England, 1795: the young Catherine has just married Charles Fengriffen and moves into his castle. She becomes the victim of an old curse that lays on the family. On her wedding night she is raped by a ghost and gets pregnant.
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In 1795, in England, the young woman Catherine moves to the house of her fiancé Charles Fengriffen in the country to get married with him. When she arrives, she feels interest in the portraits of the Fengriffen family, particularly in the one of Charle's grandfather Henry Fengriffen, which seems to have a sort of evil entity possessing it. While admiring Henry's face, a severed hand attacks Catherine through the picture on the wall. Later, she gets married with Charles, beginning her journey of mystery, eerie apparitions, secrets and deaths, and having her days filled with fear and the nights with horrors in a cursed family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Even in 1973, there was not much new about a haunted mansion with a curse placed on the family who owns it, but this take on the genre still has a few things going for it. Beacham (stunningly appointed in a dazzling array of ornate hairpieces, hats and gowns with her bosom taking center stage) is a bride arriving at her groom's estate for the first time. On her wedding night (to Ogilvy), she is menaced by a ghastly figure with a stump for a hand and two blown out eyes. Or is she imagining the whole thing. She can't get anyone to tell her any details about the history of the house, chiefly during the time that Ogilvy's grandfather ran it, and any time someone relents and decides to fill her in, they are struck dead. Amazingly, Ogilvy is more concerned about his wife's mental state than the fact that people keep turning up dead at an alarming rate! Family physician Magee sends for noted psychologist Cushing, who tries his best to sort through the rubble of the mystery (while a hilarious severed hand watches ominously from under tables and behind boxes. Shouldn't this fella be at the Addams' house?) A lot of the film is a rehash of the, by now tiresome, "now it's there, now it's not" sort of thing and the standby, "But I can't tell you" line of dialogue. The pace is a little too leisurely to support such commonly seen material and storyline. However, the acting is excellent all around, so that, along with some creative direction and decent music, helps to keep the viewer interested for the most part. There are several striking bits of camera work in this movie. Cushing doesn't appear until halfway through the film at least. He gives his customarily strong performance, lending class and distinction to the film. Lom really should have had one of those cameo billings with his character name listed after as he only appears briefly (but effectively) near the very end of the film. Magee is appropriately musty as the old family doctor. Beacham is ravishing and gives a very solid performance. Though fourth-billed, it is really her story and she rises to the occasion beautifully with moments of radiance and terror. She has one memorably amusing faint and some riotously fun reactions to all the creepy goings-on. Ogilvy does well in a very underwritten and sketchy role. He and Beacham scarcely share any meaningful scenes together. The rest of the cast is made up of decent British character actors who give their roles a nice air of dread and flavor. The story isn't quite unique enough and the result isn't quite memorable enough for this to count as a horror classic, but it has plenty of merit nonetheless and isn't a bad way to while away a little time.
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