Il mulino delle donne di pietra (1960) Poster

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7/10
A Stone's Throw from Greatness
BaronBl00d1 July 2006
This is one of the films that is very atmospheric, stylish, and inventive in the European 60's fashion. The story is somewhat of a cross between Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rappacini's Daughter" and the film House of Wax. An art professor is keeping a secret about his invalid, beautiful, seductive daughter Elfi away from Hans von Arnam, a man sent to write a piece on the centennial of the professor's mill and its famous statues of women that move around on a carousel-like machine. The statues are of famous women through history as well as having local historical murderesses and victims displayed. Living with the professor and Elfi is a strange doctor. Amidst this strange four-sided triangle, women are disappearing. The story is'nt too hard to figure out and much is given away early on. What it does do quite nicely is create a slowly-paced mood that leads to an interesting if not wholly imaginative denouement. The style infused throughout the picture is a credit to Italian director Giorgio Ferroni. The use of colors, the settings, the haunting carousel music, the "waxworks" themselves all help create the oppressive almost hallucinogenic mood. The acting is pretty good overall with Wolfgang Preiss as the complex doctor and especially Robert Boehme as Professor Gregorious Wahl standing out. Scilla Gabel as Elfi is just gorgeous as is Liana Orfei as one of the girls that gets missing. The production looks very German in manner and style - another compliment to the director. There are several scenes which stand out: the first time we see the carousel moving, nay, almost cranking itself away past those that have come to gawk at it, the drug-induced dream sequence Hans goes through, and the ending - a real barn-burner! Mill of the Stone Women isn't a fast-paced horror film but if you like movies like Black Sunday or Bava's work in general - Ferroni seems to have some similar directorial flair.
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8/10
ReWaximator
Gafke20 March 2004
This is a nice, creepy film, reminding me of a cross between "ReAnimator" (without the humor), "House of Wax" and the "Twice Told Tales" episode with Vincent Price as the father of an untouchable daughter.

A young man staying at an old windmill-turned-wax museum is seduced by the strange and beautiful young daughter of the man who runs the mill, himself an eccentric old scientist. (is there any other kind?) But he, his daughter, and the family doctor who cares for and loves her, are all hiding a terrible secret...and there's a reason why the wax statues of famous villainous women all look so lifelike! When the pretty, innocent girl from the nearby village, (whom our hero has fallen in love with, despite the best efforts of Creepy Girl) goes mysteriously missing, it's off to the mill to learn the terrible truth!

This is a dreamy, sometimes slow-moving, but never disappointing film which features a great "acid trip" sequence and the surprising nudity of several buxom young hotties. Should not be missed by fans of the colorful Italian, Hammer- esque genre. Wonderfully atmospheric and genuinely creepy. Great stuff!
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8/10
Neatly expressionistic mood piece
LARSONRD4 July 2005
Neatly expressionistic mood piece about a mad scientist/sculptor trying to keep his afflicted daughter from turning to stone by transfusing her with the blood of local babes. The storyline (a favorite of European horror films - THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF and EYES WITHOUT A FACE also had to do with a mad scientist trying to save a deformed daughter at the expense of anyone within reach) has holes thick enough to bowl a woman's severed head through, but the film is great on atmosphere and ambiance. Completed without credit by Mario Bava after director Giorgio Ferroni began it, the Mondo Macabro DVD version includes the uncut French edition (massacred in bad US VHS prints till now). This film was one of two that reportedly started the Eurohorror boom of the '60s and '70s, of which Bava was a primary maestro.
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8/10
A handsomely produced, fascinating exercise in celluloid fear
fertilecelluloid17 July 2005
Beautifully directed and photographed European horror film that owes a debt to Franju's EYES WITHOUT A FACE.

An evocative, creepy score by Carlo Innocenzi helps director Giorgio Ferroni conjure a work of great atmosphere and intense drama.

As in EYES and Franco's ORLOFF, the subject is a fanatic obsessed with preserving the life of a dearly departed member of his family -- in this case, his daughter Elfi, played by the achingly beautiful and sensual Scilla Gabel.

The setting, a windmill outside Amsterdam, is a superb arena for the fantastic goings-on that provide frisson upon frisson of wonder and dread. The "stone women" of the title are frightening, fascinating figures of fear and are richly employed by Ferroni who demonstrates an acute talent for fantasy.

The superb opening sequence establishes a mood that never falters, and the exciting finale, with the Stone Women ablaze, is pure magic.

