1 July 2006 | BaronBl00d
A Stone's Throw from Greatness
This is one of the films that is very atmospheric, stylish, and inventive in the European 60's fashion. The story is somewhat of a cross between Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "Rappacini's Daughter" and the film House of Wax. An art professor is keeping a secret about his invalid, beautiful, seductive daughter Elfi away from Hans von Arnam, a man sent to write a piece on the centennial of the professor's mill and its famous statues of women that move around on a carousel-like machine. The statues are of famous women through history as well as having local historical murderesses and victims displayed. Living with the professor and Elfi is a strange doctor. Amidst this strange four-sided triangle, women are disappearing. The story is'nt too hard to figure out and much is given away early on. What it does do quite nicely is create a slowly-paced mood that leads to an interesting if not wholly imaginative denouement. The style infused throughout the picture is a credit to Italian director Giorgio Ferroni. The use of colors, the settings, the haunting carousel music, the "waxworks" themselves all help create the oppressive almost hallucinogenic mood. The acting is pretty good overall with Wolfgang Preiss as the complex doctor and especially Robert Boehme as Professor Gregorious Wahl standing out. Scilla Gabel as Elfi is just gorgeous as is Liana Orfei as one of the girls that gets missing. The production looks very German in manner and style - another compliment to the director. There are several scenes which stand out: the first time we see the carousel moving, nay, almost cranking itself away past those that have come to gawk at it, the drug-induced dream sequence Hans goes through, and the ending - a real barn-burner! Mill of the Stone Women isn't a fast-paced horror film but if you like movies like Black Sunday or Bava's work in general - Ferroni seems to have some similar directorial flair.