A chase into the night, an ice pick on hand, and then a fatal stab in the neck. The first of several murders committed by an unknown assailant who’s targeting certain women in a rather ritzy area in town. The ever so quirky detective Felipe Fierro (Rafael Inclan) is assigned to capture the killer and his gorgeous girlfriend Susana (Maribel Guardia) also lends a hand in finding the killer. With several clues, Felipe goes deep into the underbelly & the high class parts of the city searching for suspects and the few that he has rounded up are either petty criminals and a rich guy named Dario (Arsenio Campos) who seems to be good to be true.
A Garrote Limpio (peculiarly translated on VHS as "By Hook or By Crook") is a movie that was marketed as a sexy comedy with a murder angle to it, but truthfully the movie is a cop-comedy with a murder angle to it. While there are some scenes with colorful cabaret dancing (performed by Mexican vedette Princesa Yamal), Maribel Guardia wearing little bits of clothing and few off-colored jokes told—the movie still doesn’t qualify to be labeled “sexy” at all. If anything, we mostly just see quirky mischief ensuing in the same vein as any other cop-comedies from that era. And that murder angle to it? Definitely not a “slasher” as others want to make it out to be just because of the opening scene. The rest of the kills in the movie are mostly done off-screen & the ones that we are treated to see are not very brutal. Clearly this movie is more of a thriller/giallo—the kind where it takes its time to build up on kills & its motives for it. The killer’s identity & motives are rather obvious, but intriguing at least.
It may sound like I’m knocking down A Garrote Limpio, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to explain what this movie is really about because for whatever reason this movie’s past reviews & descriptions make it out to be something that it’s not and that is honestly quite irritable..
A Garrote Limpio offers something just a tad different from the many kinds of movies that came out during this particular era (mid-1980's). While I enjoy sex comedies & slashers from this particular era—I do also enjoy slow burning-thrillers & silly little cop-comedies as well and for A Garrote Limpio to be those kinds of movies in one is fairly remarkable. What makes the movie even more remarkable is that it features a very favorable cast that get into their roles perfectly and especially the two leads. Rafael Inclan here plays a rather silly detective who can still remain serious to his job & his girlfriend who’s played by Maribel Guardia (ironically the 2 actors were really dating around this time) is also serious to her job and she is also very adoring to her man. She makes that very clear with her constant mushiness & sensuous bed tricks.
A Garrote Limpio is no “sex comedy” nor is it a “slasher”, but an intriguing little cop-comedy/murder-thriller that is worthy of a look if found.