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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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Is this artsy fartsy seventies jive or compelling allegory of the so called enlightened intellects versus the unknown? That's up to you to decide. I know nothing about the comic strip so I can't compare Valentina is a fashion photographer being romantically pursued by George Eastman (aka Luigi Montefori, from The Unholy Four and The New Barbarians). Fobbing him off one night and walking home herself, she finds a puppy lying within a circle of candles and narrowly manages to save it from being run over by a car driven by the mysterious Baba Yaga (Carrol Baker, from The Devil with Seven Faces). Baba Yaga's immediately starts getting weird on Val, taking a clip from her suspenders and saying she'll be back the next day. And the next day indeed (after Val indulges in some topless photography), Baba turns up and gives her the clip back and gives her address. Intrigued in a way only free living seventies people can be, Val goes to Baba's house, takes photos of things, finds a bottomless pit in the hall, finds a strange glove and puts in on, which prompts her to do a bit of invisible banjo playing while the film turns into a comic. Baba also gives her doll in bondage gear and curses her camera so that every time she takes a picture of someone, they die. The doll on occasion turns into Ely Galleano (from Lizard in a Woman's Skin and High Crime) who puts in a performance so erotic, I felt obliged to send her some money in the post. Sounds weird, eh? It is, all done in a surreal, playful manner with plenty of topless women and kinky situations. It's not overly pervy though, but highly stylish. The sets and general execution are very good indeed, involving scenes that turn from reality to comic strip, a nazi trial, a boxing match with a guy dressed like Jesus, and a soap powder commercial that's truly bizarre. Gore hounds will be disappointed, as will though who like things fast paced. As for me, I liked it. Made a nice change from all the violence you usually get from Italian films from this era. The copy that Shameless Screen Entertainment have released looks to be the fullest version (including a full frontal scene with Baker!), and it looks beautiful. This is the only version I've seen so I can't comment on anything that's gone before.
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