HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Perfect 10
Octaman
Red Penguins
China Syndrome, The
Babyteeth
Round-Up, The
Around the Sun
Once There Was Brasilia
Peripheral
Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street
Ice
She Demons
Good Girls, The
Hail, Hero!
Faces in the Crowd
Tamango
Traitor, The
Tomorrow
Third Generation, The
Saxon Charm, The
Spy Intervention
Moonrise
Mulan
Killer with a Thousand Eyes, The
Vigil, The
Liberation of L.B. Jones, The
Wizard of Baghdad, The
Ride
Good Manners
Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Sweet Home
Big Score, The
Siddhartha
Three Outlaw Samurai
Echoes of Fear
Guinea Pig, The
Truth, The
Good Die Young, The
Old Guard, The
Gumnaam
   
 
Newest Articles
Eve Knew Her Apples: The Lady Eve on Blu-ray
Network On Air: Tempo - Gallery One
Network On Air: Nights In with ABC 1 - Welcome Once Again to Manchester!
Transformative Apocalypses: Phase IV and Southland Tales
The Happiest Days of Their Lives: The Guinea Pig on Blu-ray
Faced Poe: Three Edgar Allan Poe Adaptations Starring Bela Lugosi on Blu-ray
Hard Luck, Buster: The Cameraman on Blu-ray
At the Hop: Mr. Vampire on Blu-ray
Divine Madness: Female Trouble on Blu-ray
Country Matters: Further Out of Town on Blu-ray
Bat-Damn: Was Joel Schumacher's Batman Really That Bad?
The Beat Goes On: Takeshi Kitano Collection on Blu-ray
Dream Treats: Scorsese Shorts on Blu-ray
It's Only Money: Laughter in Paradise on Blu-ray
A Regular Terpsichore: Dance, Girl, Dance on Blu-ray
Teenage Trauma: Baby Love on Blu-ray
The Happening: Pet Shop Boys It Couldn't Happen Here on Blu-ray
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Death Smiles on a Murderer Blonde from Beyond
Year: 1973
Director: Joe D'Amato
Stars: Ewa Aulin, Klaus Kinski, Angela Bo, Sergio Doria, Attilio Dottesio, Marco Mariani, Luciano Rossi, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Fernando Cerulli, Carla Mancini, Giorgio Dolfin
Genre: Horror, Sex, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Exploitation hack-of-all-trades Joe D’Amato (a.k.a. Aristide Massaccesi) launched his career with a flop spaghetti western that he subsequently disowned, making this surreal schlock-horror opus his “official” directorial debut. In the early 1900s mad hunchback Franz (Luciano Rossi) mourns over the corpse of his beautiful blonde sister Greta von Holstein (Ewa Aulin) with whom he was having an incestuous love affair. That is, until the day she was courted by a handsome stranger (Euro-horror stalwart Giacomo Rossi-Stuart). We jump abruptly to a runaway carriage that crashes in front of startled aristocrat Walter von Ravensbruck (Sergio Doria) and his wife Eva (Angela Bo), who discover a miraculously revived Greta is its only passenger.

Taking the young amnesiac into their home, they enlist the aid of family physician Dr. Sturges (Klaus Kinski, uh-oh…). He performs an unorthodox medical examination by convincing Greta to strip down to her racy underwear, then shoves a needle through her eyeball in gruesome close-up. However, it’s not her shapely figure that intrigues him so much as the mysterious medallion she wears. While a murderer stalks the castle grounds, gorgeous Greta seduces a smitten Walter and enjoys a torrid lesbian liaison with Eva, but the latter succumbs to jealousy and walls her alive inside the castle dungeon. Thereafter, Greta periodically returns as a phantom menace and drives Eva to an untimely death. As dogged Inspector Dannick (Attilio Dottesio) struggles to make sense of this mystery, Walter welcomes the return of his father Dr. Herbert von Ravensbruck (who looks about the same age as him!), who turns out to be none other than Greta’s long lost lover we glimpsed in flashback earlier. Pretty soon, he’s glimpsing ghostly Greta traipsing around the cemetery…

Ambiguous to the point of being nonsensical, La morte ha sorriso all’assassino (variously translated as Death Smiled at a Murder and Death Smiles on a Murderer) proves you don’t necessarily have to make any kind of sense to creep viewers out. Euro-horror often ignores logic to unfold like a waking nightmare and this film does so more poetically than most despite sometimes seeming like five different movies edited together. Whether by accident or design, this emerges as D’Amato’s most haunting movie especially when compared to his run of extreme splatter fare including Beyond the Darkness (1979) (with which this shares certain thematic concerns) and the cannibal gut-munchers Anthropophagus (1980) and Absurd (1981).

An eerie soundtrack by Berto Pisano coupled with D’Amato’s inspired visuals infuse the often loopy plot with an affecting romanticism and palpable dread. The lovely, doe-eyed and often underrated Ewa Aulin gives a bewitching turn as she alternates from winsome, giggly ingénue to spooky sad-eyed seductress and then a hideous walking corpse. She clearly enjoys playing the monster for a change. Klaus Kinski fans are liable to come away disappointed though, since he mostly potters around his laboratory plotting to steal the formula for eternal life engraved on Greta’s amulet until a regrettably swift exit.

D’Amato, who conceived the story and co-wrote the screenplay with Claudio Bernabei, borrows extensively from Edgar Allan Poe what with Greta being buried alive (she seems to have died at least three times?!), a creepy cat spying on protagonists and a costume ball that heralds the arrival of an avenging angel in red. As director-cinematographer he makes fine use of the sumptuous castle location, stages two impressively disorientating chase sequences where Greta pursues first Eva then Herbert, and keeps the movie high on gore (a maid graphically shotgunned in the face, a manservant razored to a bloody death) and gothic style. The future porno mogul also lovingly dwells on Greta’s varied sexual couplings, but actually turns them into a rather striking and poetic montage cutting between furtive glances around the dinner table and soft-focus lesbian and hetero lovemaking. You may never entirely figure out what is going on, but the stupendous finale involving a flying killer kitty bouquet of flowers lingers long in the memory as does the crazy final twist involving the Inspector’s hitherto unseen elderly wife.

Click here for the trailer
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 3025 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 star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
Andrew Pragasam
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
Enoch Sneed
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: