THE KILLER RESERVED NINE SEATS (1974) Reviews and Arrow Video Blu-ray release news

  

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The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is a 1974 Italian Giallo horror thriller film about a mysterious murderer stalking an old private theatre.

Directed by Giuseppe Bennati (Red Lips; The Mine) from a screenplay co-written with Paolo Levi and Biagio Proietti.

The Cinenove production stars Rosanna Schiaffino, Chris Avram (A Bay of Blood), Eva Czemerys, Lucretia Love, Paola Senatore, Gaetano Russo, Andrea Scotti, Eduardo Filipone, Howard Ross (The New York Ripper) and Janet Agren.

The soundtrack score was composed by Carlo Savina (Lisa and the Devil; The Legend of Blood Castle; Naked You Die; Fangs of the Living Dead).

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Plot:
An assortment of wealthy degenerates answer the summons of an eccentric nobleman and assemble in the old theatre attached to his ancestral home, only to find themselves trapped in the decaying building while a savage killer picks them off in the style of an Agatha Christie mystery. It soon transpires that there may also be a supernatural twist to the grisly proceedings…

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Blu-ray release:
The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is being released by Arrow Video as part of the Giallo Essentials: Black Edition collection on July 26, 2022. The other two films in the box set are Smile Before Death and The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive.

Limited edition contents:
Brand new 2K restorations from the original camera negatives of Smile Before Death and The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive
2K restoration from the original camera negative of The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentations of each film
Original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks on Smile Before Death and The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
Original lossless mono Italian soundtrack on The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive
English subtitles for the Italian soundtracks
Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtracks
Rigid box packaging with original poster artwork in a windowed Giallo Essentials Collection slipcover
Reversible sleeves for each film featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais, Peter Strain and Haunt Love

Disc One: Smile Before Death
Brand new audio commentary by authors and critics Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson
Original Italian and English front and end titles
Smile of the Hyena, a brand new video interview with Stefano Amadio, film journalist and son of director Silvio Amadio
Never-before-seen extended nude scenes, not used in the final film
Image gallery

Disc Two: The Weapon, the Hour, the Motive
Brand new audio commentary by author and critic Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
A Man in Giallo, a brand new video interview with actor Salvatore Puntillo
Front and end titles for the lost English-language dub
Image gallery

Disc Three: The Killer Reserved Nine Seats
Brand new audio commentary by author and critic Kat Ellinger
Hanging with Howard, a video interview with actor Howard Ross
Writing with Biagio, a video interview with screenwriter Biagio Proietti
Italian theatrical trailer (in Italian and English)
Image gallery

First pressing only: individual illustrated collector’s booklets for each film, featuring new writing by Rachael Nisbet, Barry Forshaw and Peter Jilmstad

Review:
The Killer Reserved Nine Seats was yet another Italian thriller that clearly took its inspiration from Agatha Christie’s seminal murder mystery novel And Then There Were None but added the sleaze and violence perhaps expected for its 1970s exploitation market. After a reasonably sedate start, with lots of banter and bitchiness, nearly every female cast member is soon required to bare all for the sake of trash cinema while the masked killer resorts to some particularly brutal methods of murder directed towards the female characters (which has, unsurprisingly led to suggestions of misogyny on director Giuseppe Bennati’s part). Given that the same year’s Five Women for the Killer employed considerably more scuzzy female-focused nastiness it was perhaps a sign that Italian filmmakers were simply trying to outdo each other in their attempts to shock.



Although the shenanigans are unconvincingly set in England, the theatrical setting is at least suitably opulent, good use is made of mirrors and the proceedings are presented in a fittingly stagey manner with quotes from Shakespeare. The dark backstage areas are well-lit for a couple of effective scares whilst the labyrinthine corridors underneath the theatre provide a suitably eerie setting for the finale. The underdeveloped supernatural element makes The Killer Reserved Nine Seats more unique but isn’t really used effectively and overall the film didn’t need it.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

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Other reviews:
“You know how people decry American slashers because they punish anyone who enjoys sex or drugs or any behavior deemed aberrant? This movie takes that notion and delivers it in spades. Of course, it also presents sin in all its glory but uses violent death as the square up reel.” B&S About Movies

“The sets are great, there’s one particularly shocking death scene and it’s all peppered with copious nudity but Bennati’s offbeat direction is too scattershot to pull it all together. Ultimately, the slipshod way in which the film tosses aside even its own internal logic in favour of twisting the meagre plot further towards obscurity wrecks what could’ve been a far better movie.” Blood Capsules

“Bennati’s stylish thriller collides with the paranormal barely 30 minutes in, teases the audience with it, before finally embracing its ghostly underpinnings during the finale. Till the curtain closes it’s all a big mystery as to the identity of the killer wearing one of the eeriest masks that rivals those of all your finer slasher epics.” Cool @ss Cinema

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” …believes it is a dignified reading in an Agatha Christie setting; certainly the aristocracy (to be mocked, of course) is trotted out, the elite getting their just desserts for all that avarice. The addition of the spectral guest takes the film in a decidedly supernatural direction while fulfilling its Giallo duties via knife and nails.” Daily Dead