A handsomely produced gem.
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7/10
What's It All About, Elfy?
ferbs5413 December 2009
Most people who write about the 1960 French-Italian coproduction "Mill of the Stone Women" can't seem to resist comparing it, and quite rightly, to "House of Wax" (1953) and "Eyes Without a Face" (1959); I guess I've just done so myself! But "Mill" has a lot more to offer than just a mashup of those two great pictures. In it, handsome Pierre Brice plays Hans van Harnim, a writer in what appears to be late 19th century Holland, who goes to the windmill home of one Prof. Wahl to do a story on his unusual abode and the professor/sculptor's carousel collection of grotesque female statues. What follows, for van Harnim, is quite the nightmarish experience, as he discovers the secrets of both this statuary and Wahl's mysterious daughter, Elfy. While not nearly as classic or seminal as two other horror films that premiered that year--Mario Bava's "Black Sunday" and Uncle Alfie's "Psycho" (then again, how many pictures are?)--"Mill" still manages to provide some shudders. The film begins quite eerily, and its unusual backdrop, that of the misty canal district in Holland's countryside, is a unique one for a horror film. An hallucinatory freakout sequence that transpires roughly halfway in is truly disorienting, before the picture turns to more conventional, albeit still quite fun, mad-scientist fare. The film also gives us handsome sets, nicely muted colors, interesting direction by Giorgio Ferroni, and perhaps the most inspired use of a creepy windmill since Uncle Alfie's "Foreign Correspondent" (1940). And almost stealing the show, in her role as Elfy, is Scilla Gabel, a gorgeous actress with Sophia Loren-type looks and the otherworldly air of the young Barbara Steele. In all, a very fine horror outing, nicely presented on this DVD from the good folks at Mondo Macabro, and with loads of fine extras, to boot.
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9/10
Hauntingly Beautiful Gothic Gem Warning: Spoilers
"Black Sunday", "House Of Usher", "Eyes Without A Face", "City Of The Dead",... 1960 sure was one of the greatest years ever for Horror cinema, especially for Gothic Horror. In the same year in which Mario Bava brought us the arguably greatest Gothic Horror film ever (and, in my opinion, one of the greatest films ever made) with his masterpiece "La Maschera Del Demonio" (aka. "Black Sunday") and Roger Corman began the arguably greatest Horror cycle in film history with the brilliant "House Of Usher", director Giorgio Ferroni enriched the world of Horror with this atmospheric and hauntingly beautiful gem called "Il Mulino Delle Donne Di Pietra" aka. "Mill Of The Stone Women", a film with an incredible sense of Gothic beauty and eerie atmosphere that no true Horror fan could possibly afford to miss. A French/Italian Co-production, the film is based on an unknown story by Pieter van Weigen. The creepy, morbid and incredibly fascinating storyline is very similar to that of Georges Franju's masterpiece "Les Yeux Sans Visage" aka. "Eyes Without A Face", which was made in the same year, but the execution is different in style. Morbid stories about mad scientists who target innocent young women in order to restore life, youth or beauty of one specific young woman were a very popular Horror theme in the late 50s and early 60s, and tales of the kind are still among the most fascinating topics the Horror genre has ever brought forth. What also makes this film an absolute must is the eerie atmosphere, the ingenious photography, superb settings and mesmerizing use of color.

Journalist Hans (Pierre Brice) comes to the small town of Veeze in order to write a story about the 'Mill Of The Stone Women', a macabre museum in which female statues in morbid situations such as executions are displayed on a mill-wheel. The museum is kept by Professor Wahl (Herbert A.E. Böhme), who keeps his beautiful daughter Elfi (Scilla Gabel) locked in the Windmill. The house is furthermore inhabited by the sinister doctor Bohlem (Wolfgang Preiss)... I don't want to give away too much of the story, but I can assure it gets morbid, haunting and fascinating. The film's visual style and morbid atmosphere often earns it comparisons to Mario Bava's masterpieces. The locations and settings are beautiful and immensely eerie alike and the brilliant camera-work and excellently eerie score contribute a lot to the creepy and unsettling atmosphere. The performances are also very good and the characters are intriguing. I am not a very big fan of Pierre Brice in general (where I live he is mainly known for the incredibly cheesy German Karl May flicks), but he delivers an excellent performance here. The highest praise, however has to go to Herbert A. E. Böhme for his brilliant portrayal of the sinister professor and, especially, to the ravishing Scilla Gabel. Gabel is a stunning beauty and great actress and she delivers a wonderful performance as the mysterious and seductive Elfi Wahl. Wolfgang Preiss is very sinister as the doctor and Dany Carell fits well in her role of the innocent girl. "Mill Of The Stone Women" is an elegant and haunting masterpiece that no lover of Gothic greatness can possibly afford to miss!
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10/10
Mill of the Stone Women
Scarecrow-8828 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
An art student, Hans von Arnim(Pierre Brice)is on assignment working in the windmill studio of a prestigious sculptor, Professor Gregorius Wahl(Herbert Böhme)who teaches classes and is developing a carnival depicting important female historical figures whose fates were grim. Hans discovers that Wahl has a lovely daughter, Elfie(..the ravishing, voluptuous Scilla Gabel)who is kept hidden in his house and soon the two have a sexual affair with problems concerning her health and mental instability complicating matters. Wahl has a special physician working for him, Dr. Loren Bohlem(Wolfgang Preiss)who sees to his daughter's illness. What Hans doesn't know is that Wahl and Bohlem kidnap young women, using their blood to keep Elfie alive. Elfie, despite knowing their ghoulish methods, doesn't mind because she is kept young and beautiful in the process. Even more diabolical is that Wahl uses the female corpses as sculptures for his exhibits! But, Bohlem's in love with Elfie, Elfie's in love with Hans, Hans is in love with a fellow art student Liselotte(Dany Carrel), and Gregorius will not have anyone complicating his keeping Elfie alive. Bohlem's desire for Elfie will complicate his working relationship with Gregorius. But, a true thorn in their side is Hans who poses a threat to their neatly run operation when he discovers that Elfie is in fact "dead." Developing a possible serum for Elfie, Bohlem discovers that a certain person's blood type would in fact be needed so that they would never need supplies of blood again..the very one's blood they need is Liselotte's. They will try to keep Hans at bay by putting him through the rigors of a hallucinogenic drug which produces a nightmarish effect blurring reality and fantasy. But, the situation becomes heated between Gregorius and Bohlem over Elfie, and Hans will pursue the whereabouts of his missing love Liselotte.

