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
Christopher Lee raises hell in Bava's baroque horror romance!
Mario Bava is often hailed as one of the true gods of horror cinema, and for good reason. His influence extends his filmography, and many Mario Bava films have gone on to have a big effect on the horror genre on the whole. Films such as Bay of Blood and Black Sunday are well known and have been seen by many serious film fanatics, but when you delve deeper into the man's list of directorial credits, his lesser known films tend to be just as good as his major hits. The Whip and the Body is one such film, and after viewing it; I rate it among the very top of the man's movies. This Gothic horror romance features many of Mario Bava's trademarks, which are the things that have won him such high praise from a number of well-informed sources. The story follows Nevenka, a young woman who is married to Christian, son of the lord of the castle in which the film takes place. However, things aren't so simple as Christian's brother, Kurt, a sadistic nobleman is still in love with his brother's bride and has returned to the castle to reclaim his girl. Things really get interesting when he is found dead, only for his ghost to reappear inside the castle walls.
One of things that Mario Bava is often highly praised for is his use of lighting, and this film features what is probably the best use of lighting ever seen in a Bava film. The lights give flair to the scenery, and help to give the film that picturesque cinematography that the former cinematographer creates so well. Despite being excellent, however, it's not the lighting that is the main standout in this movie; it's the soundtrack. Giving the film a tragic love story atmosphere, the powerful theme bodes with the lighting to help create a tense and powerful atmosphere, in which Bava allows his actors to inhabit. This film represents the only pairing of Bava with British horror icon Christopher Lee, and as usual Lee lights up the screen with his persona and screen presence. The whipping scenes are what made this film notorious in the first place, and seeing Lee enjoying delivering the lashing is haunting and even quite frightening! The romance element of the story is wonderfully done, and it offsets the horror of the story well, which ultimately brings the film into balance. I rate this Bava film as one of the best the great Italian ever made and it therefore comes with a soaring recommendation.
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