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Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Histoires extraordinaires (original title)
Three directors each adapt a Poe short story to the screen: "Toby Dammit" features a disheveled drugged and drunk English movie star who nods acceptance in the Italian press and his ... See full summary »


(story "Metzengerstein") (as Edgar Allan Poë), (adaptation) | 8 more credits »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Giuseppina (segment "William Wilson")
Contessa Frederique de Metzengerstein (segment "Metzengerstein")
Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit")
Countess' Advisor (segment "Metzengerstein")
Salvo Randone ...
Priest (segment "Toby Dammit")
Françoise Prévost ...
Friend of Countess (segment "Metzengerstein") (as Francoise Prevost)
Baron Wilhelm Berlifitzing (segment "Metzengerstein")
Marlène Alexandre ...
(segment "Metzengerstein")
David Bresson
Katia Christine ...
Young girl on the dissection table (segment "William Wilson") (as Katia Christina)
Peter Dane
Georges Douking ...
Le licier (segment "Metzengerstein")
Philippe Lemaire ...
Philippe (segment "Metzengerstein")
Carla Marlier ...
Claude (segment "Metzengerstein")


Three directors each adapt a Poe short story to the screen: "Toby Dammit" features a disheveled drugged and drunk English movie star who nods acceptance in the Italian press and his producers fawn over him. "Metzengerstein" features a Mediveal countess who has a love-hate relationship with a black stallion - who, it turns out is really her dead lover. "William Wilson" tells the story of a sadistic Austrian student with an exact double whom he later kills. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


the ultimate orgy of evil See more »


Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »





| |

Release Date:

23 July 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spirits of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Electric)



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


DOP Giuseppe Rotunno screened a restored print of Fellini 's " Toby Dammit " at the Tribeca Festival in 2008. See more »


When Countess Frederique ("Metzengerstein") is urging the black stallion into the sea, her ermine-trimmed cloak is suddenly gone. See more »


Featured in To Each His Own Cinema (2007) See more »


Sung by Ray Charles
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Music by Heinz Roemheld
See more »

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User Reviews

Cut out the first two segments and you've got a great Fellini film.
28 February 2003 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

'Spirits of the Dead' (1968), a French-Italian production narrated by Vincent Price, features three Edgar Allan Poe stories adapted for the screen and directed by three of Europe's most fascinating filmmakers of the period (choke!).

Vadim's segment (‘Metzengerstein'), starring Jane and Peter Fonda, is a real stinker. Has Vadim ever made a truly good film? Not really, so at least he's being consistent here by turning Poe's tale into a dull, silly mess. Striving hard for art's sake, he misses the mark each time. Q: Who wants to see Jane Fonda falling in love with Peter Fonda? A: Not me.

Malle's segment (‘William Wilson') is solid but not worth repeated screenings. Of note: Brigitte Bardot gets naked, verbally abused and whipped. No comment as to the merits of these actions or her presence; nevertheless, the tale's ending doesn't quite work.

Fellini's 'Toby Dammit' is classic, freakshow Fellini. Terence Stamp stars as a wasted British film star (looking like an effeminate junkie) and gives an awesomely convincing performance. Ultimately, his character gets a bit out of hand and, uh, loses his head. Good stuff that. It's probably fortunate that Fellini's is the longest and last segment; it is easily the film's strength and highlight. Unlike the first two tales, ‘Toby Dammit' was also released theatrically on its own, yet it is not available separately on dvd.

The ‘Spirits of the Dead' dvd first hit the market as an Image release. This is not the version to purchase. Image used a less-than-satisfactory source print, and the transfer looks crummy. Also, the menu is poorly designed and doesn't work quite the way one wants it to. Later, Home Vision released a higher quality version with four additional minutes of footage, using much finer source material. --- david ross smith

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