College Girl Murders (1967)
Starring Joachin Fuchsberger, Uschi Gilas, Grit Bottcher, Konrad Georg
Directed by Alfred Vohrer
Released by Dark Sky Films
If the listing above of "stars" isn’t enough to tip you off, College Girl Murders ain’t from around these parts, which may go a long way in explaining why I’d never heard of it before Dark Sky Films threw it onto DVD for our viewing pleasures. It certainly is a different sort of horror/whodunit, set to some shakealicious 60’s music and featuring all sorts of repressed sexuality.
The film starts off with two terrible actors, one a scientist and one his assistant, testing a new gas on a glass cage full of rats. It kills the rats in less than ten seconds, and the scientist informs his assistant that it does the same to humans. The assistant believes him mad, but doesn’t have much time to ponder the moral implications of assisting him before he’s dispatched, as well.
The scientist heads out to a clandestine meeting in a graveyard, where he hands over the gas to a mysterious figure and is then dispatched himself by a monk in red robe, who uses a whip to first subdue then snap the neck of his victims.
Cut to prison. A man is given the chance to get out for a few hours if he delivers a bible to a young girl at a local boarding school (ah, here comes that title), only to watch her die instantly when she opens it and the gas comes pouring forth. What follows is more and more deaths at the hands of either the gas, which later takes the form of liquid and comes out of a raygun-looking device, or the red monk and his whip as layer upon layer of "what the hell?" are added on until the film’s climax, which quite effectively breaks down the fourth wall at the very end.
It’s very thick with red herrings, so much so you can almost smell the fishy smell when you open the DVD for the first time, but to be honest I had the killer pegged from the first time they showed up on screen, so I guess the mystery wasn’t all that skillfully handled. Still, director Vohrer utilizes some effective locales like shadowy exteriors and the brilliantly blue swimming pool and displays a keen eye for lighting and visuals. The striking figure of the monk in the red robe loses a bit of its menace when you see it being chased by bumbling police officers set to the tune of something straight out of an Austin Powers dance number, but hey, it’s a 60’s German film, certain liberties must be granted.
A bit of history for you; College Girl Murders was based on the novel The Terror, which was written by King Kong creator Edgar Wallace, proving that even the most brilliantly imaginative of minds just needs to cut loose with a little whip-and-schoolgirl action every now and then. If the 60’s were your thing and you're looking for a vintage movie with a lot of energy that might just keep you guessing for a while, or if nothing else serve to confuse the hell out of you now and then, check out Dark Sky’s release of College Girl Murders.
3 out of 5
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