69 user 64 critic

Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Histoires extraordinaires (original title)
Anthology film from three European directors based on stories by Edgar Allan Poe: a cruel princess haunted by a ghostly horse, a sadistic young man haunted by his double, and an alcoholic actor haunted by the Devil.


Edgar Allan Poe (story "Metzengerstein") (as Edgar Allan Poë), Roger Vadim (adaptation) | 8 more credits »
2 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Brigitte Bardot ... Giuseppina (segment "William Wilson")
Alain Delon ... William Wilson (segment "William Wilson")
Jane Fonda ... Contessa Frederique de Metzengerstein (segment "Metzengerstein")
Terence Stamp ... Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit")
James Robertson Justice ... Countess' Advisor (segment "Metzengerstein")
Salvo Randone ... Priest (segment "Toby Dammit")
Françoise Prévost ... Friend of Countess (segment "Metzengerstein") (as Francoise Prevost)
Peter Fonda ... Baron Wilhelm Berlifitzing (segment "Metzengerstein")
Marlène Alexandre Marlène Alexandre ... (segment "Metzengerstein")
David Bresson David Bresson
Katia Christine ... Young girl on the dissection table (segment "William Wilson") (as Katia Christina)
Peter Dane Peter Dane
Georges Douking ... Le licier (segment "Metzengerstein")
Philippe Lemaire ... Philippe (segment "Metzengerstein")
Carla Marlier ... Claude (segment "Metzengerstein")


Three directors each adapt a Poe short story to the screen: "Toby Dammit" features a disheveled, drugged and drunk English movie star who nods acceptance in the Italian press and his producers fawn over him. "Metzengerstein" features a medieval countess who has a love-hate relationship with a black stallion - who, it turns out, is really her dead lover. "William Wilson" tells the story of a sadistic Austrian student with an exact double whom he later kills. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


the ultimate orgy of evil See more »


Drama | Horror | Mystery


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


While filming the "Metzengerstein" segment with his sister Jane Fonda and brother-in-law Roger Vadim in Roscoff, Brittany, Peter Fonda would spend up to 4 hours a day working on the script that would become Easy Rider (1969). Terry Southern, who had worked on Barbarella (1968) with Vadim, visited the set and would help Fonda with his script, getting a co-writer credit on "Easy Rider" in the process. See more »


When young William Wilson splatters his fellow schoolmate with a tomato in class, the red stain on his victims face changes drastically from less to more after several moments. See more »


TV Reporter #4: Do you think you're neurotic?
Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit"): It's my one quality.
TV Reporter #4: What is amiss in your life, Mr. Dammit?
Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit"): I'm happy and it drives me to despair.
TV Reporter #4: Is it true you've done unsavory jobs?
Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit"): Yes... yes... but... I've never been a TV reporter.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Released as Spirits of the Dead in the US in 1969 by American International Pictures, which had the movie dubbed in English, retitled after a poem by Edgar Allan Poe, and added the voice of Vincent Price reciting that poem after the opening credits. AIP had earlier made a number of adaptations of stories by Poe, which starred Price. This version is the only one with Price. See more »


References Cul-de-sac (1966) See more »


Sung by Ray Charles
Lyrics by Mitchell Parish
Music by Heinz Roemheld
See more »

User Reviews

Fellini segment does it for me
2 August 2001 | by SchlockmeisterSee all my reviews

Call me deprived. This was my introduction to the films of Federico Fellini, way back when. But it was perfect, it was short enough and contained just enough to leave me wanting to see more.

The section is, of course, the "Toby Dammit" segment and, to me, was just so far ahead of it's time. Maybe it was just ahead of MY time and I had to age a little more to "get" more of it. I don't know, I just know that as I get older and, unfortunately, more cynical, the segment makes more and more sense to me. Well, as much sense as it ever will have anyway, let's not forget who we are talking about here.

Since it is my favorite segment and the only one I usually fast-forward to when watching the video, I will confine my comments to it alone. It concerns a celebrity deep in crisis who is invited to Rome to participate in an awards show. While there he is courted to appear in a movie and is given a Ferrari as part of his compensation. The segment is harrowing and nightmarish, a waking dream as only Fellini could have presented. You see people walking backwards, nuns, paparazzi, mannequins, people with paper masks, spectacularly lit roadside glass shops, gypsy fortune tellers, floating balls, a devilish girl in a white wig and dress looking very kabuki-esque, meat trucks and on and on. Get it? I don't, but it's a trip, man.

Like a dream, it is multi-layered and impossible to fully understand. I am certain that Fellini himself would be hard-pressed to explain every image. I am sure some were quite improvisational, occuring based more on what came up that day of shooting rather than planned out precisely.

Allow it's images to flow without getting bogged down in what this or that means when you first see it. You can always rewind the tape and try and take it apart scene by scene later if you are so inclined. Treat it as a celluloid dream / nightmare and you will probably be closest to the truth here.

Recommended to those who are new to Fellini, its a great introduction. You will be either drawn or repelled.

11 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 69 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.



France | Italy


French | Italian | English

Release Date:

23 July 1969 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Spirits of the Dead See more »

Filming Locations:

Bergamo, Lombardia, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Electric)


Color | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed