Saturday, May 7, 2011


(Filippo Walter Ratti, 1971)
A request by dying friend Guillaume De Saint brings journalists Danielle and Jean Duprey to his crumbling castle where he lives with his wife and the servants. His wife, the reincarnation of a witch burnt centuries before, maintains her youth by killing the members of the De Saint family. She also controls her husband, and soon turns her eye to the lovely Danielle. Suspicious of the odd occurrences, Jean soon learns the origins of their hostess and must devise a way to free Danielle and destroy the witch.
I'm surprised a Gothic horror film was made this late in the game, as the subgenre had pretty much exhausted itself by this point. The story is familiar, and in better hands might have been slightly more entertaining, but alas, it's a bore. I'm sure I could get more out of it if I spoke Italian, or it had subtitles, or even a decent transfer, but this is as good as it gets, I guess. The special effects consisted solely of fog and colored lighting, obviously inspired by Mario Bava, but not as effective. On the other hand, the makeup wasn't all that bad.
Oddly enough, Night of the Damned is pretty heavy on the atmosphere, and there are brief flashes of potential genius in the imagery presented. Pity it's not maintained throughout the whole film. Recommended for completists only, and just as well as this film will likely never see a proper release.

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