In a small town, Roy Seeley and his girlfriend Mandy Pullman are camping by the lake. Out of the blue, they are attacked and Roy is murdered while Mandy is violently raped. Dr. Sam Cordell ... See full summary »
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A middle-aged woman, traumatized from the death of her adulterous lover, moves into a room at a New Orleans boarding house where the blind landlord becomes suspicious to her activities of continuing her affair with her dead lover.
In a small town, Roy Seeley and his girlfriend Mandy Pullman are camping by the lake. Out of the blue, they are attacked and Roy is murdered while Mandy is violently raped. Dr. Sam Cordell is impressed with the violence and realizes that Mandy has had the uterus ruptured. Then the librarian Carolyn Davies is also violently raped and murdered. Lieutenant Drivas believes that the women have been raped by a gang while Sam and Sheriff Hank Walden believe that only one man did. The snoopy reporter Laura Kincaid is always interfering with the investigation and Sam has a love affair with her. Meanwhile the young Tim Galen, who dates Sam's daughter Jenny Cordell, discloses that he has premonitory visions of the deaths, but his grandmother Agatha Galen tries to convince him that he has nothing to do with the murders. But when Jenny learns about his dreams, she summons her father, Laura and they discover a supernatural secret about the Galen's family. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
John Hough's horror films are a mixed bunch, but this one is far more interesting than its horrendous critical reception would suggest. It is ostensibly a detective story of a small town policeman (John Cassavetes) investigating a series of unusually vicious rape homicides. Hough uses the structure to raise some provocative questions about penetration as violation. Sex and violence as one, forged and bonded in repression, resentment, sadism and envy.
The film is riddled with hints of the incestuous desire the protagonist has for his daughter. Hough thus plays with audience identification, seeking to implicate the viewer in a repulsive sexuality which, in a graphic morgue-table scene of a naked female cadaver, extends to incorporate necrophilia. The otherwise conventional plot is spiced up by a contemplation of p.o.v. as moderating aberrant sexuality. No wonder that critics and audiences found the film overly offensive and distasteful. Undeterred, Hough would treat similar themes in his equally maligned "American Gothic".
Graphic, contemplative and unrelenting in its bleakly oppressive visual style, this is a disturbing film experience: one of the more confrontational of taboo-breakers dealing with the always problematic theme of sexual homicide.
Intriguingly enough, the film has some elements in common with Wes Craven's "Deadly Blessing" released around the same time, and dealing with sex crime, isolated communities, deceptive innocence, female independence and role expectations, and the other-worldly demon, the Incubus.
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