The housekeeper Lucille lives in an old castle with her nephew Colin and Falaise, the daughter of the landlord, André. All the guests of the villa are systematically killed by the three of them, then they are saponified in the dungeons of the castle. Falaise is convinced that she killed her father, who died several years earlier. The arrival at the castle of a man who pretends to be Andrè who made a facial plastic (but in reality he is a police inspector) will solve the mystery: Falaise, in reality, is none other than Lucille's daughter, Esther. Lucille, with the complicity of the two boys, killed all those who approached the house in order to cover a series of events that occurred thirteen years before. A gang of criminals had tried to kill Mr. Gardère, who had managed to escape. Lucille had faked him death at sea, remaining the sole owner of the castle. On that terrible night the killer had raped Falaise who, believing him to be the father. But in reality things had gone differently...
Italian gialli are famous for their ridiculously complicated (and frequently absurd plots)and their "pop", late 60's pseudo-Freudian psychology. This movie though pushes both of these to the most extreme limits. The basic plot here involves a rather dysfunctional family consisting of a trouble woman (Pier Angeli), her governess, and her governess' equally troubled son all of whom may have been involved in the murder/disappearance of the family patriarch. Several different people show up and try to blackmail them for money and sex and wind up being killed in ways that are both gruesome (lots of decapitations)and increasingly ridiculous (there's a rather tasteless subplot involving Nazi gas chambers). The finale involves several sudden twists, each more preposterous than the last. There are several quotes from Freud in intertitles (complete with English-language misspellings) and the usual liberal sprinkling of sexual psychopathology--incest, Elektra and Oedipal complexes, borderline pedophilia, etc. This movie will probably confound newcomers to the giallo film, but people more familiar with the genre will no doubt appreciate it.
Pier Angeli is especially good in a dual role, or actually a triple role considering that she plays one of the characters as both an adult woman and an adolescent girl (the latter no mean feat considering the actress was in her late 30's at the time). Tragically, she would commit suicide not longer after this movie came out. The co-writer Mario Caiano would direct the very similar "Eye in the Labyrinth" and, not surprisingly, some of the other people behind the camera were later involved in the indefensibly trash Italian Nazi sexploitation cycle.
Oh, and by the way, the title "In the Folds of Flesh" actually refers to the folds in the brain, not what some of you dirty-minded folks out there might think.
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