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Spirits of the Dead (1968)
"Histoires extraordinaires" (original title)

 -  Horror | Mystery  -  23 July 1969 (USA)
6.7
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 3,172 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 45 critic

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 »

Writers:

(story), (adaptation), 8 more credits »
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Title: Spirits of the Dead (1968)

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Giuseppina (segment "William Wilson")
...
William Wilson and his double (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")
Edit

Storyline

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

Plot Keywords:

castle | actor | army | catholic | rescue | See more »

Taglines:

the ultimate orgy of evil See more »

Genres:

Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

|

Language:

| |

Release Date:

23 July 1969 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Spirits of the Dead  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Electric)

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Peter O'Toole was originally cast as Toby Dammit. After he pulled out, Federico Fellini contacted a London casting agency and asked them to send the most decadent actors they had to Rome to see him. They sent Terence Stamp and James Fox, and Fellini chose Stamp. See more »

Goofs

When young William Wilson splatters his fellow schoolmate with a tomato in class, the red stain on his victims face changes drastically from less to more after several moments. See more »

Connections

Referenced in House on Haunted Hill (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
three stories that work well together
4 August 1999 | by See all my reviews

While the most spectacular is Fellini's incredible and banal finale to this tryptich, all three of these short films are outstanding in their own way, and not a single one of them would be worth much at all without the others. In the first, directed by Vadim, one sees a spoiled brat princess (who knew that Jane Fonda was so beautiful??) who occupies her time bullying her pretty court around, until her cousin (who she scorns as lowborn until he frees her from a trap he has set) is the first to refuse her every whim. The first part of the tryptich is slow slow slow, dramatic tension is built masterfully in this segment however as three themes intersect in a fatal tapestry of images.

Louis Malle's second section is a much more compelling story. The student of French lit. may recognize the many gambling scenes from the 18th C. (Diderot's Bijoux Indiscrets) and the 19th C. (from Baudelaire's Tableaux Parisiens). Moreover, the tight scripting is reminiscent of Belle de Jour (in form if not in content) and poof! the second eerie story (which Poe may well owe to Dostoevsky's short story/novella The Double) is over and despite a slightly weak ending, you are shaken!

Which is as anyone approaching the final story should be. This is dystopic, nihilist theatre at its best. While certainly some of Fellini's traditional themes/images are evident (paparazzi, tragically and _almost_ unbelievably unfulfilled people, and gaudy overpainted women) this segment is an orgiastic zero which filled me with disgust and awe. In some ways, this is the section that is both the most cinematically impressive and the most repugnantly ego-centric. Poe did not live in the time of Ferrari's, airports, televisions and escalators, and yet this 'videodromesque' segment is squarely set in the 1970s. On the other hand, the Ferrari substitutes nicely for a horse, and melting TV screens will work as substitutes for Poe's affected prose. Since Poe was, after all, a drunk who was received much better in Europe than in the U.S. (believe it or not), I think Fellini remains largely on target.

Together, the three combine to make a very good psychological horror film with virtually no blood. (Only Malle sheds blood on screen in his story, if you except the possible corpse at the beginning of Vadim's segment) Check this one out. I doubt it will make you fear your neighbor, but it might make you fear Fellini!


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