26 August 2009 | BA_Harrison
JUST about worth it for the gore. Possibly.
An Italian/American co-production co-starring Linda Blair and David 'The Hoff' Hasselhoff: how could any fan of trashy horror resist such a treat?
Well, based on the uneventful, extremely tedious, and utterly nonsensical first forty minutes or so, I would have said 'very easily'; thankfully, however, things do eventually get a tad more entertaining with the introduction of several inventive death scenes, and for those lucky enough to find an uncut copy, a smattering of nudity too (unfortunately, my copy was optically edited to remove such offensive material).
The Hoff stars as Gary, a photographer who accompanies his beautiful girlfriend Leslie (Leslie Cumming) to a run-down hotel on a seemingly deserted island in order to take pictures for her latest project, a book about witches; whilst there, frustrated Gary also hopes to try and cure a bad case of blue balls by relieving Leslie of her virginity.
His plans for nookie are scuppered, however, by the unexpected arrival of property developers Freddie and Rose Brooks (Robert Champagne and Annie Ross), their pregnant daughter Jane (Blair), son Tommy (Michael Manchester), pretty nymphomaniac architect Linda Sullivan (Catherine Hickland), and estate agent Jerry (Rick Farnsworth), who have come to inspect the island's hotel.
After explaining their unexpected presence on the island, Gary and Leslie are welcomed by the property's new owners, and when a violent storm suddenly picks up, making it perilous to return to the mainland, everyone agrees to spend the night in the old building. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the hotel's new guests, the place is also home to the spirit of an evil witch (Hildegard Knef), who requires human sacrifices in order to bring herself back to life. One by one, victims are pulled into a swirling red vortex (which is guaranteed to provide unintentional laughs), before meeting a terrible fate.
None of this makes much sense, and the acting is atrocious (Manchester as Tommy is particularly bad, whilst Hasselhoff proves to be one of the better performers, which speaks volumes about the others), but those viewers who make it past the dreary first half are rewarded with some pretty decent moments of gore: Rose has her lips sewn together, before being roasted alive in a fireplace; Jerry is crucified and burnt alive; Linda is tortured by hags and impaled on a swordfish(!!); Freddie's veins pulsate and erupt in geysers of blood; and Gary gets stabbed in the back.
Oh, and Leslie is raped by a guy with no lips and Blair gets possessed (again).