” …The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is for the most part a sleek-looking and enjoyable film that benefits tremendously from its atmospheric locations, sleazy thrills and an interesting script which takes what initially appears to be a standard drawing-room mystery and spins it in all kinds of unexpected directions. It makes the film unpredictable…” Euro Fever

“The movie does a great job of quickly introducing all the players and giving them each a motive (and a chance to undress). Then it also throws in the possibility of the supernatural so that you are never sure where it might go. The theater itself is a great location to trap the characters in…” Fake Voorhees

“The supernatural subplot will either intrigue or annoy viewers (I liked it), but at least it’s something “new” and different, with the abundance of gratuitous nudity and annoying characters more in tune with the slasher heyday than its ’70s contemporaries. The killer in 1980s Terror Train wears a very similar mask to the one seen here.” Horror 101 with Dr AC

“The supernatural angle adds a bit more colour but really just serves to confuse an already not very coherent film […] The actors, also, aren’t aided by the fact that Bennati has them in screaming hysterics in one scene and, immediately after, feeling all horny shimmying around in negligee, the next; it doesn’t really help the film generate and maintain much suspense either.” Hysteria Lives!

” …indulges in some of the more extreme touches of the era by having all of the female cast members disrobe at some point and embellishing a couple of the murders with a fair amount of sadism […] Even by Giallo standards, the script is difficult to sort out at times given the numerous agendas going on, but if you forget trying to make sense of it all, the climax is a rousing series of nasty reversals…” Mondo Digital

” …the film gets pretty gruesome and some could argue it relishes in seeing its female cast members offed in more gratuitous and extreme fashion than their male counterparts […]  The Killer Reserved Nine Seats manages to work in some very obvious elements from the types of gothic horror pictures filmmaker’s like Antonio Margheriti and Mario Bava were making a decade before, few are quite as unique as this one.” Rock! Shock! Pop!

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“There is a general air of tawdry exploitation hanging over the proceedings, with all of the female cast members (excepting veteran performer Rossana Schiaffino) bearing all at one point or another. That said, the film is at least honest about its exploitation leanings and it does not attempt to present itself as anything but a colourful lurid bit of entertainment. Director Giuseppe Bennati handles the material very well.” Troy Howarth, So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films Volume Two, Midnight Marquee Press, 2015 (2nd edition)

Buy So Deadly, So Perverse: 50 Years of Italian Giallo Films Volume Two: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk

“Bennati’s prowling camera adds some menace to proceedings though he also recycles shots to dull effect and stages the murders in lazy fashion. What is more the filling between murders is the worst sort of daytime soap opera drivel. Bennati’s clunky script, co-written with Paolo Levi and Biagio Proietti, is riddled with logic holes and trots out a hokey supernatural angle…” The Spinning Image

“A raunchy cast delivers some fun performances and generally keeps this moving at an acceptable pace; highlights include the death of an acid-tongued lesbian by a vicious stabbing…the sharp instrument is (very) strategically plunged. Ouchy ouch.” The Terror Trap

” …The Killer Reserved Nine Seats is a solid, raunchy mystery, complete with trap doors and spiral staircases. The supernatural elements work well and help explain the sometimes mysterious goings-on. All in all a unique entry in the Giallo stable, and one definitely worth an encore!” Tina Aumont’s Eyes

“It follows genre formula without introducing enough of its own inventions, but I can’t help but really like this movie! […]The story is engaging, the characters were very well developed for this type of project, the red herrings were obvious but threw you off in a very fair manner and the pacing was brilliantly fast.” Varied Celluloid

” …while it has pieces worthy of praise (Carlo Savina’s score is wonderful and the creepy emptiness of Giuseppe Aquari’s cinematography sometimes creates a foreboding atmosphere), the film as a whole is lifeless and monotonous. Definitely a giallo to skip.” You Have Died of Dysentery

Choice dialogue:
Russell [Howard Ross]: “Ah, looks like Dracula’s summer home”
Russell [Howard Ross]: “Beautiful! You’ve really got a load of talent you know. Worthy of the Old Vic.”

Cast and characters:
Rosanna Schiaffino … Vivian
Chris Avram … Patrick Davenant
Eva Czemerys … Rebecca Davenant
Lucretia Love … Doris
Paola Senatore … Lynn Davenant
Gaetano Russo … Duncan Foster
Andrea Scotti … Albert
Eduardo Filippone … Man in the Nehru jacket
Antonio Guerra … Caretaker
Howard Ross … Russell
Janet Agren … Kim

Filming locations:
Gentile Theater, Fabriano, Ancona, Marche, Italy
Orto botanico, Roma, Lazio, Italy

Technical details:
1 hour 44 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Original title:
L’assassino ha riservato nove poltrone

Theatrical release:
The Killer Reserved Nine Seats was released by the Overseas Film Company in Italy on 21 May 1974.

Trailer [1080p]:

Soundtrack score theme:

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