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La Frusta e il Corpo

Whip and the Body

Italy 1963
directed by John M. Old (= Mario Bava)
starring Christopher Lee, Daliah Lavi, Tony Kendall, Isli Oberon (= Ida Galli), Harriet White (= Harriet Medin), Jacques Herlin, Alan Collins, Dean Ardow (= Gustavo De Nardo)

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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For the wedding of his brother Christian (Tony Kendall) to Nevenka (Daliah Lavi), Kurt (Christopher Lee) comes back to his family's castle, but he gets a very cold reception since he, many years ago killed Giorga's (Harriet White) daughter Tania. 

But the wedding is not the only reason for his return, since he wants to reclaim his rights of the firstborn that were refused him after he killed Tania ... & then he also wants to rekindle his own relationship to Nevenka, whom he had a sadomasochist affair with. To that end, one day shortly after the wedding, he meets her alone on the beach, & though she refuses him at first, he soon gives her a fierce whipping that drives her to ecstasy and unconsciousness. 

When Kurt later returns to the castle, he finds everybody in uproar over the disappearance of Nevenka ... who is later found unconscious on the beach by the searchparty that included everyone but Kurt & Kurt's bedridden father (Dean Ardow). When the group returns, they find Kurt stabbed - with the same dagger he had once stabbed Tania with. Soon after Kurt is buried in the family crypt, he appears to Nevenka again, first only as a shape outside the window, but soon he enters her room again repeatedly & whips her to ecstasy on many an occasion. But is he imagination ? A ghost ? Or Kurt still alive, having only faked his own death ? & if so, did he kill his own father soon afterwards, who was stabbed by the same dagger ? To find that out, Nevenka goes to the crypt to look into his tomb, only to find it ... occupied (!). However, when the presence of Kurt becomes obvious to other persons than Nevenka too in the form of footprints & the like, Christian decides to take action. He, by now convinced Kurt is a ghost, burns the corpse in the tomb - only to see a person (Kurt ?) escape the crypt. When he finally catches up with that person, he realizes it is not Kurt at all, but Nevenka, who, after killing Kurt, became obsessed with him. When she sees Kurt's burning corpse though, she kills herself in order to finally kill him ...

 

Moody Italian gothic, graced by stylish, colourful direction, as should be expected from Mario Bava. However, in all this is not one of his better movies since the screenplay is way too formulaic & cliché-ridden, leaving little room for the director's personal marks. That said though, within the genre it's not a bad movie at all, & some of its sadomasochist undercurrents are quite intriguing.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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Tales to Chill
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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
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD