Blu-ray Review: The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971)

April 1, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

In that most conventional of settings for an Italian giallo flick; Dublin, Ireland an acid-hucking psycho with an affinity for razors kills the shit out of a lassie and sticks the newly minted corpse in a limousine owned by Swiss Ambassador Sobiesky (Anton Diffring). Being a foreign diplomat, that mother fucker claims immunity toot-F’n-sweet as the body count continues to rise. The police decide to play hardball and bring in a real ball busting son of a bitch; namely ex-cop John Norton (Luigi Pistilli) to hunt down that murderous maniac before he can kill again!

Full of lurid violence, an overwrought mystery, mod fashions, nudity, and of course, a black gloved killer; The Iguana With the Tongue of Fire is a fine example of the giallo fare that followed in the wake of  Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage; although to be fair, this one pushes the tasteless meter more towards the likes of Fulci’s New York Ripper, especially when it comes to gratuitous nudity and old folks taking a pounding.

For all of that we do get some genuinely unique elements with this picture. For starters, the Dublin location is a boon and adds some visual interest to the proceedings. Also the relationship Norton has with his teenage daughter and an elderly, arm-chair sleuth of a mother that makes him a more nuanced character than you may expect in a fright flick such as this where exploitation was it’s utmost goal.

As for extras on this Blu-ray release, Arrow Video have delivered a limo full! First up you get an immensely informative audio commentary by giallo connoisseurs Adrian J. Smith and David Flint, followed by video appreciation of the film from cultural critic Richard Dyer. Also included are; an appreciation of the film’s composer Stelvio Cipriani by soundtrack aficionado Lovely Jon, interviews with the film’s editor Bruno Micheli, and actress Dagmar Lassander, trailers, and image galleries.

If you dig your giallos on the sleazy, unpleasant side, then Riccardo Freda’s The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire will doubtless satisfy your cinematic dark desires; it’s bloody, at times brutal, and wallows proudly in it’s sordid ways!




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