange, comes this above average, but
generally forgotten trendy for the time entry. Handled by one time only
director Piccio Raffanini with a certain voyeuristic approach, OBSESSION: A
TASTE FOR FEAR is heavy in sensual tone and rich in acting talent.
Ultimately though, it may be a mixed bag for some.
Set in the modern (well, modern circa 1987) world of risky, frisky high
fashion and fetishistic passion, photo model shoots, the film in some ways
feels like a steamy magazine session in itself. Virgina Hey (ROAD WARRIOR
'82, THE LIVING DAYLIGHTS '87) is British mega-babe Diane; a strong,
go-getting, uninhibited photographer/video artist making her way up in the
fast running profession. Diane's shoots border more on softcore teasings and
sprinklings of S&M though than just the typical posing. Sometimes it's as
though her "strong encouragment" of the tantilizing models is an inner plea
to see her own sexual fantasies acted out. She occasionally might take it a
step further too, bedding the odd beauty who captures more than the eye of
her camera lens.
At first, OBSESSION (originally in Italy as PATHOS - SEGRETA INQUIETUDINE)
begins as stylish sexploitation, but the viewer knows the seed has been
planted for something a little darker, as Virginia Hey's voice-over
narration ten minutes in would suggest - "...as it turned out, that evening
was different, and my life would never be the same again". The evening she
refers to is a ritzy, but taboo-laced happening her suave ex-hubby George
(Gerard Darmon) has invited her to with hopes of Diane seducing a big shot
George is trying to land a major business deal with. Accompanied by his
contently submissive sexual guinea pig, Pearl (Eva Grimaldi), George and
Diane are in line for a night of hot dancing, animalistic encounters, high
class dope snorting...and a buff, brick, blazing blonde goddess named Teagan
Diane's last top model just didn't cut it, and the fiesty artisté couldn't
handle someone taking her themes and ideas (which include her assistant
running a handgun down to the girl's crotch, dressed in a stocking) as
anything but serious. "Her fear's not coming through...no suffering. The
whole performance sucks", Diane's techie nerd chum Paul (Dario Parisini)
says of the now fired bimbo. Her introduction to Teagan by the sleazily
charming George is just the right chance meeting she had hoped for. Now in
this amazingly fit, toned temptress Diane has a new focus for her ambitious
photography projects...and a new "friend" for sweaty sleepovers as well.
It seems as though one disturbed dark soul however, is not so accepting of
Diane's involvment with her curvy and chiseled-bodied girls. When the latest
magnificent muse, Teagan, receives a mysterious phone call offering work on
the side for quite a different type of shoot, she isn't hesitant to accept.
She unfortunately didn't consider leather straps, ropes, and knives as part
of the package. The following day, concern falls over Diane and her team
when Teagan fails to turn up for her scheduled session. Instead, a Lt.
Arnold (Carlo Mucari) arrives at the studios with the alarming news of her
body being found in a trash heap. Also recovered is what the lieutenant
refers to as a "video disc" (something we'd of course come to know today as
a DVD), which along with Diane's involvement in knowing Teagan, also has Lt.
Arnold looking at these freaky camera junkies and their accquaintences as
When Diane and the rest of her hip entourage with slithering ex, George,
Pearl, and the probing Lt. Arnold start up the disc, they aren't totally
prepared for a viewing of shiny snuff. Before them on a monitor is the
impressively strong blonde venus tightly fastened down to a chair in leather
and heavy rope like a helpless damsel. An obviously terribly troubled person
sets the stage for something grim in the foreground, revealing a dangerously
sharp blade and a sign on display, dedicated 'To the One I Love'. "Are
knives standard in bondage games?", the Lieutenant asks with somewhat of a
disgusted sarcasm. George responds in defense of his territory - "You know
damn well they aren't". Arnold doesn't care for these kind of folks though
and has a tough time buying a damn thing they say. "But they could be", he
replies to George. "Just another form of penetration...the ultimate!".
Whatever the rules, the killer had none, and somebody who messily murdered
Teagan on camera is running loose.
