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In the Nineteenth Century, in France, the teenager Teresa Garan is the daughter of a single mother, who is a cabaret singer. She is brought to the boarding school owned by the headmistress Ms. Fourneau by a friend of her mother that pays one year tuition for her. Soon Teresa learns that the boarding school is also a prison for the girls since Ms. Fourneau keeps everything locked. Her protégé, the wicked student Irene Tupan, keeps watch over the other girls and uses her power to bully and torture them. Ms. Fourneau has a teenager son, Luis, who is a peeping Tom, and his mother secludes him from the girls. Ms. Fourneau tells that he needs to meet a girlfriend "like his mother" and that the students of the boarding school are worthless. Meanwhile the runaway students are vanishing and their school mates believe they are fleeing from the boarding school. What they do not know is that a serial-killer is killing them. When Irene discovers that Teresa is secretly meeting Luis, she tortures ...Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Plot = A young girl joins a French boarding school for problem girls and soon feels that something's amiss with a sinister head mistress and nasty students, and girls begin to disappear and the teaching staff keep covering it up.
Despite being over 40 years old, this movie still holds up well in my opinion and is still effective and creepy by today's standards. The directing is both skillful and artistic and the suspense is spot on, with the murder sequences played out like a stylish nightmare and kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Okay there is not a lot of blood and gore and this flick does rely on character development more, but that works because the cast are well acted and keeps you interested the entire way through. The killer's identity was easily figured out, but the motive when it's revealed is highly shocking and effective and will stick with for a long time afterwards.
The formats of this movie is nothing new but given the fact that this movie came out in 1969, it's pretty easy to see where a lot of these slasher movies get their inspiration and this proves that this movie is ahead of its time. The performances like I said before are excellent, Lilli Palmer who plays the head mistress simply steals to show, with a strong performance easily hold a film together single-handedly, and inject menace or compassion into a scene with a subtlety missing from many horror films of the period. Christina Galbo balances emotion and strength perfectly, as the new student.
All in this entire movie works well as a Gothic murder mystery filled with tension, a definite must see for any fans of European horror.
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