A group of skiers get lost in the mountains, and come across the snowy tomb of a centuries-old witch. They accidentally awaken the witch's vengeful spirit, who then proceeds to possess them one by one.
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A group of skiers in Northern Italy land in a huge crevasse where they find the body of a long dead girl covered by a mask. Out of curiosity and nothing better to do they remove the mask and start playing games with it. Turns out this dead girl is the witch Anibas who had been condemned to die by burning and the mask put on her face to prevent her return. Written by
La Maschera del Demonio, Lamberto Bava's homage to his father's '60s classic Black Sunday, is one of those films than can be described as operating on 'dream logic', which is the polite way of saying that the film makes no sense whatsoever, moving from one scene to another without any concern for narrative cohesion.
The film opens with a group of young skiers falling into a crevasse, after which they discover the body of a witch called Anibas encased in ice and remove the mask covering her face, thereby releasing her evil spirit. While the friends squabble about who should have the mask, there is a cave-in that kills one of the group and seals the exit. Exploring the ice cave, the group stumble upon a church and find a passage that leads to a ghost town inhabited by a blind cleric, who offers them shelter. While they wait for the weather to improve, the youngsters become possessed by the witch's spirit, all except for David, who tries to escape with his girlfriend Sabina before she too becomes one of Anibas's victims.
That's the basic gist of the plot, but there is so much more that makes this one a real head-scratcher: Sabina's miraculously cured leg injury; the dead guy coming back to life; Sabina turning into a wizened old hag with shrivelled tits, frogs legs and a large chicken foot; David being protected by a green force field; the witch appearing with Medusa-style hair; the dumb revelation that the kids' initials spell 'Anibas' (which just happens to be Sabina spelled backwards); and an ending that I am at a complete loss to explain.
Sadly, what sounds like goofy funa ridiculously OTT exercise in incongruous Italian excessactually proves to be tedious in the extreme thanks to lifeless direction, irritating performances and scenes that simply don't know when to call it a day (the bit where the possessed friends link hands and repeatedly chant at the cleric nearly broke me).
1/10. When a chicken-footed, sex-mad witch and some gratuitous female nudity still results in the lowest possible rating, you know it's got to be bad!
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