The Possessed (1965)

Not Rated   |    |  Crime, Drama, Mystery


The Possessed (1965) Poster

A popular writer visits his favorite holiday destination during the off season looking for the woman he is secretly infatuated with, only to find out that she has committed suicide, but did she really?


7/10
710

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


26 November 2005 | Francoesque-2
10
| Beautiful, undeservedly obscure proto giallo
Having been very impressed by co-director Bazzoni's subsequent "The Fifth Cord", I have been very keen to see "The Lady of the Lake" since I first heard of it four or five years ago when i read Adrian Luther Smith's Excellent "Bloody and Black Lace" - a definitive collection of giallo reviews. It appears, under the title "The Possessed" in the obscure and rare titles section, along with a superlative review. Subsequent attempts to track the title down were in vain, until I popped into El Corte Ingles on my most recent Spanish holiday and found it on Filmax's "Giallo" collection under the title "El Mujer Del Lago". This is the only DVD outing I've ever heard of and there were both pros (a fantastic anamorphic print) and cons (it's Spanish and Italian only, with Spanish subs) - the cons apply as I'm an English speaker, but I was able to manage enough Spanish (with my dictionary at hand) to navigate through this beautiful, atmospheric film in Spanish with subs showing.

It's as good as it's advance word suggests - an ice cool, incredibly shot mood piece which emerges as a giallo only in hindsight, as at the time it was filmed, the concept hadn't been formed and we were still four years away from the giallo cycle proper which was initiated by the box office success of Argento's "The Bird with the Crystal Plummage" and Martino's "The Case of the Scorpion's Tail" amongst others.

The plot: A writer returns to the small town where he had vacationed previously. he's keen to meet up with his former maid, Tilde, with whom he had enjoyed a romance previously. However, she isn't there and the locals are not keen on talking about why. As he goes through the town, casual encounters build up an atmosphere of menace as everyone seems to be brushing her untimely death under the carpet. The writer presses on in his investigations, seeking the facts behind her death and finding an awful lot of problems lying beneath the town's impassive surface, but in doing so unleashes the pitch black heart of darkness that lies within this film's conclusion.

In terms of style, this is far away from the post-Argento iconography of the giallo. There are no black leather gloved killers here, no stalk and slash killings. All of the (physical) violence occurs off camera. But this remains one of the most claustrophobic, oppressive films of it's time. Much of the drama unfolds within the walls of the hotel, with flashbacks, fantasies and the present unfolding in this space. The film it feels most like is Renais' "Last year At marienbad", but with a more defined narrative. I suspect a lot of the time shifts come from co-screenwriter Gulio Questi, who would later return to the editing styles shown here in his own films such as "Django Kill... If you live, shoot!". Bazzoni contributes his unnerving eye for architecture as counterpoint and subtext to the story (he's on a par with Michael Mann in this respect).

This is a film about love, all types of love, from the casual to the obsessive, and the film gradually cranks up the tension until the conclusion. I hope that a wider audience will be able to embrance this with a DVD release from an outfit such as No Shame or Blue Underground. In the meantime, I'd advise anyone who cares about atmospheric horror/ thriller cinema to pick up the Spanish release, which can be had for a remarkable price (I paid €8.95).

Critic Reviews



Did You Know?

Storyline

Plot Summary


Genres

Crime | Drama | Mystery | Thriller

Details

Release Date:

14 August 1965

Language

Italian


Country of Origin

Italy

Contribute to this page

Not-So-Scary Movies For Scaredy Cats

Looking for a slightly scary movie to watch this Halloween? Check out our picks for movies that (hopefully) won't keep you up at night. For even more, visit our Guide to Horror ... if you dare.

See the full list

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com