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A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant. Only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor stand in her way.
Ignore the misleading title, as what we have here is an old-fashioned Italian swashbuckler about some pillaging mercenaries - I guess committing the "rampage of evil" which we have in the title. Despite lots of appealing attributes, the utterly obscure RAMPAGE OF EVIL fails to be a success due to the almost total lack of action, with all of the swashbuckling being featured in the last fifteen minutes instead of throughout the film. Until then we get lots of court intrigue, villains being evil, and one man's quest for justice. The trappings are very nice, with authentic-looking costumes and sets, and one of the film's highlights is the appealing music which helps to set the period and highlights the action.
It's easy to put all of these films into a set template, and RAMPAGE OF EVIL contains some very familiar situations. There's the hero being captured, thrown in prison and led to be executed (and in a scene ROBIN: PRINCE OF THIEVES copied twenty years later, freed by disguised allies), the inevitable bar-room brawl action, and the unexpected deaths of close friends. Add in to this a damsel in distress and a snivelling villain similar to Edmund Purdom in LAST OF THE VIKINGS, and what we have is a film which sounds more exciting than it really is. The biggest trouble I believe is the painfully obvious lack of budget, even lower than you would have usually.
Another problem is the miscasting of the hero, who I believe is Argentinian-born Gerard Landry. Not only is Landry ageing and unappealing as a romantic lead, he's not even particularly fit or agile, which makes his fight scenes look a little staged. His scenes are stolen by the appearance of Mario Petri as "Hans the Terrible", the mercenary leader who is all blood and thunder and good with it. The snivelling court villain is also pretty good too. However, the rest of the Italian cast are less than adequate, with the women supplying pretty faces but no talent, and in scenes where supporting actors are required to emote the effect is almost painful. Saying this, the final battle between the mercenaries and the guard is a well-staged one, with lots of stunts and swashbuckling, including a fun one-on-one with Petri and Landry. Unfortunately the action comes too late in the proceedings to save the film.
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