6.5/10
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17 user 12 critic

Through the Looking Glass (1976)

A rich socialite escapes her boring lifestyle when a ghost takes her to a sexual hell where anything goes.

Director:

Jonas Middleton

Writers:

Ron Wertheim (screenplay) (as Ronald Wertheim), David Maryla (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Catharine Burgess ... Catherine
Jamie Gillis ... Demon / Father
Laura Nicholson Laura Nicholson ... Jennifer
Kristen Steen Kristen Steen ... Young Catherine (as Marie Taylor)
Douglas Wood Douglas Wood ... Richard
Kim Pope Kim Pope ... Ann
Eve Every Eve Every ... Lilly
Ultramax Ultramax ... Mrs. Manchester
Roger Caine Roger Caine ... Abel (as Mike Jefferson)
Nancy Dare Nancy Dare ... Karen (as Suzan Swanson)
Terri Hall Terri Hall ... Lisa
Jeffrey Hurst Jeffrey Hurst ... Mr. Manchester
Rocky Millstone Rocky Millstone ... Eugene (as Jacob Pomerantz)
Grover Griffith Grover Griffith ... Fat Man
Victoria Karl Victoria Karl ... Beauty Queen
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Storyline

A rich socialite escapes her boring lifestyle when a ghost takes her to a sexual hell where anything goes.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A Serious Breakthrough for the Artistic Treatment of Explicit Sex

Genres:

Adult | Horror

Certificate:

X | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

17 October 1977 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

A través del espejo See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$150,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Mastermind Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Screw magazine, the film was shot a year before its September 1976 release. See more »

Connections

Version of Alice's Misadventures in Wonderland (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Flawed but effective hardcore horror nightmare
6 November 2011 | by BloodwankSee all my reviews

It seems like Through The Looking Glass has reached the level of anointed classic with the majority of reviewers on this site, so I'm a little sad that it didn't fully live up to expectations, but its still pretty gnarly stuff for all its flaws. The biggest trouble I think is that for all its ambition it doesn't really get a handle on what it wants to say. Different parts pull in different directions and though I'm generally a fan of ambiguity there isn't enough psychological depth in the writing or performances to make it really work. Overall its a tale of a rich but troubled socialite and her dalliances in a macabre and erotic world of the imagination, but the details are muddled. The film begins with an image of our heroine clad in stark white face mask in a salon, which soon gives way to her figure dashing through woods in some wild pursuit. Then the face mask is peeled away and we see her cold, expressionless face, no sign of what lies within. Its good as symbolic openings go, her psyche in three layers, decadent beautifying mask as her social exterior, emotionless face her personal mask and untamed depths within, but instead of pursuing this vein the film goes on to abandon any examination of layers in favor of situating the gateway to the inner world in the external world, a mirror in an attic. More or less all that follows is underpinned by tension between internal desire and external temptation, and later between free will and heredity, its interesting stuff but goes largely unresolved. For a film lauded as one of the most searching and ambitious of adult cinema this is rather disappointing, but fortunately the visceral goods on show keep things entertaining and the pacing is pretty solid. As far as the goods go there's demonic fingering (with exploratory vagina cam), food inserted into and eaten from places it probably shouldn't be and plentiful couplings as well as a few grim highlights I won't go into here. Most of the sexual shenanigans take place in or around the mirror world and are invested with an effectively disturbing quality by the often unhinged and chaotic score from Harry Manfredini, there's a sense of dangerous luring sin that really compels. Also of note is the way that the first couple of imaginary adventures mirror what has gone before in the passionless real world, it produces an interesting feel of madness feeding on and warping reality, yet somehow still an enticing escape. Not that this is really developed enough, sadly. A good deal of blame can be laid at the feet of Catherine Burgess as the lead, nice looking but she just can't act very well. Nor indeed can anyone else (Terri Hall is largely wasted and looks sorta zombified in overdone eye make up) except a standout turn from Jamie Gillis, fair oozing with creepy erotic menace. His scenes are great and really raise the film above its limitations, and he leads the film very nicely into its terrific, harrowing climax. The extended and unwholesome final scenes are creepiest of all, ranking among my favorite cappers and they leave just the right bad taste in the mouth as the credits roll, almost making up for all the other shortcomings. They don't really, but this is still a worthy viewing for anyone interested in the intersections of horror and pornography even if I wasn't hugely impressed. Strong 6/10 or so.


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