Not all giallos (or if you prefer – gialli) necessarily have to come complete with a whopping great body count. In fact, there are a sizable handful of films that belong to the genre which spend considerably more time on the mystery than they do the murder

Most of these more restrained giallos appeared in the late 60s, all but dying out after Dario Argento’s wildly popular The Bird with the Crystal Plumage came along in 1970 and cemented the genre’s bloody and manic, heavily set-piece reliant style. But for a while many giallos were content to focus on a small handful of characters (usually a trio), in an exotic, affluent “holiday” location with perhaps only one murder  occurring in the whole film – which would eventually be revealed to have been committed by the most obviously mysterious member of the group, anyway. Umberto Lenzi was the master of this early style, the best examples of which are perhaps his Orgasmo and Lucio Fulci’s Perversion Story.

That latter film stars Jean Sorel, who also plays the male lead in, erm, In the Eye of the Hurricane – which despite appearing the year after …Crystal Plumage, is very much cut from the same cloth as the aforementioned, low-key giallos of the decade before. Sorel (who appeared in so many gialli he could give George Hilton a run for his money as the male face of the genre) is Paul, a young and enigmatic ex-soldier who takes up with the vulnerable, yet exceedingly rich Ruth after she leaves her husband Michel. Soon Ruth begins to grow suspicious that there might be more to Paul than meets the eye, as first a mysterious red-headed lady turns up at their seaside villa and then Michel briskly re-enters their lives triggering a spate of near-fatal accidents to befall the new lovers – clearly some kind of plot is afoot, but who is behind it and who will be claimed as its victim?

Sadly director Jose Maria Forque is no Lenzi or Fulci (who, of course, both went on to turn in more raucous and gory giallos post-Argento), and the rather pedesterian In the Eye of the Hurricane will be of interest only to those looking for a taste of the genre in its early form. As a mystery it shows its hand remarkably and unsatisfactorily early on – I’m sure you can guess which of the characters is up to no good – and the whole shebang is alleviated only by the odd burst of the kind of endearingly kitsch-y, kinky drama that was another trait of these nascent giallos (and indeed, In the Eye of the Hurricane was known as Lusty Lovers in some territories). Forque would make another similar effort two year later in the shape of Tarot, which has an even duller plot than his previous film except with none of the cheery humour, although it is worth noting that it stars Lolita herself, Sue Lyon.

Whilst I do not condone people watching genre cinema as a purely “ironic” endeavour, there is a gloriously bonkers sequence from In the Eye of the Hurricane that I really must share with you, and luckily someone’s stuck it up on Youtube. Watch below as we begin with a pre-Spiderman “upside-down” kiss, before moving on to a pre-Austin Powers “objects conveniently obscuring nudity”-type sequence. As if that wasn’t mad enough, what happens next is certainly unprecedented in the history of cinema…