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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Rudolf van den Berg
Monique van de Ven,
Esmée de la Bretonière,
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Margareta von Krauss
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
This is one of the many made for cable horror films that Lamberto Bava directed at the end of the 1980s and that sadly disappeared in oblivion short after their making. Of course, these TV-productions don't belong to Bava junior's best works, but most of them are decent (except for the tedious "Dentro il Cimitero" and "La Casa dell' Orco"), and "La Maschera dell' Demonio" belongs to the best ones.
Even though the title suggests a remake of Mario Bava's 1960 landmark gothic horror film of the same title, this one has not much to do with it. Only the "historical background" is the same: the protagonists stumble over an old body of a witch with a mask on her face - and as soon as the mask is removed, evil things happen. The rest of the film is quite different to Bava senior's masterpiece. The setting is in the snowy mountains, and it's about possession, a hapless love relationship, demonic seduction (including a really nasty "date with a demoness") and surreal happenings. The surreal effects work by Italian master Sergio Stivaletti is very well done, remarkable for a rather low budgeted TV-production.
The film suffers a little bit from a slow pace halfway through it, but the climax which boosts some fine Lovecraftian ideas (that spawn most of the surreal effects work) makes up for it and is the real highlight of the movie. Add to that comparably decent acting (especially from Klaus Kinski's ex-girlfriend Deborah Caprioglio) and a good score by Simon Boswell, and You have a surprisingly good film that would have deserved far better distribution than it suffered a decade ago. 6 out of 10, and let's hope that "La Maschera del Demonio" won't be completely forgotten in the years to come.
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