Film writer Alex Fields pegs it as a giallo, and once you see it, you can’t unsee it. William Friedkin’s controversial murder mystery set in New York’s gay leatherman underground just before AIDS isn’t a Hollywood prestige product gone awry—like its low-budget Italian contemporaries, it’s a lurid slice of criminal lowlife where sense matters less than sensation. If Al Pacino is miscast as the panicky straight undercover cop, well, that just fits.

1980 William Friedkin 1.85:1 Color DCP 102 min.