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Ragno Gelido

Dial H.E.L.P.
Minaccia d'Amore/Love Threat

Italy 1988
directed by Ruggero Deodato
starring Charlotte Lewis, Marcello Modugno, Mattia Sbragia, Carola Stagnaro, William Berger, Jole Silvani, Cyrus Elias, Fausto Lombardi

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When Jenny (Charlotte Lewis), English model in Rome, wants to call a lover - who already dumped her - & misdials, she accidently sets some evil forces free that turn telephones into evil entities. & the first thing the telephone on the other end of the line Jenny is calling mistakingly is to strangle a cleaning lady (Jole Silvani). But apparently, the phones can not only cause physical violence but also work on a high frequency (they kill the fish in Jenny's watertank this way) or mental level (they almost cause Jenny's neighbour & friend Riccardo [Marcello Modugno] to commit suicide). 

When Jenny's friend Molo (Mattia Sbragia), maintenance worker for the telephone company, is killed while investigating these strange occurences, she begins to realize this is a personal matter between her & the phones, especially when she, soon after finding dead Molo, is saved from a brutal rape by some payphones shooting coins at the assailant (really). The phones soon start to behave like a lover - she even has some sort of weird phonesex - but a jealous one, as Jenny has to realize when her manager & photographer Carmen (Carola Stagnaro) is hanged by her own phone. 

Riccardo meanwhile finds a professor (William Berger turning in a welcome cameo) who actually explains these phenomena, but the phones are killing him by exploding his pacemaker before he can actually do much. But as the phones get angrier & angrier, they soon attack Jenny too, first one of them jumps into her bathdtub to electrocute her (really) - fortunately she has just left the tub -, then they burn down her appartment, which she can only escape in a very sexy & revealing outfit, only to be attacked again whereever she goes. 

Finally Jenny decides to strike back with the help of Riccardo: via the place from where she first dialled the wrong number that started it all, they find a long abandoned lonely hearts-phone service office, where the phones (with the help of magnetic tape & a ceiling-fan) start their last all-out attack on Jenny, but she is saved again by Riccardo, & comes to the conclusion to stop all the horror she has to call the wrong number once again tro release some spirit. In the process of doing that, she almost gets sucked up by a public phonebox but succeeds in the end.


The setup for this story is so stupid that one might think only Stephen King would be careless enough to use. But while that man would have turned the story into a conservative celebration of small-town- & family-values, Deodato makes this one into a fast-moving, bizarre (if silly) little horror ride - not devoid of unintentional humour though. & though it is a far cry from Deodato's best movies (e.g. Cannibal Holocaust), the movie never fails to entertain. Also, Charlotte Lewis makes a better than usual, even sexy late-Eighties-female-lead-in-Italian-horror-movie.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD