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Conrado San Martín,
A girl arrives from London to visit her estranged relatives in a remote castle for the reading of her father's will. After a while she discovers that they are all in fact dead and her decision to live with them turns into a nightmare. Unable to leave she's drawn into a macabre underworld through visions of nude satanic rituals and her own impending sacrifice. Written by
It's a shame that most people here seem to have seen a cut version of this film, because the actual original is absolutely beautiful, and belies the criticism that Franco was a complete hack. It is a perfect example of what can be achieved in the horror genre with an almost zero budget in what was probably the director's busiest period. However most people seem to have seen the US release print, which also circulated on video in the UK in the 80's under the title of `The Invisible Dead'. This film was marketed as being a successor to Fulci's `Zombi', and basically was padded out with scenes from Jean Rollin's `Lake of Zombies' (shot almost 10 years after Franco's original film) and had all nudity removed.
There is another version which circulated with hardcore black mass footage featuring Franco regular Alice Arno and a host of stunt doubles for Vernon, Nichols and von Blanc.
The only video release of the original film at present is on Redemption, featuring a couple of nude mass scenes, some lesbian vampire sucking, a bizarre scene where Christina knocks over a giant phallus and an effectively hypnotic score from Bruno Nicolai. The UK version is missing the rather graphic rape scene present in the Benelux versions.
Christina von Blanc never unfortunately appeared in any other Franco films in fact only appeared in a couple of others including the giallo `L'Etrusco uccide ancora'. The delightful pairing of Britt Nichols and Anne Libert occurs again in his bizarre `Erotic Rites of Frankenstein' and `Les Demons', amongst other films of the period. If you are interested in Franco, this is one of his best of the period, very atmospheric and deserves to be seen in its original version.
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