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Home | Film Review: Murder Syndrome (1981)

Film Review: Murder Syndrome (1981)


Michael is a successful actor who is currently playing a killer in his new movie; he goes for a weekend visit with his girlfriend Deborah to his mother’s house. Deborah has no idea what she is in for and to say the least the creepy “butler” Oliver is only a glimpse of what is to come. Deborah has no idea about Michael’s past, mainly the fact that as a boy Michael stabbed and killed his father. Michael has no real memory of the event and claims to have just simply “blacked out”. The rest of the crew for Michaels film decide to crash the party at the house and soon Michael starts blacking out again…and wouldn’t you know it with the black outs come even more dead bodies.


Directed by: Riccardo Freda
Starring: Stefano Patrizi, Martine Brochard, Henri Garcin and Laura Gemser

“You looked as if you wanted to murder her!”

Ah the early 1980’s….they don’t make them like this much anymore…well they kind of do with all of these throwback pictures coming out as of late but this is the real deal and Murder Syndrome even starts with a scene of gratuitous nudity in the first few seconds when a scantily clad woman is soon attacked by a man in the shadows.

Of course soon a director yells cut and the viewer discovers that they were fooled….our “killer” is actually a guy named Michael who is now a successful film star who is currently working on a new horror film. There is a reason Michael plays a killer so well however and that is that when Michael was a young boy he stabbed his father to death (in his defense he claims that his father, a renown maestro, was beating his mother at the time)…..Michael doesn’t remember the event however claiming that he simply blacked out.

Michael decides to take his girlfriend Deborah out to his mother house for the weekend in order to get away for a little bit. When the two arrive they are greeted by quite a creepy servant named Oliver who informs Michael that his mother isn’t doing very well at all. Deborah isn’t very taken with the house; in fact she despises the fact that she has to sleep so far away from Michael….because of his mother’s orders. Luckily for Deborah some company arrives at the house with some of the crew from Michael’s film showing up. It doesn’t take very long for the black outs to start happening to Michael again and once again more dead bodies also start to show up too.

Murder Syndrome follows a pretty straight line for most of the film, with the exception of a nightmare segment which contains probably one of the silliest spider props I have ever seen and some pretty shoddy bats as well, the whole sequence redeems itself however with a “black mass” near the end….but who wants to hear about dream sequences…this is a body count film is it not?

There are quite a few dead bodies falling around Murder Syndrome, for the most part the deaths are pretty tame and are committed by a black gloved killer….am I one of the only people out there that miss these kinds of “body count mysteries”? It isn’t until the last half hour or so that the ante is upped and gore hounds will rejoice in seeing a woman’s stomach torn open (her body is dragged along a forest floor too!), a person is violently stabbed in the head to the point where brains and bone are splattered on glass and the coup de garrote is a decapitation by chainsaw (which I never really understood…maybe I’m over analyzing by wouldn’t a person hear the other one starting up the chainsaw before they were attacked by it?). Once again there is more black magic and everything just gets a little crazy….but in a good way…what starts as a mystery soon turns its viewer on their head…there is even a reel to reel scene!

Murder Syndrome is a great throwback film that should be given a chance by this newer generation…go ahead and give it a shot…you’ll see what just inspired many of your favorite films out at this moment.

Murder Syndrome (1981)

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