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Hotel Fear (1978)

Pensione paura (original title)
A young girl and her mother run a hotel during the war. When the mother dies, the girl finds herself at the mercy of her sex-crazed guests. Soon enough, a cloaked figure starts killing off everyone that tries to harm her.


Francesco Barilli


Barbara Alberti (story), Amedeo Pagani (story) | 3 more credits »




Cast overview:
Leonora Fani ... Rosa
Luc Merenda ... Rodolfo / playboy
Jole Fierro Jole Fierro ... Rodolfo's lover
Lidia Biondi ... Marta / Rosa's mother
Francisco Rabal ... Marta's lover
Francesco Impeciati ... Guido / Rosa's boyfriend
Máximo Valverde ... (as Massimo Valverde)
José María Prada ... Hotel guest (as Josè Maria Prada)
Wolfango Soldati Wolfango Soldati ... Fascist
Carlo Totti Carlo Totti ... Fascist
Maria D'Alessandro Maria D'Alessandro ... Prostitute
Diala Caruso Diala Caruso ... Prostitute
Arnaldo Caivano Arnaldo Caivano
Luigi De Santis Luigi De Santis


During World War II, teenage Rosa and her mother run a hotel in the Italian countryside, mourning over the death of her dead father. When the mother dies under mysterious circumstances, Rosa finds herself at mercy of her sex-crazed guests, but not before a hooded assailant, lurking in the shadows of the hotel, starts killing off each and everyone that tries to harm Rosa. Could it be her dead father back from the dead to avenge his daughter? Written by anonymous

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Did You Know?


Francesco Barilli recalls that when the movie came out in theaters it was forbidden to minors. "When it was acquired by television, all the most disturbing scenes were left out. For instance, the scene in which Luc Merenda's lover [Jole Fierro] lures Fani into her own room and then lets the man rape her, was cut to the bone. At a certain point, the elderly woman even stuck a finger in Luc's ass as he was fucking the girl, in order to somehow give him pleasure, too. I think I still have a "Playmen" magazine issue with the photo session taken on the set", he says. See more »

User Reviews

Excellent, unjustly obscure Italian slow burner
6 November 2011 | by BloodwankSee all my reviews

Its so satisfying to see a film like Pensione Paura, a rarity that really excels. Never released in English speaking territories and hence best seen on fan subtitled rips, its as worthy an outing of Italian horror as any others from the same period, indeed is actually superior to many. Best to know as little as possible about the plot before viewing as the film is slow in its revelations and hardly conventional, but essentially Pensione Paura is the tale of Rosa, daughter to hotel owners at the tail end of WW2 and awaiting her fathers return from fighting, who finds herself at the mercy of her assorted and somewhat dubious patrons. Its not really a plot focused film, more a matter of mood, slow accumulation of uneasy events, of aberrant characters, creating a mounting doom-like weight till all gives way. Little is fully explained, there are a variety of intrigues that move the characters along without ever becoming fully clear. Like Rosa we make our way through the fog of mystery, through the hotel with its colors, its peepholes, all decaying in isolation, fluid camera work and rich reds, blues and yellows compelling us in the journey. And the beautiful Leonora Fani as Rosa (one of her classier roles, she was also in Giallo A Venezia and Bestialita) makes for a perfect centre, pushed to the edge of her resources with innocence rubbing raw its almost impossible not to care for her and feel increasingly afraid. A shame she never achieved all that much fame as she really is terrific, highly watchable even in the quietest moments. Luca Merenda is the other big hitter of the film, in a bolder role as a scuzzy ageing playboy, he makes for a splendid arrogant brute, while Spanish veteran Francisco Rabal (Dagon) is warm yet frayed as one of the more sympathetic figures of the piece. Even the smaller roles convince, everyone coming together to make the film a smooth journey so as affairs turn darker and darker into a freaky and uncompromising finale it packs all the more ultimate punch. There is a small sense in which the film is too traditional, there are assorted moments, though variously suspenseful that remind us we are watching a giallo of sorts, and so the ultimate potential is never quite fulfilled. The relationship of characters and location is there, social and geographical isolation feeding the base and craven in man, decaying environment fuelling moral downward spiral, but the these themes aren't all that developed for all that they intrigue. Also the tension and fear of the piece stems more from events than themes, so instead of the truly exploratory, revelatory piece that lurks under the surface we have a top notch genre film that merely shines a searchlight. Yep, its still top notch. Could have done with a bit more blood, but for all that I've been jabbering you should know there are still some shocking jolts and a bit of sleaze and nudity. Its an arty film but it ain't yanking your chain, its still accessible. Those who shun slow burns should stay far away as for much of the first two thirds this only just about feels like horror, but if you can dig the suspense this is highly recommended. 9/10

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Italy | Spain



Release Date:

16 February 1978 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Hotel Fear See more »

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Technical Specs



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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