This is another prime example of why alternate titles, especially for late 60's and 70's European thrillers, create a lot of confusion and to some people even aversion. Not only did Umberto Lenzi direct two films called "Paranoia" in the short span of just two years (moreover starring the same lead actress), but also how do these two titles possibly relate to each other? Paranoia and Orgasm? What the hell is the connection? I can easily imagine that certain types of audiences will pass simply because they fear that the film will just be as incoherent & random as both the titles. And in that case they miss out on another excellent and amazingly stylish euro-crime thriller/giallo by the most versatile filmmaker of Italy! Don't pay any attention to what Roger Ebert wrote in his review (what the hell does he know, right?), as "Paranoia" is a great film with a solid plot, complex characters and a really huge portion of genuine suspense. The adorable cult siren Carroll Baker is very convincing as the timid woman moving into a large & isolated country mansion following her millionaire husband's sudden death in a car accident. Whilst her befriended attorney arranges the further formalities regarding the will, lonely Kathryn falls in love with the handsome and free-spirited Peter. She takes him into the house and his equally free-spirited sister Eva soon joins the couple as well. The cheerful times of parties and unconditional sex rapidly end, as Peter & Eva start to blackmail, torture (physically & emotionally) and drug her. The depiction of Kathryn's agony is truly harsh and uncomfortable to observe, especially because you honestly care for her persona. You're hoping that the tables will soon turn, yet whenever you think Kathryn's rescue is near, her suffering actually grows more intense. Lenzi succeeds in making his film amazingly compelling and even manages to save up some excellent (albeit abrupt) twists for the big finale. They're not particularly plausible but at least they're original and rather dared. "Orgasmo" contains very little violence and explicit sex, especially compared to Umberto Lenzi's later repertoire, but the film relies a great deal on its atmospheric settings and music. The cameras elegantly swift through the wonderful filming locations, guided by suitably sultry songs and instrumental tunes. Our director sometimes does exaggerate a little with his "hallucinating" camera trick and close-up angles, but that's easily forgiven. Carroll Baker is simply terrific and Lou Castel makes a very impressive villain. It's a great movie and I can clearly understand why Lenzi himself counts it among his personal favorites. Highly recommended.
Drama / Romance / Thriller
Drama / Romance / Thriller
A rich and lonely American widow befriends two young people whose motives become suspect.
October 27, 2020