Wyoming Forest Ranger Bob Crane (Tom Schanley) loves his twin sister Jessica (Nicola Paring), a super model doing a job in Milan Italy, and as twins are often rumored, the two have a unique psychic bond. Like when that boorish dude was twisting Jessica’s arm in the bathroom attempting to force her to give up that thing, Bob was experiencing that as well. I wonder what else Jessica might have done that her brother might have experienced, considering that he seems to experience everything she goes through. Everything. Just curious. Unfortunately Bob’s next twin experience just might be the last experience as he fears that his sister may have been murdered. So Bob jumps on the first flight out of Wyoming to Milan, I’m thinking it was a straight shot since the Yellowstone to Milan Red Eye is a common ticket, to discover what might have happened to his sister in director Carlo Vanzina’s Giallo tinted thriller ‘Nothing Underneath’.
When Bob arrives in Milan it’s clear that something has befallen his sister, considering no one has seen her and her hotel room is empty, but no one knows what has happened. There’s certainly plenty of weirdo’s around to choose from as potential suspects. There’s the hotel clerk who has a penchant for peeking into keyholes and stealing soiled panties, there’s the hostile jeweler who we saw earlier trying to forcefully take that cookie from Jessica, there’s the bizarre photographer who only knows what’s on the surface of his subjects because as far as he can tell… there’s nothing underneath, there’s the lady across the way who likes to play with herself with the curtains open… I don’t know if that makes her a suspect, but it does make her weird… and then there are the super models, bunches of them. And it’s clear that some of them know something.
So convinced that something has happened to his sister that Bob goes to have a talk with the local constable Commissioner Danesi (Donald Pleasance) to inform him of his ‘feelings’ and the psychic link. To the Commissioner’s credit he was very polite and sympathetic to Bob, who was honestly sounding like a lunatic, but with no body, no blood, and no evidence of any kind, there’s not much he can do. Until actual bodies start popping up that is, and now the commish has a real case to sink his teeth into. We don’t know whose doing the killing, but from their point of view we can see the black gloves and the sharp scissors they like to use, and it seems the victims are also linked by a collection of uncut diamonds. Hmmm….
Bob searches on. He has made the acquaintance of the beautiful bouncy haired Super Model Barbara (Renee Simonsen), the two having a bit of love connection going on, and she’s helping him get to the bottom of the Case of the Missing Twin Sister, until Bob gets a note that changes everything…. Or does it? Twists and curves lie ahead.
People far more knowledgeable about Giallo thrillers than me have informed us that by the time ‘Nothing Underneath’ or ‘Solto il Vestito Niente’ was released, Giallo was on its last breaths. Be that as it may, and I have seen my fair share of Argento’s and Bava’s and Fulci’s and Lenzi’s… Carlo Vanzini’s take on the genre was one of the better ones, and sleazier ones I’ve seen.
Let’s talk about some sleaze for a minute. While ‘Nothing Underneath’ is certainly not a sleaze fest, Vanzini would pop up some nudity on you from just about anywhere. Bob looking out the window… oh look there, the goes a woman playing with herself for some unknown reason. Commissioner Danesi doing a follow up at a boarding house… oh, there goes a chick walking down the hall buck ass naked for no apparent reason. Almost as if she knew a camera would be there. Oh my, supermodel Carrie forgot to put on her panties as she runs down the street… and how in the hell did they get that camera under that metal grate in the street? And what self respecting movie dealing with runway models wouldn’t have a camera backstage during clothes changeovers. We call that gratuitous where I come from, and damn if it didn’t work like a charm in this setting.
Then there was the mystery to what was going on, which was well written, well presented and one that did keep you on your toes and kept us guessing. Eventually, simply by the way the characters are introduced and eliminated, I think most will eventually figure out who our offending party is, but I never did figure out the why’s behind this character’s motivation until this character told me what it was. And in the grand scheme of the way things played out, it all made sense. Kind of. In a way.
The cast was effective, Tom Schanley… still working steady to this day… was solid in the lead. I mean he was no Michael Sopkiw or anything, and we gotta admit we were a little disappointed in his final showdown, this guy being a 6’2" 185lb young strapping forest ranger and all… considering who had to go toe to toe with… Reene Simonsen was summarily beautiful, packing some of the most awesome 80’s hair you’ll ever want to see, Maria McDonald was equally beautiful and her hair was even theoretically more awesome, and she was one of the rare African American actresses we got to see in an Italian Thriller, and the late Donald Pleasance was a joy to watch work. He is still missed to this day.
‘Nothing Underneath’ isn’t a perfect film, erratic at times in theme, off kilter here and there in regards to pace, but it was very entertaining, and if this was a representation of the dying days of the Giallo thriller, I think it went out with a solid bang.