20 November 2005 | BaronBl00d
Mesmer-izing Italian Horror Film
A young, beautiful blonde, her best friend from college with her brother and an admirer of her blonde beauty reach "home," the stately residence of the famed and fabled Blachevilles. Upon arriving there, we meet the brother Roderick, a scary looking housekeeper that seems to possess a station way above her ranks, and a doctor that oozes something not closely related to charm. It seems that all the old servants have been let go and that the patriarch - the father- has recently died - or not? I liked this film for several reasons. If nothing else it has atmosphere. The castle used is an impressive set. The black and white cinematography accentuates the rooms of the castle, a huge family tomb, grounds swirling with fog, and a lot more. We have a huge organ being grinded out in a few scenes in classic horror classic fashion(say that fast five times). The story and the "monster" are nothing fantastic at all, but the film works because the artful direction is able to build suspense. Now, if you are the type of viewer that needs a lot of action, then you really must stay away as this film is more talking and all red herrings(in what turns out to be a not all that clever mystery of who is the Blancheville monster). There is some rather preposterous story about an ancient curse on the family that will die off when the last female(?) descendant turns 21 - utter rubbish. But it is incidental when one looks at the way the film was filmed, and the pace slowly creeps up from slower to slow and then finally fast at the end in the revelation of what has lain cloaked the whole time. This was an Italian production with lots of Spanish influence(much of the cast is Spanish). The actors are all decent and able to make you believe in them at times. This is by no means a great horror film, but it, as other reviewers have noted, is in the same vein as a Roger Corman movie of the same period or a black and white Hammer film. This is the Euro version with no big stars but a decent story and lots of mood.