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The Third Eye has been pretty much forgotten; but many fans of Italian horror will have heard of the film it heavily influenced; Joe D'Amato's notorious exploitation effort Beyond the Darkness. This one does not have the gore and savagery of the later film and it has to be said that Mino Guerrini's film is rather more arty than horrific. The film is also often seen as a precursor to the Giallo genre, though the links between the two are weak at best. Personally, I would describe this film as Gothic horror, and a precursor to later Italian exploitation. The plot focuses on Mino; a young nobleman that lives in a big house with his mother and their maid. His fiancée, Laura, is not well liked by either the mother or the maid, who seem jealous of her presence. The mother, therefore, decides to sever Laura's brakes and this results in a car accident that kills Laura. Meanwhile, the mother and the maid have a fight and the mother dies are being thrown down the stairs. This leads Mino into madness and murder; he kills a couple of women, before Laura's twin sister arrives at the house...
The film stars the great Franco Nero in an early lead role and of course he delivers an excellent performance that mirrors the one he would go on to play a few years later in Elio Petri's A Quiet Place in the Country. The atmosphere is also a major part of the film and the central location is a great place for a Gothic horror film to take place; director Mino Guerrini makes good use of it and creates a claustrophobic feel for the film. The influences for the film are clear; with Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho being foremost among them. The Third Eye features some really rather morbid elements such as necrophilia, but through the way it's shot, the film always manages to retain an artful feel and this is a bit of a downer in my opinion as the film could have used a bit more impact. It does remain interest for the duration, however, and everything eventually boils down to a fitting conclusion. Overall, this is a rare film and sourcing an English language version is not easy; but it's well worth the effort for Italian horror fans.
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