Red Cats in a Glass Maze

Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetroRed Cats in a Glass Maze (Umberto Lenzi, 1975)

“What I saw was like a red cat passing in front of me and disappearing among the trees.
Let’s talk about Italian giallo again, this time with a feline red hue. But who might these red cats be? Could it be a misleading title? And the maze, a metaphor?
With this film, director Umberto Lenzi closed the parenthesis linked to the giallo genre, with a product that took up, as much as others, the classic stylistic elements of Dario Argento’s films, and then moved on to a territory that would prove to be even more congenial to him with thriller/poliziotteschi dramas.

Gatti urossi in un labirinto di vetroBut let’s get to the plot of this film:

A group of Americans on a trip to Barcelona suddenly finds itself involved in a series of gruesome murders in which an unknown killer disguised with a red cape, stabs young women and then tears out their left eye. After groping in the dark for a long time, the police suspect that the murderer is advertising executive Marc Burton, the lover of Miss Paulette Stone. However, he believes that his wife Alma, long suffering from nerves, is responsible for the murders. Years earlier, in fact, in the town where the American group on the trip lives, a girl was killed and Marc found his wife lying unconscious on the ground, with a knife in her hand and an eyeball not far away. Marc has reason to believe that his wife Alma, now close to divorce by his will, rushed to Barcelona to unleash her murderous fury on all the women in the group…

Gatti rossi in un labirinto di vetroAnalysis and Considerations

“Red Cats in a Glass Maze” perfectly embodies the spirit of Italian giallo, with all its distinctive elements: complex plots, stylized violence, subtle eroticism, and a deep exploration of the human psyche. It’s a work that continues to be appreciated by genre enthusiasts for its ability to entertain and unsettle, remaining faithful to the conventions of giallo while offering something uniquely its own. A true classic that remains a reference point for fans of genre cinema.

With this film, director Lenzi doesn’t settle for following the genre’s conventions but expands them, playing with the viewer’s expectations and skillfully intertwining the plot with broader themes like the fragility of human perception and the voyeuristic nature of society. The choice to use the killer’s point of view through red lenses is not just a visual trick but a stylistic choice that immerses the viewer in the killer’s distorted mind, creating an unsettling connection between watching and being watched.

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