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A review of the Italian version of this Franco feature
This is a Jess Franco film which seems to have garnered something of a good reputation amongst the vast array of his output. While I perused through the user reviews here I couldn't help but wonder if I had seen the same film, as from the plot synopsis offered by many of these I found there were several very key things I couldn't recall even happening on screen. I soon discovered that the reason for this is that there are three versions of this movie - the Spanish being the definitive cut it seems and I saw the Italian variant which, like several other Franco films from the period had been turned into an adult film by way of some hardcore scenes being spliced into the flow. I think it would be only fair to guess that this version is not the best out there and compromises Franco's original vision somewhat.
The story is about a woman who goes into a downward psychological spiral after the suicide of her sister. She subsequently sees visions of her dead sibling which leads her to go out and murder men.
One of the chief differences between the versions is that in the Spanish one it is her dead father (played by Franco regular Howard Vernon) who she sees from beyond the grave, as opposed to her sister in the Italian version. This change seems to have been made principally to allow for the introduction of Lina Romay who, in her role as the sister, spends the whole time frolicking around naked and is at the centre of all the hardcore scenes too. These scenes, incidentally, are fairly half-heartedly executed and seem to be there simply as a means of selling the movie as an adult feature. However, unless I simply wasn't paying very good attention, this change also means that the whole mirror idea seems to have been more or less eradicated aside from a scene late on where it is smashed resulting in the breaking of the supernatural spell. Up to that point however, it seemed to me that all of this malarkey was going on in the head of the main actress, not playing out in an actual mirror! Despite these issues with the Italian version, this still made for interesting enough viewing. Despite its definite sexploitation angle, it is in essence quite a haunting tale. It's quite hard to reasonably categorize in actual fact because it has several feet in different sub-genres without truly focusing on one thread fully. I can only really comment on the version I have seen and going by that I couldn't put this in the upper bracket of Franco features; it's in the top half of his output though for sure. Like most of his films it has that rushed look and feel, while the production values are pretty limited. But it would seem that the Spanish version is the one to see if you want a proper reflection of this one's merits.
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