Superb Gothic chiller with the most perfect setting, rivaling even castles..I mean, seriously, a windmill which not houses a carnival of exhibits made with sculptures of human victims(..and operating the sculptures which escape from a door bursting forth to often startle the audience, are the gears within the windmill, quite an architectural achievement), but a basement which contains the lab where Bohlem conducts his blood treatments! It's too good to be true, but it is. I'm not sure why others haven't used a windmill more, because the director proves just how wonderful an atmospheric tool it is. I guess it's partly inspired by "Frankenstein", except the director creates inventive ways to use the windmill. But, it seems that(..judging by the climax)that the director doesn't forget where his inspiration come from. The hallucinogenic nightmare sequence is quite a spellbinding experience..we are just as bewildered at what is transpiring as Hans is. Böhme and Preiss are appropriate villains, both desiring Elfie's safety and beauty intact. Böhme has a great devious scene where he hovers over a kidnapped victim tied to a slab about to have her blood drained, promising her situation would be all over soon, carrying a look of mania on his face(..the camera looks upward as he stares directly at us, his eyes wide with madness). I'm not sure why "Mill of the Stone Women" isn't more widely known..I only found out about it through word of mouth. I think this film belongs alongside the great masterworks made by Ferroni's contemporaries in the 60's, Bava, Fisher & Corman. The climax(..the windmill and Gregorius and Elfie's fate)certainly ends in a blaze of glory. "Mill of the Stone Women" is an atmospheric marvel any horror fan with an opportunity to check out.
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9/10
An aesthetically wrought hidden gem of horror.
BrentCarleton16 February 2006
Without question an inappropriate, inane, or pulpy comic book style title has waylaid many a significant and otherwise worthy terror film. "Curse of the Cat People," remains affixed to a story of child psychology, "Kill Baby Kill," remains affixed to a wondrous 19th century European ghost story, and here, perhaps worst of all, "Mill of the Stone Women," is the awkward moniker stuck to this artistically accomplished film.

With a clunky title like "Mill of the Stone Women," it is scarcely any wonder that the film has remained largely unknown,unremarked upon, and unavailable for nearly 50 years ! What a pity, for here is a story produced with such an aesthetically accomplished loving care that each frame breathes a compositional beauty of the highest standard.

The felicitous combination of Arrigo Equini's art direction and Pier Ludovico Pavoni's photography in this picture, recalls the best of Jack Asher, Floyd Crosby, Mario Bava, Bernard Robinson, and Daniel Haller and has, in not a few of the tableaux rendered here, even surpassed these masters. Even Mario Praz would probably approve!

From the opening shot of the windmill on the lake under a leaden sky, to its shadowy, beautifully appointed interior parlors, complete with the anti-heroine, Scilla Gabel, peaking mournfully through the portières--while the soundtrack gives forth with a disquieting numinous wail--the film rarely fails to sound the genuine Gothic note.

