A young girl and her mother run a hotel during the war. When the mother dies, the girl finds herself at the mercy of her sex-crazed guests. Soon enough, a cloaked figure starts killing off everyone that tries to harm her.
During World War II, young Rosa and her mother run a hotel in the Italian countryside, mourning over the death of her dead father. When the mother dies under mysterious circumstances, Rosa finds herself at mercy of her sex-crazed guests, but not before a hooded assailant, lurking in the shadows of the hotel, starts killing off each and everyone that tries to harm Rosa. Could it be her dead father back from the dead to avenge his daughter? Written by
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In all honesty I right away have to admit this won't exactly become my most informative and insightful user-comment, as I watched "Pensione Paura" in its original Italian language print without any subtitles or dubbing whatsoever. Throughout several years of watching Italian films I picked up a few words here and there, especially horror-related ones, but of course not nearly enough to fully comprehend the convoluted plot and structure of a typical Giallo. This should also give you an idea of how rare this film is; as I literally searched all over the Internet for an original VHS copy or at least a halfway decent bootleg DVD, and all I could find was this crummy, ancient and exclusively Italian version. Luckily enough a genuine Italian 70's Giallo has plenty more to offer than just plot-complexity, and since the same guy who brought us "The Perfume of the Lady in Black" also directed this "Pensione Paura", I hoped to see an enormously stylish & visually impressive effort with gritty undertones and uncanny musical guidance. Well okay, the film didn't nearly turn out as enchanting as the aforementioned "Perfume " but multiple scenes and set pieces are beautiful to look at and, even though I don't understand one iota of the dialogs, you can easily tell the subject matter is compelling. "Pensione Paura" translates as guest house of fear, and that's pretty much the most accurate description I can give. Rosa is timid and frigid young girl who helps her mother running the family pension whilst her father is serving in WWII. The place is filled with sleazy and ill-natured guests, including a married man who constantly attempts to abuse Rosa and the mother's secret lover who lives hidden away in the attic. When the mother is found murdered one morning, Rosa remains behind unprotected and surrounded by people with wicked intentions. She gradually loses her sanity, but just when the guests collectively plot to involve her in a giant orgy a masked and heavily armed man appears to the scene. I realize this is all rather vague, but it's better than giving false plot-information. "Pensione Paura" sadly doesn't feature many bloodily staged murder sequences or graphic sleaze, but the atmosphere is noticeably ominous and grim. Adolfo Waitzman's score is terrific and the cast features a couple of familiar faces, like Luc Merenda of "The Violent Professionals" and "Torso" and Francisco Rabal who recently (and just before passing away) starred in Stuart Gordon's "Dagon". This is a very interesting film, to say the least, and if anyone knows of an available copy with English subtitles please mail me ;)
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