A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
After the announcement of the servant Losat, the nobleman Kurt Menliff returns to the castle of his family at the seaside to congratulate his brother Christian Menliff for his marriage with his former lover Nevenka. Kurt feels the hatred and the fear of his father Count Menliff and the servant Giorgia, who blames him for seducing and killing her daughter, and indifference from his cousin Katia. On the next afternoon, the sadistic Kurt meets Nevenka riding a horse alone on the beach and whips the masochistic woman and makes love with her. Late night, Nevenka is missing and everybody is seeking her while Kurt is stabbed in the neck with the same dagger that Giorgia's daughter was murdered. On the next days, the members of the family suspects of each other while Nevenka is haunted by the ghost of Kurt.Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Most of the cast and crew were required to use English pseudonyms because the producers hoped to fool the intended Italian audience into thinking this movie was produced incognito by a British or American studio, such as Hammer Film Productions or American International Pictures. When Mario Bava was asked by Luciano Martino to use "an old American name", he jokingly took the suggestion to a literal degree by creating his alias "John M. Old". See more »
One of the best movies by THE most underrated director of the Fantastic.
As I slowly get to watch more Mario Bava movies my enthusiasm for his extraordinary body of work grows and grows. I was already hooked after watching 'Black Sunday' for the first time, but after subsequently seeing 'Kill, Baby...Kill!', 'Planet Of The Vampires', 'Black Sabbath', 'Diabolik' and 'Lisa And The Devil' (and others) I was convinced that he's THE most underrated director of the Fantastic. Now I've watched 'The Whip And The Body' three times and listened to Tim Lucas' informative DVD commentary I'm almost ready to bow down and worship Bava like a god! This is such a fascinating movie... Visually it's stunning, as to be expected, Bava being a top cinematographer before turning to directing. The subject matter is still provocative, but forty years ago it must have been scandalous! In fact the movie was heavily censored and when eventually released in America given the lousy title 'What'. Christopher Lee counts this among his favourite roles and it is essential viewing for his fans. He plays Kurt Menliff, an evil sadistic nobleman returning to his family home after hearing his younger brother has wed. Lee's family has disowned him after a scandal concerning a servant girl he seduced who subsequently suicided. His father the Count despises him, the dead girl's mother, who still works for the Count, curses him, and his brother's new bride Nevenka (Daliah Lavi) fears him. Kurt and Nevenka have a past, not only that, a complicated sadomasochistic relationship. The whipping scenes between the two actors were a bit too much for the censors to handle back in the day, and while they aren't all that explicit, they are still unsettling even today. Lee and the stunning Lavi (best know to most people for her later appearance in the star-studded Bond spoof 'Casino Royale') make a truly unforgettable couple. Many people regard 'The Whip And The Body' as Bava's single best movie. I wouldn't go that far myself, but it's definitely one of his very best films, and is sure to impress anyone who has enjoyed his other pictures. Ghost story, murder mystery, psychosexual character study, whatever you want to call it, it's a highly original movie that will stay with you for a long time. Newcomers to Bava are still best to start with 'Black Sunday' in my opinion, but this movie comes with my highest recommendation.
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