Add to that one of the most disturbing, (far more so than "House of Wax") use of a waxworks yet seen on the screen. For here we have, not merely figures of unsettling visage, but figures that mechanically encircle a stage--Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, sallying threateningly towards the camera in a nightmarish parade--all to the accompaniment of a tune that might have been composed by Truman Capote! There are many exquisite scenes to savor: Miss Scabra's blood red boudoir, a scene of her beneath the lid of a dusty glass coffin holding yellow roses against her very dead, old ivory like complexion, a laboratory sequence that pulls out all the stops, a charming stop at a beer garden type pub, complete with accordions and pretzel stands, a climactic fire with the dummies melting in grotesque close-ups, not to mention a beautifully costumed, very accomplished, and handsome cast of players.

Miss Gabel seems very much in the Gina Lollobrigida mold, but manages facial expressions of such uncanny yearning that is easy to imagine Mr. Brice falling under her spell. In this sense, she joins company with Barbara Steele, as one of the very few women able to combine beauty and eeriness in equal measure.

Pierre Brice approaches his assignment with convincing earnestness and looks very much like a cross between Stephen Boyd and Horst Buchold.

A special compliment should be paid to the Technicolor here, which never shrieks, but delivers cold blues and unearthly reds in a fashion that favorably recalls Pressburger's "Tales of Hoffmann." And take a good look at the hutch in the ante-room of Mr. Brice's bedroom; it is the same one featured in Jacqueline Pierreux's parlor in Bava's "Black Sabbath"--the one she keeps her liquor in. Perhaps Mr. Brice had a yard sale! In any case, to fans of the genre, this film is highly recommended.
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8/10
The definition of atmosphere
bensonmum25 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Mill of the Stone Women is the story of a researcher named Hans who is finishing a book on the famous sculptor Professor Wahl and his carousel. The carousel features wax representations of women being tortured and killed in a variety of sadistic and inventive ways. A meeting with the Professor's beautiful, seductive daughter, Elfi, ignites conflicting passions within Hans because of his one true love Liselotte. Things are even more complicated because breaking the news to Elfi will not be easy. She suffers from a rare disease that can cause death if she becomes too upset or disturbed. In addition, Hans is convinced that Professor Wahl is up to some twisted experiments that may involve several of the local women including his Liselotte. Hans must solve the mystery of the windmill and the carousel if he is to save himself and the one woman he cares about.

What Works:

  • Atmosphere, Atmosphere, Atmosphere. If you're into atmosphere with your horror, look no further than Mill of the Stone Women. Most movies can't claim to have 1/10 of the atmosphere found here. The barren landscape, the isolated windmill, the constant overcast skies, the dark corridors with secret rooms in the windmill, the eerie music, the twisted carousel of death, and the Gothic trappings everywhere you look all add to a movie that just drips with atmosphere. The movie takes it's time and doesn't rush or try to force things. There's a real foreboding sense of unease that runs throughout the movie. There are moments when you might think the atmosphere is going to literally ooze from the screen into your living room.


  • Scilla Gabel. Gabel is one of those women of the 60s that I don't think exist anymore. She's from that Sophia Loren - Claudia Cardinale – Daliah Lavi mold of women that were a product of that time. She may never be confused with a great actress, but she has a screen presence that's hard to beat.


  • Prof. Gregorius Wahl. What a character! Robert Boehme does an excellent job of playing a mad, but goofy, genius. By the end of Mill of the Stone Women, though, it's easy to feel some sympathy for him as his dreams are shattered. It's an excellent piece of acting from a man whose acting credits only include this movie.


  • Wooden Shoes. Any movie with people wearing wooden shoes has to get a bonus point from me.


What Doesn't Work:

  • Slow Going. For me, this is a plus. But I put it here to warn those who prefer a movie with a killing or explosion every five minutes.


  • Love Story. Because Hans represents a new, exciting life, it's easy to see why Elfi might quickly fall for him. And, because Elfi is such a looker, it's easy to see why Hans might be interested in Elfi. But the fact that both are declaring their undying love for each other after one five-minute meeting stretches the imagination quite a bit.


In the end, Mill of the Stone Women is one of the finest examples of a Gothic, atmospheric movie ever made. The film plays like a combination of The House of Wax meets Eyes Without a Face. It's a wonderful movie that I enjoy more each time I get the chance to watch.
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8/10
Lush Gothic atmosphere with a haunting plot line
The_Void10 April 2006
Based on a Flemish short story by Pieter Van Weigen, Mill of the Stone Women is an excellent slice of Eurocult Gothic horror. The film is along the same lines as films by Mario Bava; most notably Black Sunday and Kill Baby Kill, and just like the aforementioned masterpieces; bathes in its own atmosphere and most of the horror is drawn from that. Horror is a genre that people often mistake for not having many ideas, but films like this prove otherwise. Here, we have a story that couldn't be further away from the 'norm' in horror, and on a technical level, Mill of the Stone Women is both inventive and influential. The macabre plot follows a young journalist named Hans who travels to Holland to write an article on the mysterious sculptor, who lives in a mill, that the locals have nicknamed "The Mill of the Stone Women". While there, he meets the Professor's beautiful daughter; but she's damaged goods, as she suffers from a sinister malady that means she has to remain within the mill. Is there something yet more morbid to this intriguing set up...?

