HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Z for Zachariah
Marty
Walk with Me
JFK
Kirlian Witness, The
Kid for Two Farthings, A
The Freshman
Hear My Song
Wild Wild West
Cure
Doraemon: Nobita and the Green Giant Legend
Locke the Superman
Psycho
Magic Flute, The
Top Secret
Ghost Punting
Hitman's Bodyguard, The
Touch, The
Akko's Secret
Backfire
Loving Vincent
Adventures of the Wilderness Family, The
Plot of Fear
Desperate Chase, The
Baskin
Time and Tide
X - Night of Vengeance
Bunny Drop
Acts of Vengeance
Asura: The City of Madness
   
 
Newest Articles
The Cinematic Darkside of Donald Crowhurst
Dutch Courage: The Flodder Series
Coming of Age: Boys on Film 18 - Heroes on DVD
Country and Irish - The secret history of Irish pop culture
Wash All This Scum Off the Streets: Vigilante Movies
Force the Issue: Star Wars' Tricky Middle Prequels and Sequels
Rediscovered: The Avengers - Tunnel of Fear on DVD
Sword Play: An Actor's Revenge vs Your Average Zatoichi Movie
Super Sleuths: The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes on DVD
Stop That, It's Silly: The Ends of Monty Python
They're All Messed Up: Night of the Living Dead vs Land of the Dead
The House, Black Magic and an Oily Maniac: 3 from 70s Weird Asia
80s Meet Cute: Something Wild vs Into the Night
Interview with The Unseen Director Gary Sinyor
Wrong Forgotten: Is Troll 2 Still a Thing?
   
 
  Bambola di Satana, La One creepy kinky castleBuy this film here.
Year: 1969
Director: Ferruccio Casapinta
Stars: Erna Schurer, Roland Carey, Aurora Bautista, Ettore Ribotta, Lucia Bomez, Manlio Salvatori, Franco Daddi, Beverly Fuller, Eugenio Galadini, Giorgio Gennari, Domenico Ravenna, Teresa Ronchi, Giovanni Ivan Scratuglia
Genre: Horror, Sex, Thriller, Trash
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: After a French aristocrat dies mysteriously his creepy old castle is inherited by his niece Elizabeth (Erna Schurer). Her arrival alongside fiancé Jack (Roland Carey) and bickering couple Gérard and Blanche draws a frosty reception from Carol (Lucia Bomez) the deceptively prim housekeeper who secretly consorts with an anonymous lover. As Elizabeth explores the castle she is dismayed to find that her uncle's secretary and lover Jeanette is now disfigured, confined to a wheelchair and unable to speak. At night she hears someone wailing her name outside in the dark. And why is sexy artist Claudine (Aurora Bautista) snooping around the castle grounds? When Elizabeth considers selling the castle to Paul Reynaud (Ettore Ribotta), affable owner of the neighbouring estate, the family urges her to reconsider. That night the black-gloved stranger murders the old man in his bed. Then things get really weird for Elizabeth, not to mention kind of kinky.

While undoubtedly a minor film, La Bambola di Satana or Satan's Doll is somewhat interesting as a transitional work in the Euro-horror genre. The film infuses the traditional Gothic style characters trapped in a spooky castle story with trappings of the more modern giallo that came to dominate Italian exploitation in the ensuing decade. Indeed at one point a character snarkily remarks that the cobwebbed castle interiors would make the ideal location for a giallo. It is hard to discern whether director and co-screenwriter Ferruccio Casapinta had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek given he mounts the film with relative seriousness albeit cheesiness. In his only directing credit Casapinta meanders through a tedious soap opera set-up then fumbles his way through silly scenes of cut-rate surrealistic pulp horror.

Gore fans may well bemoan the lack of bloodshed. Yet the film is less taken with violence than fumetti-like erotic sequences where sexy Euro-horror regular Erna Schurer writhes sensually in bed or is bound to a torture track to be whipped by hooded cultists. To its mild credit the film avoids sexualized violence as we never see the whip make contact with Elizabeth's naked body. Another dream sequence with the heroine ravished by a saturnine Jack comes across like a far less unsettling rip-off of Mia Farrow's nightmare in Rosemary's Baby (1968). Remarkably in spite of these Jess Franco-like sado-erotic flourishes La Bimbala di Satana lacks the overt misogyny that mars so many Italian genre films. Even though its view of female sexuality as something troubled, sinister and dark that needs to be tamed remains problematic. One interesting twist is the addition of a cool undercover policewoman. Unfortunately the third act sidelines her as a red-herring allowing pipe-puffing dimwit male lead Roland Carey to turn into Mr. Macho for a two-fisted climax.

The plot is pure Scooby-Doo style hokum. It helps if you have a taste for this sort of colourful nonsense, as some of us do. However Casapinta gives the game away far too early which sorely lessens the fun. His leading lady had few kind words for the director. In interviews Schurer described Casapinta as "an idiot who couldn't do anything" and claimed the troubled shoot was salvaged by the assistant director. A capable actress, Schurer - who went through a slightly more accomplished variation on this plot the following year in the Spanish-Italian made Scream of the Demon Lover (1970) - delivers her moody monologues commendably. Yet the characters are mere movable props padding out attempts to build a spooky atmosphere with prowling camera, billowing curtains and strange shrieks in the dark. The hackneyed story-line needs a stylist like Mario Bava or even Antonio Margheriti to transcend its limitations. See Bava's Baron Blood (1972) for a textbook example of how to weave a perfunctory plot into delirious nightmare cinema.


Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 69 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
George White
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
  Mark Scampion
  Frank Michaels
   

 

Last Updated: