23 January 2010 | Bunuel1976
TI ASPETTERO' ALL' INFERNO (Piero Regnoli, 1960) **1/2
In every Halloween challenge I participate in, I like to embellish the popular or, if you like, obvious choices with some very obscure stuff (even to me) – so, after the mix of swashbuckling and horror that was UNA SPADA PER BRANDO (1970), here we have a caper/crime movie that becomes a ghost story! While it is no lost classic, this unlikely hybrid plays much more successfully here; that said, the supernatural events are given a twist which might be considered a cop-out (though I predicted something to that effect much earlier). The film starts off immediately with the robbery or, rather, the ingenious idea to sound the alarm of the targeted establishment beforehand so that the police arrive on the scene in vain and the caretaker, almost in shame, turns it off for the rest of the night. No sooner has he done this that the criminals pounce on him and, typically, he ends up killed in the ensuing fracas – but, no, he is not the ghost in question. When the gang meets to divide the proceeds (a cache' of diamonds), their true natures emerge and soon start bickering, with one of them eventually drowning in the nearby swamp! The other two decide to lie low in the country but do not really trust each other – especially since the leader (an intense John Drew Barrymore) is obviously a psycho. His partner (Massimo Serato) is actually a respectable businessman who, on the night of the job, even creates a solid alibi for himself by literally bumping into the Police Commissioner at a nightclub! At this point, a girl (Eva Bartok) enters into the picture; soon after, Barrymore starts being haunted by his dead associate (in the form of whispered calls, writings and even the planting of a photo among his killer's things)! The catch is that this female 'intruder' is not as naïve as she lets on and, to complicate matters, Serato falls for her while the misogynistic Barrymore attempts to rape the girl! Anyway, it all concludes with a return to the fateful swamps and another drowning (guess who gets to go under this time around?). The boggy atmosphere and level of suspense are adequate for a clearly low-budget effort – though, in the end, it is the bearded Barrymore's histrionics which make the film worthwhile. For the record, director Regnoli had co-scripted the seminal I VAMPIRI (1957) and, among his other credits in this capacity, are two which I will be checking out presently as part of the Halloween Horror Challenge i.e. THE THIRD EYE (1966) and OBSCENE DESIRE (1978). By the way, the literal English translation of the film's original Italian title is I'LL WAIT FOR YOU IN HELL.