15 July 2002 | rundbauchdodo
Eugenio Martin has made two of the most remarkable Spanish horror films of the Seventies: The Spanish-British co-production "Horror Express" (1972) starring Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing, plus the astonishingly subversive "Una Vela Para el Diablo" (1973). "Aquella Casa en las Afueras" is also quite remarkable, if not as catching as the two aforementioned films.
The film tells the story of a pregnant young woman whose husband rent a beautiful house in the outskirts of Madrid for the time until she gives birth to the child. Unfortunately, the house was used as an illegal abortion clinic until a few years ago, and the now pregnant woman had an abortion there five years ago (she never told her husband), when she was 17 years old. Soon, she gets haunted by her memories. Worse still, the lover of the then aborting doctor still lives in the house - and she's schizophrenic.
Even though the movie is slow moving at times, it boosts a gloomy atmosphere and tells its story in a pleasantly Gothic way. There is not much gore in the film (not as one may expect from a Euro horror film from 1979), but there are some details in the film grisly enough even for today's standards. The plot itself undoubtedly is partly influenced by the cult-Giallo "Cosa Avete Fatto a Solange?", which also had abortion as a motive in its story. Alida Valli gives a tremendous performance as the schizophrenic, and her character sometimes reminds of Sheila Keith's frenzy portrayal of madness in Pete Walker's "Frightmare".
All in all, "Aquella Casa en las Fueras" is a dark Gothic thriller with some typical Seventies-style shocks and some subversive elements often found in European films of that decade. Rating: 7 out of 10.