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Strange things have been happening to Valentina, a young and beautiful professional photographer, ever since she made the acquaintance of Baba Yaga, a mysterious older woman who gave her a lift home late one night. For one thing, Valentina has been having weird, kinky nightmares. For another, one of Valentina's cameras seems to have acquired a deadly curse. And then there was that visit to Baba Yaga's house, where Valentina discovered bizarre relics, including a dominatrix doll, and a bottomless pit in the living room. Valentina comes to realize that Baba Yaga is a witch who is out to possess her - body and soul. Written by
Eugene Kim <email@example.com>
Not the best, but perhaps the most interesting "fumetti" adaptation
Until relatively recently comic books in the US were mostly aimed at kids (and thanks to a self-censorship body called the Comics Code Authority--which made sure little Johnny didn't get hold of a copy of "The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers" or "Cherry Poptart" and be scarred for life--adult comics were often unavailable even for adults). But things were different in Europe, especially in France and Italy in the 60's and 70's where "fumetti" were very popular with adults, exploring adult themes and experimenting with narrative structure in ways that the American "graphic novels" are only just getting around to today. Fumetti were also pretty hip in Europe at the time (again in contrast to America where the coolest guy who publicly admits to reading comics even today is "Clerks" director Kevin Smith).
There have been a handful of movies based on fumetti. The most famous is "Barbarella" because it featured Jane Fonda, but this has also made it an easy target for people like idiot critic/right-wing ben-wah ball Michael Medved. "Diabolik" has become highly respected today because of director Mario Bava and the two incredibly attractive leads, but it was reputedly not a well-regarded fumetti. I've heard "Satanik" is pretty bad period. Some years later there was also "Cemetery Man" based on a novel by the author of the famous fumetti "Dylan Dog". It was this movie though that has just confused the hell out of everybody since it's based on a comic strip "Valentina" few outside of Italy have read and few in Italy probably understood. Valentina is a photographer who through the agency of a magic camera falls under the spell of a strange lesbian witch, Baba Yaga. That's the basic plot, but it goes off on so many bizarre and surreal tangents that the movie itself is almost impossible to describe. At one point, for instance, Baba Yaga gives Valentina a doll which suddenly turns into a real-life dominatrix who strips her naked, ties her up, and whips her while the witch looks on approvingly. In another scene, Valentina's suddenly part of a firing squad shooting a naked woman on a Jean Rollinesque deserted beach.
Carol Baker is the witch and although she is woefully miscast (too young and voluptuous)she acquits herself well (and even did a full-frontal nude scene which was censored out). The actress that plays Valentina, Isabella de Funes couldn't act her way out of an 8mm porno loop with a German shepherd co-star, but she really doesn't have to in this very visual, non-linear movie. Ditto with Ely Galeani, who apparently auditioned for Valentina role but was (hard as it is too imagine) even worse than de Funes,so she took the living doll role. It's also interesting to see George "The Grim Reaper" Eastman in a romantic role as Valentina's lover (maybe they got him confused with George Hilton?) Rounding out the cast is Angela Covello ("So Sweet/So Dead", "Torso") one my favorite obscure Italian actresses. This movie definitely isn't for everybody, but if you're on this site reading this review (and you've heard of any of these people) I expect you'll probably like it.
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