Newest Reviews
Armitage III: Polymatrix
Girls NIte Out
Five Women for the Killer
Dolce Vita, La
I Am Belmaya
Lodger, The
Show, The
Beta Test, The
Medium, The
John and the Hole
Survivalist, The
Ape Woman, The
Black Widow
Cop Secret
Dark Eyes of London, The
Fay Grim
Night of the Animated Dead
Freshman Year
Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
Anne at 13,000 Ft.
Even Mice Belong in Heaven
Death Screams
Freakscene: The Story of Dinosaur Jr.
East, The
Green Knight, The
Beasts of No Nation
One of Our Aircraft is Missing
Picture Stories
Another Round
Tape, The
Man Who Sold His Skin, The
Newest Articles
Super Silents: Early Universal Vol. 2 on Blu-ray
Fable Fear: The Singing Ringing Tree on Blu-ray
Gunsight Eyes: The Sabata Trilogy on Blu-ray
Bloody Bastard Baby: The Monster/I Don't Want to Be Born on Blu-ray
Night of the Animated Dead: Director Jason Axinn Interview
The ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt - Interview with Director/Star Ian Boldsworth
On the Right Track: Best of British Transport Films Vol. 2
The Guns of Nutty Joan: Johnny Guitar on Blu-ray
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
  Bell from Hell, A Ringing In The Fears
Year: 1973
Director: Claudio Guerín
Stars: Renaud Verley, Viveca Lindfors, Alfredo Mayo, Maribel Martín, Nuria Gimeno, Christina von Blanc, Saturno Cerra, Nicole Vesperini, Erasmo Pascual, Antonio Puga
Genre: Horror, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 2 votes)
Review: Some time ago, John (Renaud Verley) was committed to an insane asylum by his aunt (Viveca Lindfors) and three cousins, but now he has the chance to be released into the wide world once more. Part of his personality sees him fond of practical jokes, and before he leaves he has made a cast of his face to create a wax likeness with. Is it this aspect of him that makes him burn the summons he has been given to return within just over a week as he leaves the asylum's gates? Certainly John has mischief on his mind as he sets out on his motorbike to visit his aunt...

Let's get this out of the way: the main reason A Bell from Hell, or La Campana del infierno as it was known in Spain, is most notorious is not for anything much that appears in the film itself. No, it was for what occured on the final day of shooting because that is when its promising young director, Claudio Guerín, climbed to the top of the bell tower which featured in the film and fell off to his death. Was it an accident? Or was it a suicide? We'll never know, but this is what this film's infamy rests on, and it's tempting to watch the end result, completed by Juan Antonio Bardem, searching for clues.

You will, of course, be searching in vain, as the plot does not concern any suicide although it does include murder (not that many think Guerín was murdered). What there is in this story is a curious dissatisfaction, although as the script was written by Santiago Moncada and not the director this could just as easily indicate Moncada's opinions. It is significant that A Bell from Hell was made at the time of General Franco's last days in office, where the youth of Spain was as fed up with the older generation as John is here, although he takes revenge against his cousins as well.

Still, they are all set up as privileged establishment figures in their way, and the reason John wishes vengeance upon them is because they put him away in that asylum so they could get their hands on his inheritance, which was left to him by his mother who Aunt Marta drove to her death, also as disturbed as her son turned out to be. How does John go about getting even? He falls back on his practical jokes, including pretending to gouge out his eyes at one point. However, his pranks are about to turn very serious indeed, and his new job in the animal slaughterhouse seems to have sent him round the bend for real.

But no matter how depraved John threatens to become, it's always clear that he never actually goes all the way with his threats to rape his cousins and murder his aunt. Apparently we're supposed to think, well, he may have disfigured Marta with beestings and hung up his cousins as if they were in an abattoir, but he's not such a bad chap really, as if there were degrees of such things that made them acceptable. We can forgive him, the film says, because it's just a game to him and he does not understand the consequences of his actions, unlike his relatives who knew exactly what they were doing when they made him crazy. How you feel about this is a matter of opinion, but it does fashion a unsettling, woozy atmosphere that is undeniably effective if not especially palatable. And that would be the case even if you were not aware of this film's history. Music by Adolfo Waitzman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3796 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

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

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Andrew Pragasam
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Jason Cook
Enoch Sneed
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt


Last Updated: