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Gothic lesbians prowl the corridors of a miserable little castle in Italy and fall prey to a deranged count with resplendent canine gnashers, a ghostly white complexion and the personality of Atilla the Hun.
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Must See for all adult viewers fond of real Art Films with Edge!
It's been the talk of all Cult films lovers and Artsploitation's fans, for over a year,thanks to a very controversial Film Festivals run,that made many -apparently- walking out of the screenings horrified and,others love this film, like crazy: like a new "Manifesto"of a certain re-birth of the greater Euro exploitation/Genre's Cinema of 1960's/1970's. I just loved this film, despite its (few) flaws,and I do agree with whomever Awarded it,along with his incredible lead actor! I cannot hide to be a fan of that type of Films, especially of the Euro's from 30/40 years ago: they had just a different class,and were exceptionally 'visionary' and 'inventive'. People like Argento(in his first films),Fulci,Lenzi,Martino really knew how to mix mystery and pulp,sex and decadence with a narration rich of resources,like sophisticated angles,cinematography,editing and soundtracks! And I always believed some of the greatest Directors must have examined those films carefully to work on their most innovative styles. In fact those flicks were completely ahead of their Time,not because of the very often lurid content,wild storytelling or nudity, but mostly for how they were filmed and brilliant.They did define an unforgettable time! Cristopharo's film has all the elements of the movies of that Time, and even more! Besides having an incredibly unique art direction,costumes, make up and intense photography, its story never fails to surprise, to shock, to emotionally 'test' its audience! Never saw something like this before, maybe because back 30 years ago, it would have been impossible to film certain sequences that instead this feature showcases so fearlessly, you gotta give them credit to explore what's been never presented before (at least to my knowledge!). There are a bunch of real life S/M fetishists and body modifier's performers, mutilating themselves for real,people eating glass and swords, cutting their genitals and so on.. Even a few porn actors were hired to contribute real sex acts,which were though artistically filmed,and part of a key idea. Not for everyone.It's true! But, if you may just follow the movie, which will take you,surprise after surprise,for a walk among love and death, inside the sick mind of a child who's never really grown up, since he had been terribly abused: an experience, so worth watching,because of its efforts towards freedom of image and a stand against all hypocrisy,too common today, in anything we are fed with! HOFM,while creating sensational images, becomes highly lyrical. It is like a look at the "interiors" of someone abused and abandoned to his frightening life, without mercy,so emotional Like "Shame" of the great McQueen, this shocks because it's just telling the truth. However "Shame" may be shot with more of a mainstream approach and bigger budget, both films have a lot in common! HOFM may not always be as fluid, has some plot holes, some moments that stretch credibility, but it remains indeed one of the most convictive,unique and stylish film, I have watched lately! It's truly brave! It took me to Hell and back! I am amazed of how much it still haunts me! We're definitely closer to a much higher quality of filmmaking, mixing,almost hyper-realistic tones, with a more natural,emotional strength, that could surprise even the most skeptical! Cristopharo is certainly, after this, a new personality in international Cinema, i can only hope he'll be able to maintain at least these high levels of integrity in both the narration and his visionary expression:he's able to make work astonishingly well, some of the oddest material ever filmed,and-this must be said too- some parts of his own script,not so clear, or excessive! Maybe,this is really the only flaw i could point out in this movie. HOFM benefits also, besides,of a brave director and,of,an extremely talented and dedicated crew,of an exceptional lead actor. Domiziano Arcangeli plays this role as it lays, with so much emotional transfer and much "naked" intensity, that it is not difficult to imagine his private life must have not been that easy, either! Unless he's one of the best actors of these times, someone must know certain "ugly" places very well himself, to be able to so perfectly convey all the demands of his Sebastian,while,perfectly nailing and realistically reproducing all the sadness, fear,anger,and even the shock of a human being who's been mercilessly abused,and displayed like a mannequin himself! Some must not know, nor care to know of how an abused person can still be or survive! Arcangeli instead indeed does care "enough": his performance becomes the soul of HOFM, he's not only effective,and haunting,he's an unforgettable presence too! Then, there's the beauty,ambiguity of Irena A. Hoffman, so gorgeous,sexy, burning, to be able to create a phenomenal 'antagonist' to Arcangeli! She's wildly intoxicating playing the new neighbor, living in some crumbling building, who starts spying on Sebastian,maybe just because she's only a tad bored with her grim life ( a blind father, who's also often drunk, played with darkness,by star Giovanni Lombardo Radice,and a cocky boyfriend, who looks like a model and behaves like a douche bag). But she will bring several twists to the very narration of the film,instead, becoming some sort of Femme Fatale... The rest of the principle cast isn't even nearly close,to the level of Arcangeli and Hoffman.But there's the circus of Freaks, let me tell you, some of the most beautiful women, I've ever saw, unfortunately,at times, just briefly shot,performing some hallucinating acts,or a few guys, who look like just coming out of an asylum, or a crack house. But, they all work so greatly in their ensemble, by giving to this film, just the right amount of credibility to make you want to take a dance with the darkest place on earth and mind, making you believe, you may not be even watching a movie anymore: the tragic message of this cruel story may break your heart, after all! Believe it or not, this movie manages to break your heart as well! A must see!
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