They’re Coming to Get You! (1972)

As this October continues to materialize, it appears that this is going to be the Halloween of Bad Cuts for yours truly, following the recent screening of the Creepers cut of Phenomena that I recently attended, plus the badly mangled VHS release of Mario Bava’s A Hatchet for the Honeymoon that recently found its way into my possession. The most recently discovered victim is Sergio Martino’s Tutti i colori del buio (All the Colors of the Dark), which was released to the English-speaking world as both Day of the Maniac and They’re Coming to Get You!, the latter of which is the cut to which I was subjected.

Jane Harrison (Edwige Fenech) is a woman suffering from a series of intense visions, apparently as a result of the trauma of miscarrying her child when live-in boyfriend Richard (George Hilton), a pharmaceutical rep, was at the wheel during a car crash the previous year. He insists that she keep taking her mysterious vitamins and that these will help to allay her hallucinations. Jane’s sister Barbara (Susan Scott) feels that Jane would benefit from a visit with her employer, psychologist Dr. Burton (George Rigaud), but Richard doesn’t believe in therapy and forbids Jane from going. Meanwhile, Jane also meets her new neighbor Mary (Marina Malfatti), who convinces Jane to join her at a “Sabbat,” promising that participating in the ritual helped her when she had similar problems. Jane’s visions primarily revolve around a man with preternaturally blue eyes (Ivan Rassimov) stabbing a woman to death, until she starts to see him in the real world: following her onto the metro, sitting in Dr. Burton’s waiting room, and standing outside her apartment complex. Finally, she also agrees to participate in the Sabbat, which turns out to be a Black Mass in which she is given a goblet of dog’s blood to drink by the dark priest (J.P. McBrian).

This description makes the film seem much more linear and consistent than it is, and perhaps the original film makes sense. What follows is completely discombobulated. The apparent Satanists attempt to convince Jane that she must kill Mary, and then show her Mary’s body, claiming that Jane followed through. Dr. Burton convinces Jane to spend the evening at his country house, where she will be safe from the Satanists, but she arises the next morning to find the caretaker and his wife murdered, only for Dr. Burton to return and be murdered as well before Jane is saved by Richard. Richard and Barbara seem to have some kind of past relationship, and he also makes eye contact with Mary early in the film while being observed by Jane, implying that he is somehow involved in her machinations, but nothing comes of this in the cut that I viewed; in fact, the They’re Coming to Get You! version ends with Jane finding the dead body of Richard in their apartment’s stairwell and then being discovered by another neighbor, who assumes that Jane killed him. Did she? Even for a giallo, this is a notably incomprehensible film.

According to a comparison between different versions that I was able to find online, the complete film establishes more connections between characters, and has a narrative that extends for another six minutes beyond the sudden conclusion of the They’re Coming to Get You! cut. Notably, the Satanists are actually drug dealers, and Barbara may be involved with them. I can’t speak to that version’s competency, but I can say that this cut should be avoided, if possible. Track down a complete version; that’s what I intend to do.

-Mark “Boomer” Redmond

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