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The Three Faces of Terror More at IMDbPro »I tre volti del terrore (original title)

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9 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Three faces of lame

Author: winterpage from Lao People's Democratic Republic
4 July 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I can't believe this movie has a decent rating and won some visual effects award. I mean, the werewolf effects were terrible. Hell, the lake monster effect is cheesy as hell. Jason and the Argonauts had better graphics than the travesty of the lake monster. For a minute, I thought I was playing the God of War II on PS2 except that monsters in GOW had way better graphics.

You have got to see the acting to believe it. Everyone did their darndest impression of cardboard figures. You know in some porn movies, the stars look stiff and talk as if there are something in their mouth? Yeah, something like that. Seriously, you can't wait for all of them to be killed off. The story lines are all cookie-cutters. Nothing you haven't seen before. The whole movie is just one long extended episode of the twilight zone or outer limits. Big deal. I would given this movie a 1 but given that it is obviously low budget and the lead actress is incredibly hot, I will concede and give it a two.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

How far the Italian horror industry has fallen!

Author: udar55 from Williamsburg, VA
22 November 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Three strangers awaken in a train car and find the mysterious Prof. Price (John Phillip Law) there with a hypnosis device that allows the user to see a story about themselves. First story - a grave robber steals a ring off a corpse and his fence (Law again) discovers the mysterious secret/curse behind it. Second story - an actress (working on DEMONS 7, no less) takes her friend to visit a plastic surgeon (Law one more time) but finds her friend has an odd request. Third story - three friends head to a lake but don't heed the warning of a stranger (Law one last time) who tells them to split before sundown.

This is an incredibly lame Italian horror anthology from FX-man-turned- director Sergio Stivaletti. First off, you will probably figure this thing out in three minutes (or by just reading the plot synopsis above). Stivaletti, who also wrote it, does himself no favors when, in the first 5 minutes, Prof. Price announces his device tells you a story about your PAST! Gee, I wonder if these folks are really, gasp, dead? Doubly non- shocking for anyone who has ever seen an Amicus anthology.

It would be slightly entertaining if the proceedings weren't so incredibly lame. The entire film is shot-on-video and looks like one of those low budget Ivan Zuccon flicks. How far the Italian horror industry has fallen! Stivaletti does succeed in some good FX (he better!) and Law, who sounds more and more like Roger Corman, gives a decent performance. The only thing I found truly enjoyable here was the obligatory bad English dubbing. My favorite exchange:

Girl: "What about a sandwich?"

Boy 1: "Yeah, sounds great. You made it, didn't you? With your own hands."

Boy 2: "Okay, I'll take one too."

The only thing funnier than that is Stivaletti's final shot with his depiction of what God looks like as he hovers above earth.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Rubbish Italian horror anthology.

Author: Paul Andrews ( from UK
19 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I Tre Volti del Terrore starts as hypnotist Professor Peter Price (John Phillip Law) sits down in a train carriage, he introduces himself to the other three passengers sat there, after the other three become interested in the Professor's work he decides to give them a demonstration in which he will use the power of hypnotism to reveal past events...

First up is Marco (Riccardo Serventi Longhi) who becomes the star of a story called 'The Ring of the Moon' involving tomb robbing & an ancient silver ring that has the power to turn it's wearer into a Werewolf...

Next up it's Sandra (Ambre Even) featuring in a story called 'A Perfect Face' in which she & her best friend Barbara (Elisabetta Rocchetti) visit renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Fisher who decides to take Barbara's request rather to literally...

Finally Carlo (Emiliano Reggente) gets the hypnotism treatment & finds himself in a story called 'The Lake Keeper' where he & two friends decide to stay the night at a lake but discover unspeakable horrors lurking within the depths...

This Italian production is widely known to English speaking audiences as The Three Faces of Terror & was co-written, produced & directed by Sergio Stivaletti who also makes a brief cameo appearance. The Italian film industry was well known for it's cheap gore laden horror films of the 70's & early 80's but it's output has dried up over the last couple of decades apart from the odd Dario Argento flick although occasionally we get the odd dismal offering such as I Tre Volti del Terrore. The horror anthology was one particular sub-genre that the Italians never really exploited, it was British studios such as Amicus with excellent films like The House that Dripped Blood (1971), Tales from the Crypt (1972), Asylum (1972), From Beyond the Grave (1973) & The Vault of Horror (1973) that specialised in this type of thing & I Tre Volti del Terrore ends up looking pretty poor by comparison. In my opinion these anthology stories need to quick, fast paced horror material with a nice dark twist ending & that's ultimately where I Tre Volti del Terrore fails & lets the audience down. The three stories are generally quite poor, they make little sense (how did that Werewolf hunter guy know where the Werewolf would be at the end? What was that plastic surgeon keeping people frozen for? What reason did he have to do what he did? How could a six foot man & a fifty foot tall sea monster be brother's?) & to top it off the wraparound story set on a train is a direct rip-off of the Amicus horror anthology Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965) & features exactly the same twist before a bizarre ending in which we see a young boy in pyjama's sitting at a desk floating in outer space orbiting the Earth drawing pictures! I kid you not, try to work that one out because I sure as hell can't. I usually like horror anthologies but this is just poor with three really weak stories that make no sense although the way each story cuts off just before the end & then the endings are finally shown one after the other at the end is quite novel but I am not sure most will make it that far.

