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The Whip and the Body (1963)
"La frusta e il corpo" (original title)

Unrated  |   |  Horror  |  10 December 1965 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,033 users  
Reviews: 42 user | 64 critic

In the 19th century, a sadistic nobleman terrorizes the members of his family. He is found dead, but his ghost soon returns to haunt the residents of his castle.


(as John M. Old)


(screenplay) (as Julian Berry) , (screenplay) (as Robert Hugo) , 1 more credit »
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Cast overview:
Nevenka Menliff
Kurt Menliff
Tony Kendall ...
Christian Menliff
Ida Galli ...
Katia (as Isli Oberon)
Harriet Medin ...
Giorgia (as Harriet White)
Gustavo De Nardo ...
Count Menliff (as Dean Ardow)
Jacques Herlin ...
Luciano Pigozzi ...
Losat (as Alan Collins)


After the announcement of the servant Losat, the nobleman Kurt Menliff returns to the castle of his family at the seaside to congratulate his brother Christian Menliff for his marriage with his former lover Nevenka. Kurt feels the hatred and the fear of his father Count Menliff and the servant Giorgia, who blames him for seducing and killing her daughter, and indifference from his cousin Katia. On the next afternoon, the sadistic Kurt meets Nevenka riding a horse alone on the beach and whips the masochistic woman and makes love with her. Late night, Nevenka is missing and everybody is seeking her while Kurt is stabbed in the neck with the same dagger that Giorgia's daughter was murdered. On the next days, the members of the family suspects of each other while Nevenka is haunted by the ghost of Kurt. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What is her terrifying secret?? Is she the victim of a madman???? Or a dead man? You must see "What?"! See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

10 December 1965 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Whip and the Body  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$66,500 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

, ,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Kurt Menliff: [to Nevenka] You haven't changed, I see. You've always loved violence.
See more »


Featured in Burying the Ex (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

Mario Bava: I worship thee!
7 June 2005 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Irresistible and genuine Gothic scares, combined with atmospheric camera-work and breath-taking scenery… Welcome to yet another visual masterpiece directed by the greatest horror genius of all time: Mario Bava! "The Whip and the Body" isn't the man's most mentioned achievement, it's not even in my personal Bava-top 3 and yet I still rated it a solid 9 out of 10. That should give you somewhat an idea of how excellent his total repertoire in fact is. "The Whip and the Body" is a unique film in many ways, but particularly because of the controversial substance it dared to bring forward. Don't forget that the year of release was 1963 and Mario Bava unscrupulously introduces characters with taboo-fetishes like S & M. The story is terrifically set in the 19th century, where Kurt Menliff returns to his eminent family after being banished for several years. The family's hate towards Kurt's vile behavior is only surpassed by their fear and only the gorgeous Nevenka has a secret desire towards his wicked sexual preferences. In a particularly astonishing sequence, he whips her repeatedly (and roughly...) before continuing with making love. Terror overcomes the Menliff family when Kurt is found murdered in his room and when the tormented Nevenka begins to see his appearance in nearly every chamber of the castle. As it usually is the case in Bava's films, the plot contains quite a few holes and illogical moments, but they're totally forgivable if you acknowledge the intensity and power of the wholesome. Especially praiseworthy is Mario Bava's unequaled talent to turn totally natural things into terrifying atmosphere-elements… Blowing wind, pouring rain, footprints covered in mud...all these ordinary things turn into suspicious omens in the hands of this masterful filmmaker. With his skilled cinematographic eye, Bava perfectly knows how to raise an unbearable tension that grabs you by the neck immediately and it doesn't let go until the very last scene fades away. All the other typical Bava-trademarks are clearly present as well, namely an authentically creepy score, a minimum of stylish gore (burning, rotting corpses!!) and – last but not least – a stunning use of color shades. Mario plays with colors like he invented them and this emphasizes the spook-effect even more. "The Whip and the Body" is a more than just a shocking horror film. It's an offbeat love-story, a Gothic poem AND an unsettling horror tale all in one! If you love beautiful cinema, don't miss "The Whip and the Body".

23 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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