What Have They Done to Your Daughters?
directed by Massimo Dallamano
starring Giovanna Ralli, Claudio Cassinelli, Sherry Buchanan
Massimo Dallamano’s What Have They Done to Your Daughters? is a 1974 giallo and poliziottesco (police crime films) hybrid and indirect sequel to 1972’s What Have You Done to Solange which was intended to be a “school girls in peril” trilogy that was cut short by the untimely death of the director (although a third film was completed by another director).
The film opens with the police investigating the murder of a nude, pregnant, 15 year old girl (Sherry Buchanan), by hanging from the rafters of an attic room. Soon Asst. DA Vittoria Stori (Giovanna Ralli) and Inspector Silvestri (Claudio Cassinelli, looking like a cut-rate Michael Caine) are trying to unravel the mystery of the girl’s life and death and uncover a teen girl prostitution ring. The body count continues to rise as the police try to uncover the secrets behind the murders and attempt to catch the motorcycle riding killer.
The film is a mash up of giallo and poliziottesco but leans far more to the poliziottesco and is far more police procedural than mind-bending giallo. The poliziottesco genre is heavily influenced by gritty U.S. cop movies like The French Connection and Dirty Harry. Director Massimo Dallamano even replicates the gimmick of the helmeted motorcycle riding killer from the second Dirty Harry movie Magnum Force. The film isn’t a weird and dreamlike as many gills, including Massimo Dallamano’s earlier What Have You Done to Solange, but there is plenty of sex and violence to satisfy even the most jaded grindhouse fan. An un-nerving plot device is the use of audio recordings of the girls’ sexual encounters to unravel the plot. Listening to the sexual abuse of the girls on tape is both creepier and less creepy than seeing it on film, as the unused hardcore sex footage included a an extra will attest.
The two bet sequences highlight to duality of the genre mash up. There is a terrific chase involving the police pursuing the killer’s motorcycle through the city streets that echoes the contemporary cop films from the United States. Later the usual terror elements of giallo are on full display during a harrowing sequence with Giovanna Ralli being pursued through a parking garage by the black leather clad, motorcycle riding killer wielding a large meat cleaver.
Giovanna Ralli as the tough, but inexperienced prosecutor is quite capable in her job and character not only aids the investigation, as opposed to being the usual helpless victim in so prevalent in too many of these films. Her character also helps soften the edges in dealing with the violated and exploited schoolgirls blackmailed into prostitution. She helps keep the prurient and exploitative elements from getting as uncomfortable as they could have been if the girls had been questioned by macho male cops. Joining Ralli and Cassinelli are Mario Adorff as Cassinelli’s gruff partner who’s own daughter is found to be part of the prostitution ring, and Farley Granger who was world’s away from his time as a leading man in the Alfred Hitchcock films Rope and Strangers on a Train. American actress Sherry Buchanan, credited here as Cheryl Lee Buchanan, plays Silvia, the first victim who sets the plot in motion. She is memorable in her brief flashback scenes and would go on to a brief but memorable career in Eurotrash films including the infamous Doctor Butcher M.D. aka Zombie Holocaust and Tentacles the giant octopus Jaws knock-off that redefined slumming it as the forgettable movie managed to feature three Oscar winners in John Huston, Shelley Winters, and Henry Fonda.
The 2k restoration and transfer looks fantastic and retains a really pleasing amount of grain that preserves the grit and doesn’t have that overly slick look too many Blu-Ray releases fall into. The disc contains English and Italian language soundtracks. A full slate of extras include interviews, the aforementioned hardcore outtakes, a trailer, a feature length audio commentary with Troy Howarth and Masters and Slaves, a video essay by Diabolique Magazine’s Kat Ellinger on the career on director Massimo Dallamano.