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Buddha has the power to change the nature of a person into their opposite. He uses this power only when the world is in danger. When a villain obtains plans that could be used for peace or war, Buddha turns him into a good guy. Now what?
Interesting early mix of Gothic and Giallo elements
THE THIRD EYE (Mino Guerrini - Italy 1965).
This interesting little chiller by Mino Guerrini, starring Franco Nero and Erika Blanc, certainly was much better than I expected. Often categorized as an early Giallo, it's actually more of a mix of Gothic horror and some Giallo elements. Definitely not the six-penny quickie, I expected. It's quite an elaborate production, well-shot, with fine acting and cinematography.
Franco Nero is Mino, a young count who lives with his dominant mother and jealous servant Martha in an isolated mansion in the Italian countryside. Like Anthony Perkins in PSYCHO - with which this film shares quite a few parallels - Mino has a fascination with birds, particularly stuffed birds. A few days before his marriage with the young and beautiful Laura (Erika Blanc), she mysteriously dies in a car crash and soon-after, his mother is killed. Mino begins to lose his sanity and starts luring young women into his mansion in order to kill them, together with his willing accomplice Martha, who secretly loves him, but one day, a young woman visits him who looks just like his late fiancée Laura.
Although the "Count gone mad scenario" was already a bit over-used by the time the film was made, the (then) contemporary setting, the murder mystery angle, elegant production design, professional cinematography and more than adequate direction, make this one well worth a look and definitely a cut above the average attempt within European genre-film-making, to say the least. The film is also surprisingly candid in its sexual nature (although complete nudity is absent) and, regarding that aspect, is a typical exponent of the transitional period in the mid-sixties. Fans of Franco Nero might wanna take a look at him in a role as a neat, well-dressed and impeccably coiffured young man, quite the contrast to the sweaty, unshaven Django-look, or generally sleazy look, he would cultivate later in his career.
The film was remade as BURIED ALIVE (1978), the gore classic by Joe D'Amato.
Currently only available in German, but with the DVD-age already coming to a close, it's unlikely that this film will ever see an English-language release, so the German-only version is perhaps something even English speaking fans of obscure Italian cinema should consider.
Camera Obscura --- 7/10
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