I have seen many, many 1970's European horror films, but "Shadow of Illusion" stands out as one of the most original. Daniela Giodorno, anything but bland, stars as Gale Bland, a female business executive who is summoned to Cairo by Isis Cosmetics to initiate some sort of business deal. She eventually discovers that there is no Isis Cosmetics and that she has been lured to Cairo so that a nouveau sect of devil worshipers can sacrifice her to some kind of voodoo king. The conclusion is predictable yet highly unusual.
"Shadow of Illusion" constantly rides the line between matter-of-fact storytelling and over-the-top storytelling, and is played so straight that it succeeds as a thriller with some truly frightening moments. Giodorno, never more beautiful, appears to be sporting a red wig and appears to have put on some weight, but it only flatters her, as do the interesting dresses she wears throughout. William Berger is on hand in a weird role that really cannot be described in this synopsis -- it is best to view to film to understand it, but it must be said he is as terrific as ever, even though there is not much chemistry between him and Giodorno. The director and writers have added so many bizarre touches to the story, such as Giodorno's club dancing sequence that turns into something else altogether, an extended voodoo ceremony that is quite odd, some whipping and sadism that appears from totally out of the blue, and appears more than once, all work together to make "Shadow of Illusion" truly bizarre and unique. Anyone even remotely interested in the actors, director, subject matter, or beautiful location shots of Egypt should not miss this film. It is rare on video, but a beautiful full-frame Japanese print was released and can be purchased on a high-quality US bootleg.
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