The mill at the centre of the piece makes for an excellent location for this story to take place in. Old castles are a more common location for Gothic horror, so the fact that this one takes place in a mill again differentiates it from the norm, and is yet another example of the imagination behind the story. The colour scheme is largely quite drab, and to be honest, I'd have preferred either more striking colours or a black and white picture...as the in-between doesn't look good in my opinion. That's pretty much the only thing I don't like about this film in regards to the style, however. The plot moves slowly, but this means that the film has time to both build up it's plot and wallow in the atmosphere. One of the trademarks of Italian horror is a muddled plot and things that don't completely make sense; and this film adheres to that. There are several threads within the plot, and a number of them are left unexplained by the conclusion...which is a shame. Still, the final conclusion is fitting and at least it doesn't suffer from bad dubbing! Recommended.
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10/10
Positively the greatest Gothic horror film ever made!
Coventry6 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Mill of the Stone Women is a regretfully undiscovered gem of authentic Gothic craftsmanship that totally blew me away. It's not an easy puppy to come across, despite the recent DVD-release, so I had to purchase an entirely Frech version (called "Le Moulin des Supplices"). But eventually beholding the beauty of this film was worth every effort I took for finding it, for sure! Like stated in the review title, this is one of the most atmospheric tales ever told and, even though the basic premise might not be unique, a fascinating Gothic experience that will mesmerize you from start to finish.

The story is set in a remote Dutch village (the land of the windmills!) where Professor Wahl slickly turned his mill into a macabre history museum. He's an artist whose hand-made carousel and sculptures attract many viewers, as also the young journalist Hans. But Wahl simultaneously is a father whose exquisite daughter Elphi suffers from an incurable illness that forces him to keep her hidden in the windmill. When Hans meets Elphi during his stay, Professor Wahl fears that his presence will have a bad influence on her fragile health. Because of all the mystery and Wahl's distant behavior, Hans suspects that he has more hidden secrets than just an ill daughter.... Because of the period of release, the mood and the high-quality level, "Mill of the Stone Women" often gets compared with the repertoire of Mario Bava. I second this statement and – believe me – that's quite a compliment as I consider Bava the greatest director cinema has ever known. This is a slow-paced masterpiece that makes the most out of its eerie set pieces and isolated locations. The ominous windmill emphases the intriguing Gothic effect terrifically while the use of sound creates a constant disturbance. Rather than to gross you out with immediate gruesomeness or sleaze, the suspenseful plot builds itself up to somewhat expected but still ferocious climax that will be memorized forever by fans of classic horror. I won't spoil the actual finale, but it's not the film's biggest anyway, as it combines the equally brilliant premises of "Mystery of the Wax Musem", "Eyes without a face" and even "Frankenstein". "Mill of the Stone Women" also influenced many (euro)horror films afterwards, like for example Jess Franco's "The Awful Dr. Orloff". And I'm not done yet, since simply every aspect of this film is praiseworthy. The camera-work is stunning and often quite groundbreaking. When it's believed that Hans is hallucinating, the implementation of different shades and rough camera movements increase the confusion-effect. The characters are efficiently spooky! Especially Dr. Bolem (played by Wolfgang "Dr. Mabuse" Preiss) and Professor Wahl (Boehme, who strangely hasn't got any other acting experience) are impressive villains/mad scientists. "Mill of the Stone Women" is essential viewing for Mario Bava fanatics and any other genre fan who appreciates a solid goth-horror monument.
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9/10
A masterpiece of Italian horror.
HumanoidOfFlesh24 March 2006
A young artist named Hans is hired to do a study of a famous local landmark,a windmill that contains stone statues of notorious female monsters of the past.One day he meets a mysterious,dangerously beautiful woman at the mill.Before long,he is drawn into her clutches.Giorgio Feronni's gloriously colorful horror film "Mill of the Stone Woman" is obviously influenced by Georges Franju's horror classic "Eyes Without a Face" and Mario Bava's "I Vampiri".Admittedly the first half of the film is pretty slow and rather confusing, however there is enough eerie moments to satisfy fans of early 60's Italian Gothic horror.The location sets are truly atmospheric,for example the crumbling mill of the film's title is a decrepit place,filled haphazardly with ominous statuary and ancient religious icons.So if you are a fan of Italian horror you can't miss this gorgeously photographed gem.9 out of 10.
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6/10
For Bava & Poe-era Corman fans..............
davendes19 October 2005
Though I'm not quite as enamored with the film as others here, there is still much to enjoy in this sorely neglected tale of a young man researching a creepy old windmill's lurid "carousel" and his love for the owner's mysterious daughter.

