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Horror mystery about the residents of a Louisiana castle who are being murdered by a masked killer. When the family arrives for the reading of Marion's will, his wife is strapped to the face of a cliff and drowned by the tide. More murders follow, and as Inspector Bore (Vicente Roca) investigates, he discovers some dark secrets in the family's past. Written by
This is a rare example of a period giallo, and an interesting one; not tremendously suspenseful and quite predictable in the long run, but certainly enjoyable along the way (with welcome touches of humor from time to time). It was supposedly adapted from John Willard's "The Cat And The Canary", erroneously attributed to Edgar Allan Poe on the credit titles (though this was probably done strictly for commercial purposes!).
The pace is somewhat lethargic but the atmosphere is well enough caught, accentuated by a slightly unnerving score, frenzied cross-cutting and some weird images (the assassin's 'costume' itself and the first claustrophobic murder). The casting is effective, though I wasn't familiar with too many of the actors: from Lina Romay and Antonio Mayans as the young couple to the various conniving members of the family (including William Berger) and various other interlopers (like the Police Chief who always forgets to pick up his sombrero when he leaves, and Franco himself as a drunken 'lawyer'). This is my first Lina Romay film: frankly she seems so young it's hard to believe she would soon be appearing in films that would border on the hardcore (this film's only perverse erotic charge is delivered by the scene where the sleeping Romay, nude of course, is beaten up by her tipsy and jealous step-mother with a belt)!
The concept of a series of murder methods lifted from a passage in the Apocalypse is an interesting one, though the death-by-fire itself is pretty unconvincingly staged. All things considered, a minor Franco but one I wouldn't mind revisiting in future.
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