Flavio Mogherini's Italian/Spanish co-production, The Pyjama Girl Case, is one of the more underrated gialli to emerge from Europe in the late 1970s. Rather than play to audience expectations with a story of a black-gloved madman killing nubile young women in gruesome ways, Mogherini's film draws inspiration from a real-life crime and tells a rather melancholy tale of domestic discord and the quest to find a young woman's murderer. At times Pyjama Girl resembles a cross between a documentary and a Lifetime movie -- mainly due to its parallel narratives, one presented in a more traditional chronological order, the other also told chronologically but with large gaps between events. This, along with several other uncharacteristic elements combine to make a giallo that is palatable for wider audiences, but one that fans of the subgenre will flock to for its unique tone.

Ray Milland plays a retired detective who takes an interest in the case of a murdered young woman, whose body is found on a local beach. The unidentified corpse has been shot, bludgeoned to death, and then had her face burned beyond recognition -- and unraveling the mystery of her identity will lead the curmudgeonly cop head-long into a tangled web of love, deceit, and murder. When a gruesome, public display of the woman's body conjures a possible ID for the victim, the cops set out and make an arrest. Milland, however, is unconvinced that they've gotten the right man and sets off to capture the real killer -- but he may be too late.
categories Features, Reviews, Horror