Made at the same time as Bava's "Black Sunday", Ferroni's "Mill" relies on and succeeds at it's goal for the same reasons- Atmosphere in abundance and true artistic flair. Every inch of the windmill is ominous and each room (and there are many) has its own distinct feel, lighting, and color palette. With this strong foundation in place, the movie builds in the details, including a wild hallucination scene, the actual workings of the carousel, a daughter who appeared very dead but is soon quite fine, and many others.

Despite being a visual feast, well acted, and having a solid (if not overly original) plot line, the movie still suffers from a sizable problem- Pacing. As a die-hard fan of '60's horror, I have no beef with a deliberate build-up, but in this case it goes a bit overboard. There are a fair share of scenes that are filled with stretches of unnecessary dialog and lots of wandering around the mill with no real reason to be found at the end. Tighter editing would have helped immensely.

Flaws and all, "Mill Of The Stone Women" is a classy film that needs to be seen. Had I watched it just once, I have little doubt my rating would have been higher. Give it a one-time viewing and absorb it for maximum effect.
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6/10
A few pacing problems, but the rich Gothic atmosphere makes it all worthwhile
Leofwine_draca28 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Another classic Italian Gothic which has an unusual and effective setting (an old windmill) to distinguish it from all the others of the period. MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN is a slow-burning but often effective creep-fest which makes fine use of the almost expressionistic sets of the interior of the windmill, filled with odd angles and bits of female dummies and skulls littered all over, making for a highly distinctive visual look. Filmed in Holland, the brief shots of the flat countryside which surrounds the windmill help to give it an authentic look and a chilly atmosphere, and Ferroni makes excellent use of colour to create a morbidly-beautiful looking movie. On top of this, a fine and creepy score just adds to the tension.

The plot itself, when it comes down to it, is nothing particularly new. The idea of a doctor forced to kill young women to sustain the life of his ill daughter was very popular in the period this was made, and variations on the theme can be seen in many other horror films like Freda's THE VAMPIRES, ATOM AGE VAMPIRE, THE AWFUL DR. ORLOFF, and even the French classic EYES WITHOUT A FACE. Mixed in with this plot (which incidentally only comes to the fore in the final third of the movie, the beginning is just atmosphere-building and mysteries with no real answers) are some genuinely macabre HOUSE OF WAX-style shenanigans, involving the bodies of the dead being turned to stone and displayed on the carousel, the creaky contraption which is the film's focus point and a highly effective image of horror.

Cast-wise, the film benefits from the presence of the creepy actor Robert Boehme as the professor. Boehme puts in a restrained and ultimately sympathetic performance here but he's still pretty chilling. Also effective is the German Wolfgang Priess (he of the '60s Mabuse films) as a sinister doctor living in the windmill; he doesn't have much to do until the end, in which his part in the horror and his explanations for his actions finally come out, but his role helps bolster the movie and he has some interesting exchanges with Boehme (usually the roles of the two men are combined into one in these sort of films). The actresses don't really have much to work with, especially Dany Carrel whose sole presence is to provide a female victim for the finale, and Scilla Gabel's role as the diseased daughter is seriously underdeveloped. Ultimately the film's biggest failing in the cast is Pierre Brice's turn as the hero, Hans von Arnam; Brice is wooden and uninteresting and seemingly unable to carry a lead by himself.

MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN really does pick up for the predictably fiery conclusion, which has some great action, but director Giorgio Ferroni really needs to learn a thing or two about pacing as the first hour of this film is a long haul and lacking in incident. Compare this to a similarly-themed film like Freda's THE TERRIBLE SECRET OF DR. HICHCOCK, which expertly racks up the tension and suspense for the first hour, and its clear that MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN needs more of that suspense and build-up. The atmosphere is perfect, yes, but something is missing. Don't get me wrong, however; this is still a perfectly watchable (if only a little flawed) Gothic horror film with spot-on visuals and sets, and worth tracking down for fans of horror from the period.
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3/10
A stone cold film.
mart-4519 February 2007
Not original or entertaining in the least. From the very first minutes it's clear that you get another version of any Wax Museum films which have been pouring out of different film studios since the early 20s: beautiful girls are boiled in wax and displayed as models in a horror section of a museum (in this case a mill-museum). The action takes place sometime around the last turn of the century. The mill looks nice, otherwise there aren't so much interesting locations - nor interesting (or beautiful) actors to that matter. It just drags along, and once you've figured the plot out, you also know, that it ends with an inescapable fire, that destroys the mill and lets the good young couple escape in the nick of time. It's really much more interesting now that I tell it, than it is on the screen. Somehow, in spite of an occasional Hammeresque look, this film doesn't sparkle in the least. If you're interested in the subject, there are much, much better films, most of them containing the word "Wax" in the title.
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6/10
Greatest Title Ever
dr_foreman16 August 2006
Warning: Spoilers
(some spoilers follow) All right, I'll admit it - I just can't resist reviewing something called "Mill of the Stone Women"! Sadly, the film sort of fails to deliver on the promise of that title. But it's still pretty interesting.