PATHOS is a film with a pretty odd atmosphere, one slightly dirtier and more
seedy than the others in the small batch of model-by-numbers stalkers tossed
at gialli hounds by newer, less experienced film directors from the music
video and fashion worlds, like Raffanini and Dario Piana. It's futuristic
approach is somewhat of an original diversion, with all the latest state of
the art gadgets of the time set on display for an "in-crowd" approach to the
characters, seen in everything from the video equipment, to Diane's
autmomated mannequins and her way out there vehicle (the Machimoto Prototype
designed by an Italian who worked on cars for Volkswagen and Fiat). Things
go way too science-ficiton though when Carlo Mucari tails the killer and
blasts what can only be described as a laser gun, in the middle of the
The characters are played well, but as is the case in a good chunk of
Italian gialli, they aren't developed enough, although we get more of a
sense of what kind of people they are than in others of it's nature.
Virginia Hey is very erotic in the role of Diane, seeming to want a little
piece of all who attract her - among those, the Lieutenant. The chemistry
between her and Carlo Mucari (TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE '88) is good and
evidently there, even though Mucari's character is supposed to be resisting
her advances. Mucari is sort of typecast here, playing a very similar role
to the same year's ARABELLA, THE BLACK ANGEL (also '87) - only in that film
he's much more of a slime. Gioia Scola (TABLOID CRIME '87, TOO BEAUTIFUL TO
DIE '88) looks beautiful as always, maybe even more-so in PATHOS. Here she
hangs off of Diane's every word and movement as her devoted assistant
Valerie, who also lusts after her love and easily finds herself jealous of
Gerard Darmon (DIVA '82, BETTY BLUE '86), a great talent who worked
extensively with French director Jean-Jacques Beinex, is the most believable
in the part of George, really coming across as a playboy with perverse
tastes and casual habits. There's an amusing in-joke in there for some in
reference to one of the Darmon/Beinex films when Gioia Scola tries to get
Hey to stay home, saying, "Aren't you staying in tonight? I thought we were
going to watch Betty Blue together".
Darmon has Eva Grimaldi (BLACK COBRA '87, RAT MAN '88), who's completely
mouth-watering here, wrapped around his finger the entire film. Teagan Clive
(INTERZONE' 87, SINBAD OF THE SEVEN SEAS '89) is also hard to resist here,
coming out as both a powerful female figure, and also looking incredibly hot
in her own right, posing for Virgina Hey and rolling around in the British
beauty's bed before her twisted fate catches up to her. Patrick King, a
relatively unknown non-actor, is OK as club stud John, who's less concerned
with former associate Teagan's well-being, and more geared for action.
"Wanna do a porno gig, the three of us?", he asks right off the hop upon
meeting Diane, through her latest post-Teagan model, Kim, played by black
doll Carin McDonald (E ARRIVATO MIO FRATELLO '85). Also among the cameo's,
look for musician Kid Creole, who appears briefly during the party sequence,
and then again as Virginia Hey's bookie. Creole, who would appear again with
Eva Grimaldi in 1992's CATTIVE RAGAZZE, also contributed some of the film's
score (as well as Grace Jones). Italian SS film bad guy Giorgio Cerioni
(DEPORTED WOMEN OF THE SS SPECIAL SECTION '76, SS EXPERIMENT CAMP '76, SS
WOMEN'S CAMP HELL '77, RED NIGHTS OF THE GESTAPO '77) briefly pops up as
wealthy Franz Kanneman, whom Hey is talked into screwing. Two female's to
look sharply for also: STAGE FRIGHT's Jo Ann Smith (Sybil in that film) as
one of Hey's assistants, and devastating sex queen Valentine Demy (SNACK BAR
BUDAPEST '88, DIRTY LOVE'88) , doing what she does best (well one of the
things she does best) and showing her incredible assets to the camera.
All around, as a very inexperienced hand at film, Raffanini does an OK job.
There's nothing at all creative about the direction or camera work that
would rank this in with something really spectacular, but the lighting is
very well-used and and the actors push it through as something worth
watching. At times the film really drags, with some musical and artsy dance
performances that are nothing more than tedious time-filler, but luckily it
brings itself out of the mud in the second half to offer up at least an
acceptable, but not completely shocking conclusion. I'd still say it's good
for a viewing or two and much better than some of the other gialli of the
1980's. If the film doesn't entirely grab you, at least the gorgeous and
quite tasty ladies on hand will.
Others on the same lines of PATHOS include, NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985),
DELIRIUM: PHOTO OF GIOIA (1987), TOO BEAUTIFUL TO DIE (1988), and FASHION
2 1/2 BITCH SLAPS
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