Weird Movie Corner: The Washing Machine - Vortice Mortale (1993)
The Washing Machine is a sick and twisted minor gem. Despite director Ruggero Deodato's protests that this erotic thriller falls short of it's potential due to a rushed production schedule and what he considers to be a less than ideal cast, it stands out from his other 90s films by virtue of it's sexually charged atmosphere and perverse scenario. Plot Outline: A police detective, Alexander, played by Philippe Caroit, investigates the murder of a man found dismembered in a washing machine and is drawn into a web of deceit and murder by the dead man's lover Vida (Katarzyna Figura), and her two sisters Sissy (Ilaria Borrelli) and Ludmilla (Barbara Ricci), which sees him become sexually involved with all three of them. At the heart of it all is a suitcase full of cash and jewels. So once more, money is the root of all evil. Deodato, best known for his infamous movie Cannibal Holocaust, delivers an unusual giallo where over-the-top murder scenes are largely absent. The Washing Machine opts to focus on two other genre conventions: gratuitous sex and an approach to plotting which politely can be described as hazy. The film has a detached, unreal quality (the shrill English dubbing makes it even more bizarre). The three wicked sisters are a delight to watch in their collective deranged glee as they go about their dastardly business. The standout scene for me is the sequence where Alexander and Maria are about to have sex in a public museum. The other visitors don't notice them because they are blind and they feel the statues on display. Amongst the visually-impaired guests is Maria's lesbian girlfriend; she ends up wandering the room calling the name of her lover, who continues to coldly ignore her in favour of Alexander. The Washing Machine is unusual because all of it's violence is inflicted by women on men, an inversion of the giallo formula. The plot is fairly convulted and, due in part to the fact that we are witness to several dreams and hallucinations, the narrative is sometimes confusing and apparently directionless, but the downbeat finale ties everything together in a more satisfying manner. Take a chance and check it out; I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
''Whatever it was, the cat ate it'' The cat ate what?'' ''Yuri's body!''
Ruggero Deodato on The Washing Machine:
'' I'm not at all pleased with the final result because it's a very intimate movie and should have had well-known actors, which it does not. So after a few minutes it collapses..''
Did You Know?
Featured in Eurotika!: Blood and Black Lace: A Short History of the Italian Horror Film (1999)
Philippe Caroit and Ilaria Borrelli worked together again in Talking To The Trees (2012), a movie Ilaria Borrelli and husband Guido Freddi have written and directed.