If you're a big enough horror fan to have heard of this movie, you'll probably like it. It's a slow-paced Gothic piece, in the same tradition as the British Hammer movies. It even has the standard cast of characters for a Gothic horror - a sinister doctor, a corrupt professor, an earnest young man, a sexy mystery woman, and a wholesomely pretty nice woman. This kind of stuff is so familiar to me at this point that it feels like a comfy old security blanket.

The best part of the film is the first half, when the goings-on at the mill are still cryptic and unexplained. The second half gets a little predictable and lurid, and there are a few too many scenes of women getting strapped to tables and menaced with needles. Dare I say this kind of stuff is sexist? Erotic, sure, but also sexist. And, in a very strange and somewhat disappointing twist, the villains pretty much defeat themselves!

Despite my reservations, this is still a decent film, thanks to some atmospheric sets and unusual ideas. As I said, if you're enough of a horror buff to have heard about it, you should definitely check it out.
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A childhood fright
estott12 August 1999
I was frightened by this film as a child and still retain wonderful nightmare- like memories. The stone women turn around attached to the machinery of an old windmill. At the climax the mill catches fire and they continue to turn around- but now on fire. I haven't seen it since, and I suspect that it wouldn't live up to the memory.
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7/10
Better than its title suggests
dbborroughs8 November 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Writer goes to visit a sculptor to write a piece about him and a carousel where he lives. the sculptor's home is called the Mill of Stone women because of all of the grotesque figures that are inside. The writer becomes acquainted with the sculptors daughter, who is sick with an incurable illness, he also becomes enmeshed in the disappearances of many local girls. Moody, eerie horror film that I've seen too many times over the years. I've ended up with I don't know how many copies of the film, and every time I do I make some effort to see it because I have it, and every time I'm surprised that its better then I remember it. Beautifully shot in a muted color scheme this is a film with a real sense of place and time, not to mention one of dread. There is something funeral-like in the way it all looks. To be certain the plot is clichéd and there is more than a good chance you'll know where its going, but it really doesn't matter since everything that makes up the film comes together to tell a good story that will keep you watching even though you know whats going to happen. One of the better Euro-horror films of the period its a film that anyone like Gothic stories should see. Forget the lurid title, and just see the film. Between 6 and 7 out of 10.
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7/10
had wrongly assumed this full colour production was made in the 70s
christopher-underwood12 January 2007
I thought this creaked a bit at first but had wrongly assumed this full colour production was made in the 70s and had no idea it was so early.

A joint French/Italian production and the two countries offer us a beauty each, although it has to be said that the Italian Scilla Gabel would take a little beating whatever the opposition!

Something of a mix of Frankenstein and House of Wax in the end but this is not apparent at first and with all the creepy Dutch landscape and creaky mill we are at first led to think more of vampires.

Colourful, surprisingly graphic and all in all a very interesting discovery.
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8/10
Superior early 60's horror winner
Woodyanders11 May 2016
Young artist Hans von Arnim (an excellent and engagingly earnest performance by Pierre Brice) goes to a small town in Holland to do a study of a famous local landmark mill that contains stone statues of famous female criminals and murderesses. Hans discovers that reclusive sculptor Professor Gregorious Wahl (superbly played by Herbert A.E. Bohme) and his evil assistant Dr. Loren Bohlem (a spot-on sinister portrayal by Wolfgang Preiss) are conducting nefarious experiments on beautiful young women.

