Friday, September 7, 2007


This is a rather curious film. Theoretically it’s Italian horror master Mario Bava’s final movie, though most of the directing was actually left to his son Lamberto, as a means of getting his son’s career a jump start before the elder died. I’m sure this was considered quite nice and wonderful for the Bava family, but since Lamberto was not even a third as good a director as his father was, it is not quite so nice and wonderful for us.

There’s not really anything wrong with the film that couldn’t have been fixed by getting rid of the two main characters. It’s a mother-son combo with a dark past and a deceased ex-husband that now seems to be haunting them in their new home. The mother is prone to hysterics and madness, and the son is the sort of precocious lad that Hollywood bewilderingly thought was just adorable and vital to any number of films back in the day, and whenever I see one of those old movies I spend the whole time on edge and wanting to strangle the stupid little brat. Remember when you first watched the Sound of Music, and all the little children lined up to introduce themselves and give a cutesy one liner? “Hi, I’m Dieter, and I’m incorrigible!” Yeah, I sat through that little abortion of a film too. Now try to imagine sitting through a feature length film version of that scene, with a child misbehaving adorably, having cute little fits, talking to nobody all sweetly, and generally just making you wish the technology existed to enter into films so that you could keep rewatching the movie over and over again, finding a new way to kill the little bastard off each and every time.

Had Mario actually done the directing, we could have at least got some nice spooky scenery and music to partially make up for it. Unfortunately, Lamberto lacks a trait his father had that I would refer to as “talent”, and so we get nothing but that little shit making me punch my dog in rage for an hour and a half. There’s no real plot to speak of, either, to at least manage some kind of pacing. It’s just the son trying to be all adorably spooky and possessed pretty much from the start, and the mother going crazy, until the end of the film. I’m going to spoil the ending here too, and mention that the son tragically lives, and the film ends with the camera on him. I almost feel bad for having criticized the Halloween remake as much as I did, as for all of its faults it at least didn’t have an awful child mucking up the works all the way through. Only watch this film if you want to do an endurance test to see just how much pain you can survive before you just give up entirely.

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