Psychotronic Film Society presents: The Perfume of the Lady in Black

  • The Sentient Bean 13 East Park Avenue Savannah, GA, 31401 United States

8 p.m. showtime, with $7 admission for mature viewers.

On Jan. 4 at The Sentient Bean, the PFS offers up a rare public showing of little-known Italian writer and director Francesco Barilli’s extremely obscure 1974 shocker “Il profumo della signora in nero,” otherwise known by its English title, “The Perfume of the Lady in Black.” The film stars American actress Mimsy Farmer — something of a proto-“scream queen” — as an industrial scientist living in Italy who is tormented by hallucinations pertaining to her mother’s suicide.

Nominally thought of by most folks as a “giallo” (the Italian word for the color yellow, which has been employed for decades as shorthand for a particular type of violent, perplexing murder mysteries that gained prominence from the mid-’60s through the early ’80s), “The Perfume of the Lady in Black” is, in reality, a more densely layered effort than most gialli. Its head-scratcher of a script is filled with numerous red herrings that will keep most viewers guessing right up until the last frame. It also benefits from some flat-out hauntingly beautiful cinematography, which is aided by lush locations, inventive lighting design and an evocative, early orchestral score by esteemed, Oscar-winning composer Nicola Piovani (“Life Is Beautiful”).

Clearly influenced by the seminal suspense films of “Italy’s Hitchcock” Dario Argento (the visual maestro behind such cult classics as “Suspiria,” “The Bird with the Crystal Plumage” and “Profondo Rosso”), as well as Nicolas Roeg’s benchmark of psychological terror “Don’t Look Now” and Roman Polanski’s occult thriller “Rosemary’s Baby,” this unfairly overlooked sleeper is highly recommended to anyone who likes their horror films heavy on atmosphere and light on exposition. The PFS will screen the completely uncut widescreen version in spoken English.