Director Giorgio Ferroni relates the absorbing story at a hypnotically deliberate pace, does an expert job of crafting and sustaining a potently brooding gloom-doom Gothic atmosphere, offers a flavorsome evocation of the 19th century village setting, and pulls out the rousing and marvelously macabre stops for the exciting fiery climax. Moreover, the filmmakers warrant extra praise for depicting Wahl as a fairly pitiable and ultimately tragic individual instead of making him some one-dimensional baddie: One might not agree with what Wahl is doing, but one still understands why he's committing these wicked acts and hence feels more than a little sorry for the guy. The captivating presences of several fetching femmes certainly doesn't hurt matters in the least: Stunning brunette Scilla Gabel as the fragile and sheltered Elfie, lovely Dany Carrel as the sweet Lisolette Kornheim, and ravishing redhead Liana Orfei as ill-fated model Annelore. Gorgeously shot in glorious Technicolor by Pier Ludovico Pavoni, further graced by a shivery score by Carlo Innocenzi, it's recommended viewing for fans of moody fright fare.
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8/10
A Good Classic Horror Film
Rainey-Dawn22 December 2014
This is a film that was recommended to me - after the first few minutes I realized I have seen this movie before and said to myself "oh yes I recall seeing this years ago and this is a pretty good film...". After re-watching the film again in it's entirety, I must say it is as good as I recalled it to be. Good to see this classic again.

This movie is more of a mystery than horror - but believe me there is enough horror in the film to enjoy. The movie has enough suspenseful twists and turns to keep it very interesting.

Just like other reviewers have mentioned, it is a pseudo-Gothic movie. If you like Gothic films, wax museum horror and mystery classics then you just might like Mill of the Stone Women (1960).

8/10
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8/10
Evil hides behind a pretty face
ksj8701 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Effective, subtle horror film in the vein of Mystery of the Wax Museum and House of Wax, though invested with a touch of vampirism. An eerie ambiance of dread saturates the entire movie, which is well-acted and if the script isn't entirely logical, it is nonetheless compelling. The wax figures that the owner of the mill painstakingly crafts are unquantifiably creepy even before their dark secret is revealed, and their slow, methodical danse macabre is grotesquely picturesque. The actors do a superb job and their characters are refreshingly realistic, while the leading starlets are painfully beautiful. Naturally, one of them has a dark secret. Ominous yet colorful, undeniably a b-movie yet artfully done in almost every respect, Mill of the Stone Women is a dark fairy tale that holds the viewer's interest from the foreboding opening to the fiery climax.
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mad artist murders in Dutch windmill
revrommer2 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is clearly a movie of emulation, the producer or director were excited by what Hammer, Coreman and Bava were up to right about 1958-1960, and threw their hat into the ring. As a result, most of the auteur elements are imitative, but very good imitations! Two fabulous tableaux, both in a hallucination sequence, Elfi, the sick daughter, rising from her deathbed, and later her hands extended out of a heavy curtain. Otherwise, 50s horror was studio-stylish , with storybook quality production design, and plots well-constructed and quickly dispatched: this one holds up to the standard. As to the theme: An older artist living in a mill with a wax museum-like carousel in it outside of a Dutch town tends to his very ill daughter in a very creative way (not unlike in Barbara Steele's Nightmare Castle). Mad scientists are great, but, for me, mad artists are even better. Stories where the veneer of art is torn off by the psychosis of the artist represent true horror: they throw us back upon very primitive fears of representation. In one scene cut from the print (see the French clip in the extras), a young lady mentions that as a child she thought merry go round figures had real dwarfs inside. Later, she screams and faints when the sculptural figures of the artist's great-grandfather's carousel, featuring Joan of Arc etc, go too Gothic. The dread that there is something more going on in the artist's life than art fuels a terrific story too. In exploring this territory, the movie joins Mystery of the Wax Museum and House of Wax, though the fiery finale of burning statues, a direct homage to House of Wax, is actually a bit chillier. By the way, Elfi is played by Scilla Gabel, with a 41' bust, and Dany Carrell's nipple slip during her transfusion crisis was said by the production notes to launch the "sex horror film" genre. It's a surprise, especially since no one in the story says a word about it (while House of Wax had to laugh off embarrassment at its unseen nudity).
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6/10
Il mulino delle donne di pietra: Not bad at all
Platypuschow13 November 2018
Mill of the Stone Women otherwise known as Drops of Blood is a creepy little horror that looks fantastic for a movie barely out of the 50's.

It tells the story of a young man who is set to work on a macabre waxwork laden carousel. He becomes bewitched by the mysterious daughter of the owner, but nothing is quite as it seems.

Italian made the film looks incredibly ahead of its time. Sure the acting is offensively overdone, the score is forgettable and the external sfx of the windmill are laughable but the concept itself and delivery is really quite impressive.

Italy dominated horror throughout the 60's and 70's, this early title is a demonstration of why. Yes it's flawed (Badly in places) but it's an interesting little title regardless with a brilliant dark finale.

The Good:

Looks great

Solid ideas

The Bad:

Gratuitous overacting

Could have been constructed a tad better

Things I Learnt From This Movie:

She totally got a head of herself!

Waxworks were a common subject matter in the 50-60's, we need a revival!
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