Italian Gothic horror that tells the tale of a man who stops at a remote castle hoping to get medical help for an injured woman, only to find the inhabitants mirror the darker sides of the woman and himself.
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Mark S. Esposito
While driving through the countryside late at night, Dr. Benson finds a crashed car with a young woman hanging out of it. The doctor puts the girl in his car and drives for help to the nearest house, which turns out to be a mysterious castle. He is greeted at the door by a woman who looks exactly like the woman from the car, and she invites them both to stay for the night. The doctor soon discovers that his host is not the only one in the castle, and that this beautiful woman is concealing a terrifying secret.Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <email@example.com>
I had been trying to get hold of this one ever since watching Renato Polselli's THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL (1973) to which it has been compared in terms of sheer loopiness; in the meantime, I had actually checked out another Batzella movie i.e. the only slightly superior THE DEVIL'S WEDDING NIGHT (1973) which, unlike the film under review and the above-mentioned ISABEL, maintains a Gothic feel throughout its entirety. Apart from this fusion of past and present not to mention, leading lady Rita Calderoni the two also share the doppelganger motif and, as I said earlier, an absolute (deliberate?) disregard for logic which go a long way in rendering them effortlessly surreal (abetted by a weird score and some of the oddest camera angles ever conceived!); however, this alone does not make them worthwhile (let alone good) and, in fact, both these films are relentlessly sabotaged by inept handling and matching wooden performances I mean, one has to wonder just what went on during the production of such efforts where, invariably, a writer-director's 'uncompromising' vision was constantly shortchanged by the individual's apparent lack of talent in putting his own ideas to fruition! In both, then, the luscious Calderoni plays two roles: here, she is a traffic-accident victim and a succubus-like temptress from a previous era; similarly, the male protagonist alternates between a strapping doctor and a decadent, slightly mad aristocrat. Other figures vaguely involved include the enigmatic owner of the film's central castle setting who is something of a wry observer and eventually Master Of Ceremonies at the climatic would-be satanic orgy, an even more ambiguous and unhinged manservant (the first time we see him he is lying on the floor with a knife stuck in his throat don't ask!) and a black maid (or something) whose only function in the proceedings is to indulge in some lesbian fondling with the modern incarnation of the heroine and, later, to be whipped within an inch of her life by said wild-eyed butler!! Though running a measly 81 minutes, the film tends to feel much longer due to its sluggish pacing actually, a characteristic 'drawback' to both Gothic and dream-like fare. As always, too, nonsensical quotes from some ancient tome prove the key to the whole mystery which, when uttered by the hero, causes a skull to explode(!), send the members of the orgy running and surprise, surprise gets us back where it all started!! For once, and thankfully so, the title does not promise something it cannot deliver: Calderoni, in fact, is nude whether for Satan or the audience's ultimate benefit is another matter entirely! throughout most of this (beginning with the very opening sequence) though she also suffers the ignominy of having to scream her head off, ostensibly in abject terror, during an attack by a hilariously fake arachnid (albeit inside a reasonably atmospheric spider-pit)!!
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