Thursday, December 23, 2010

THE OGRE aka Demons 3

(Lamberto Bava, 1988)
Buyer beware: this title has nothing at all to do with Bava's Demons films. That aside, it's an atmospheric, if at times tedious, viewing experience. Bava heaps on the cobwebs and shadows here, and the soundtrack by Simon Boswell helps give a little substance to an otherwise simplistic story that lacks most of the violence and mean-spiritedness that define the bulk of Bava's work.
Cheryl (Virginia Bryant) has been plagued since childhood by nightmares of being stalked by a humanoid beast through a moldering cellar. Her nightmares prove lucrative, as she becomes a best-selling horror author. She, her husband Tom (Paolo Malco), and son Bob take a trip to stay at a rented villa so she can complete her latest novel. Shock and surprise; it's the same villa from her childhood dreams!
After exploring the cellar and finding in it the teddy bear she abandoned there in her nightmare, Cheryl becomes convinced that the villa is cursed, the ogre is real, and that she and her family are in danger. Tom believes this to be a product of her imagination and repressed sexual desires (of course!). So, we are back to a familiar question: is there really an ogre, or is Cheryl going bonkers?
Despite a brief scene of frontal nudity, The Ogre is a strictly made-for-TV affair. It contains little blood, few scares, and almost no violence. In a horror film, one or more of these elements should always be present. Also, the storyline and several of the set pieces are lifted from numerous other films, most notably the underwater scene that was taken directly from father Mario Bava's contribution to Dario Argento's Inferno.
As previously expressed, The Ogre does play up the Gothic horror angle fairly well. There are a few genuinely creepy aspects, The Ogre himself being the creepiest of the lot. I'd leave this title for a rainy day, as Lamberto has better to offer. Buy it here.

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