Director Stivaletti includes a clip of his directorial debut Wax Mask (1997). Although clearly shot on video at least there's none of that hand-held shaky camcorder look or feel about it which is good & it's reasonably well made. Although short on actual gore there are one or two decent special effects scenes like a fairly impressive Werewolf transformation, someone's face being removed, there's a severed arm & a fun stop-motion animated sea monster. Amazingly this apparently got a theatrical release in Italy. The English dubbing is poor & the awkward broken English dialogue just sounds daft, distinguished late actor John Phillip Law is the only member of the cast I recognised & he deserves better than this.

I Tre Volti del Terrore is a poor attempt a British styled horror anthology film by those Italians, they should stick to the zombies & cannibals. Not recommended & let down in particular by three weak stories.

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12 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Great tribute to vintage horror!

Author: Coventry from the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls
16 March 2005

The name Sergio Stivaletti might not immediately ring a bell but this talented man has been part of the prominent Italian horror industry for over more than two decades now. Stivaletti is the regular special effects designer/make up artist of Dario Argento, Lamberto Bava and Michele Soavi (and isn't it true that we especially love their films for the visuals?) and in the late nineties he made his directorial debut with the terrific but regretfully overlooked "The Wax Mask". Stivaletti's Wax Mask already was a beautiful homage to the ancient Gothic wax museum thrillers but he really excelled oneself here with this nearly brilliant tribute to vintage horror. In a good old-fashioned anthology style (the references towards Mario Bava's "Black Sabbath" and Freddie Francis' "Dr. Terror's House of Horrors" are numerous) Stivaletti centers on three train passengers who're each served an eerie experience, involving three classic B-movie themes: the hideous lake-monster, a mad doctor and – my personal favorite – the werewolf! Two men and a woman are approached by this hypnotist, played by John Phillip Law from "Danger: Diabolik!", and they have a vision from looking into the crystal attribute he's carrying with him. In "The Moonring", two small crooks rob an Etruscan grave in command of a rich collector. One of them keeps a valuable ring for himself and he soon finds himself undergoing a horrifying transformation. The curse of the Etruscan mummy, attached to wearing the ring, is turning him into a ravenous werewolf! This first story was my absolute favorite! Not only because it features an authentic werewolf but because it has great sets, atmospheric scenery and wondrous gore! The werewolf metamorphosis is fantastic and, without a doubt, the best since "An American Werewolf in London". The numerous werewolf fans subscribed at this site should check out this film if it were only for the transformation. The second chapter – "Dr. Lifting" – works especially as a spoof towards the recent trend of unnecessary plastic surgery and as an ode to classic Gothic chillers in which obsessive doctors desperately attempt to succeed in face-transplantation. A young woman who already had a few beauty-operations enters the cabinet of Dr. Fisher (obvious reference to the famous Hammer director), with the request to look exactly like her actress friend Sandra. The coolness of this tale depends on the rhythmic use of beat music and the icky images of surgery tools. The gore in this story is outrageous and brutal and will definitely be appreciated by the most demanding horror fanatic. The third and final story catapults you straight back to the glorious 50's! This story represents the glorious creature feature and giant monster sub genre. A remote lake is inhabited by a cheesy monster that assaults young visitors upon their arrival.

The entire film is filled with a great, typically Italian musical score and Stivaletti proves himself to be a very gifted director who stood in the shadows of Italy's greatest for too long. Of course, I can't really claim that "The Three Faces of Terror" is a total masterpiece and must admit that the viewer has to endure a few regretful flaws. (Extra spoiler alert!) The wraparound story eventually becomes a bit tedious and I'm not sure if Stivaletti's idea to make all the stories end abruptly, only to bring them all together near the end, was such a good one. It sort of feels like the tension is being cut off at the climax... (End spoiler!) Nevertheless, this is a movie that proves a lot of things: European horror is not dead and there are still writers and directors that respect the genre and equally long for the old times. To me personally, it also proved that the Italien horror industry still easily beats the over-hyped Asian market. I saw "I tre volti del Terrore" at a festival, presented by Sergio Stivaletti himself. It was nice to witness an exclusive premiere but moreover I hope that this film will receive a world-wide release, so that it can reach the largest possible horror audience. If you have the change of seeing it: don't hesitate!

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Watchable and entertaining enough but definitely disappointing anthology horror

Author: t-birkhead from United Kingdom
22 March 2009

I really wanted to like this one more, I wanted to sit down and watch, be engrossed, thrilled and intrigued and to be able to rest at the end thinking that Italian horror is still an important force this decade and not just the source of little more than a small smattering of good films. Things looked promising with Sergio Stivaletti directing, a man who has worked on the special effects for a number of Italian horrors, including the odd solid classic like Demons. He also made his directorial debut with the almost superb Wax Mask, to which this film does not really compare. The plot has a hypnotist sending three strangers on a train into their own sinister paths and the stories deal with a werewolf, plastic surgery and a lake monster. The main problem with the film is its ambition, which unfortunately the budget is ill equipped to support. This problem highlights the shortcomings in the writing and combines with the issue of the dubbing to knock holes in the film in terms of quality. The film sets out to pay tribute to classic horror, with various references to other Italian films, the hypnotist being named Professor Price and an ending that follows the lines of an old anthology horror which afficionados may recognise. The direction is decent, good angles, use of the locations and camera moves to make the most of the action, but the film is shot on digital video and so a cheap appearance is unavoidable since it tries to hark back to films that frequently looked relatively sumptuous. There are a few weak effects as well, mostly the non practical ones, cgi and such, but the practical effects are mostly decent. There is fun to be had in the first story, fine suspense in the second and a likable cheesiness and fun twist to the third. The music, mostly synth noodling, is sometimes fun but often cheesy and sometimes lame, whilst the dubbing is almost entirely inept and lame, with a few really shoddy moments. The film is ultimately quite entertaining in a few spots, and its pretty easy viewing but in the end I can only really recommend it to completists, as it is liable to be lacking in value for others.

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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Decent Italian anthology

Author: The_Void from Beverley Hills, England
8 January 2010

The Three Faces of Terror is a horror anthology film made by special effects artist Sergio Stivaletti. Stivaletti worked with many of the luminaries of Italian horror, including Dario Argento, Sergio Martino and Riccardo Freda; and their influence appears to have rubbed off on him somewhat as while this isn't a great film by any stretch of the imagination; it's an interesting one that harks back to some of the classics of Italian horror; most notably Mario Bava's masterpiece Black Sabbath, of which the title is a direct reference. The first story also takes influence from the Bava film as a major plot point involves someone taking a ring from the finger of a dead person. While on a dig, a man takes a ring from the finger of a mummy and subsequently finds himself dealing with a curse - that being that he turns into a werewolf! The story is not as interesting as it could have been (certainly a recurring theme in this film) and that's a shame. He finally does turn into a werewolf at the end and as you would expect given the director's primary vocation, it features a good change sequence and the werewolf costumes isn't all that bad either.

The second story is probably the most inventive of the three and focuses on the subject of plastic surgery. A woman goes to see a surgeon with her friend; and requests that she has her face altered to look just like said friend. The doctor and the friend subsequently disappear; leaving the girl on a strange odyssey through the surgery. While inventive in theme, this theme is not particularly thick on the story side and that leaves it rather lacking as it doesn't really go anywhere. The final story was my favourite and is entitled 'Guardian of the Lake'. This simply focuses on a bunch of friends that go for a relaxing weekend at a lake and end up becoming dinner for a monster that happens to live in the lake. This film has some originality with regards to the wraparound story as each of the stories ends; before we get the final conclusion of each story once the third story has - apparently - finished. This doesn't particularly add anything to the film; but I don't think I've seen this in an anthology before. The conclusion to the wraparound is decent also - although anyone who has seen the British classic Tales from the Crypt won't be very surprised.

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6 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

back to basis with old but good horror classic

Author: Carlo Macchiavello ( from Italy
20 September 2005

Sergio Stivaletti IS ones of Italian Horror movie future, i see only DVD version, i can't see at cinema, but i think that movie collect all fashion of old movies that a lot of people love.

For an old movies fan like me, that love old style horror movies, it's a masterpiece, that show a very good direction, a nice photography, and old, simple, but good stories.

if you like old movie with actor like vincent price, peter cushing, directed by master of horror like Terence Fisher, Corman, Bava, Freda, and more, you like that movie, which is an honest homage to these old movies.

Stivaletti is ones of few men in Italy that try and risk in first person to produce that kind of movie, that actually are not more produced in Italy, but them are our past (yes, i'm an Italian guy), and i would like to be the present and future of Italian production.

how many people can tell to risk in first touch? in my mind i can think to people like R.rodrigez, S.raimi, but are few people, well, here there is another talented guy, Sergio stivaletti.

p.s. i ear English track, and i show (i show the movie, to be correct) to some my friends (not italians friends), Australian and German, and they tell my that is not so terrible English.

p.p.s. check first edition of mad max, and try to understand that mel Gibson told in that movie.... you discover that is not simple to act and talk fluently in English, also if is your first language.

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