SCREAMING MIMI -(1958/USA/b&w/85 minutes)
Starring: Anita Ekberg, Phil Carey, Harry Townes, Gypsy Rose Lee
Bizarre psychological thriller which sees Ekberg get attacked while taking a shower by a knife-wielding killer a full two years before Hitchcock did the same scene in PSYCHO (1960). Ekberg, who works as a dancer at a sleazy nightclub called the "El Madhouse," emerges from the attack with superficial wounds (her stepbrother, Brent, shot and wounded the assailant), but the experience has so unnerved her that she goes to a psychiatrist, Townes, for therapy. Meanwhile, a local reporter, Carey, learns of the attack and connects it with similar crimes that ended in murder. Frustrated with the slow-moving police and in pursuit of a hot story, Carey begins to investigate the crimes on his own. While counseling Ekberg, Towne falls in love with the voluptuous dancer and begins exerting great influence over her and even becomes her manager. Carey's digging uncovers that Ekberg has had a past history of mental illness, and he begins to suspect her as the killer. Carey also learns that each of the victims was given a strange sculpture of a woman contorted in a horrible scream (thus, "Screaming Mimi") and the artist turns out to be Ekberg's stepbrother. Eventually Carey puts all the pieces of the puzzle together and the mystery is solved. A weird, very obscure thriller that holds interest for fans of the strange cinema for several reasons. Ekberg, an actress who now has something of a cult following, performs some rather risque strip-tease numbers backed by the Red Norvo Trio. Famed stripper Gypsy Rose Lee--who has a cult following of her own--plays the owner of the sleazy nightclub.
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