6.6/10
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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.

Writers:

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

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Cast

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")
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Edgar Allen Poe's ultimate orgy! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | Mystery

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

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

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Electric)

Color:

Color | Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Terence Stamp and Peter Fonda worked together again many years later in The Limey (1999). See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

TV Reporter #3: How did critics like your Hamlet?
Toby Dammit (segment "Toby Dammit"): Obviously the critics didn't understand a thing.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The whipping of Giuseppina was cut in the original 1973 UK cinema release (titled "Tales of Mystery"), and subsequent releases were also edited. The 15-rated 1986 video (as "Powers of Evil") completely missed the entire 'William Wilson' story, and the 18-rated 1990 French Collection VHS (titled "Histoires Extraordinaires: Tales of Mystery and Imagination") received over a minute of cuts to the whipping scene and shots of Wilson caressing a girl with a scalpel. The Arrow blu-ray release (titled "Spirits of the Dead") is the full uncut version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Mother and the Whore (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

Cut out the first two segments and you've got a great Fellini film.
28 February 2003 | by doktor dSee all my reviews

'Spirits of the Dead' (1968), a French-Italian production narrated by Vincent Price, features three Edgar Allan Poe stories adapted for the screen and directed by three of Europe's most fascinating filmmakers of the period (choke!).

Vadim's segment (‘Metzengerstein'), starring Jane and Peter Fonda, is a real stinker. Has Vadim ever made a truly good film? Not really, so at least he's being consistent here by turning Poe's tale into a dull, silly mess. Striving hard for art's sake, he misses the mark each time. Q: Who wants to see Jane Fonda falling in love with Peter Fonda? A: Not me.

Malle's segment (‘William Wilson') is solid but not worth repeated screenings. Of note: Brigitte Bardot gets naked, verbally abused and whipped. No comment as to the merits of these actions or her presence; nevertheless, the tale's ending doesn't quite work.

Fellini's 'Toby Dammit' is classic, freakshow Fellini. Terence Stamp stars as a wasted British film star (looking like an effeminate junkie) and gives an awesomely convincing performance. Ultimately, his character gets a bit out of hand and, uh, loses his head. Good stuff that. It's probably fortunate that Fellini's is the longest and last segment; it is easily the film's strength and highlight. Unlike the first two tales, ‘Toby Dammit' was also released theatrically on its own, yet it is not available separately on dvd.

The ‘Spirits of the Dead' dvd first hit the market as an Image release. This is not the version to purchase. Image used a less-than-satisfactory source print, and the transfer looks crummy. Also, the menu is poorly designed and doesn't work quite the way one wants it to. Later, Home Vision released a higher quality version with four additional minutes of footage, using much finer source material. --- david ross smith


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