Il Mulino delle donne di Pietra (Mill of the Stone Women, 1960)

Left: Spanish Blu-ray edition ; Right: Old US Mondo Macabro 2 DVD edition (that also included The Diabolical Dr. Z by Jess Franco)

Text below written 2020-08-11



A visually beautiful Old School horror with tons of atmosphere reaching even Mario Bava levels and with an unforgettable haunting ending.
The film plays out a bit like a mix on House of Wax and Les Yeux sans Visage, two great film classics, but with even more fascinating visual
imagery added, and some of the visuals are embedded in my head for ever maybe.

Directed by Giorgio Ferroni, the director of the 1972 "La Notte dei Diavoli" also an atmospherical film and also based on a folk-tale, the one
about the Wurdalak, where "Il Mulino delle donne di Pietra" is based on a short story from Flemish Tales by Pieter Van Weigen and the
story probably takes place sometime during the end of the 19th century, it's somewhat unclear.
Cinematographer Pierludovico Pavoni shot the film in glorious Technicolor and cudos also to the exquisite art direction.

Art student Hans Van Harnim (Pierre Brice) is visiting the art-professor and sculptor Gregorius Wahl in his old windmill situated in Flemish
Veeze where he is about to document the history of the old windmill and it's macabre horror cabinet. This bizarre and frightening horrorshow
has been open for the public since some 100 years. A strange puppet play with moving wax dolls of mythical female criminals and of horribly
murdered women and made to move on it's rail by the power of the windmills wings. Like some horror clockwork Funhouse machinery.

In a house connected to the windmill lives the professor Wahl (Herbert Böhme) and his daughter Elfie (gorgeous Scilla Gabel), an old housemaid
and most often also the unlikeable Doctor Bohlem (Wolfgang Preiss, later known for Dr. Mabuse films) hangs around there as he's supposed
to keep check on and treat Elfie Gabel's serious medical condition. She needs constant blood transfusions not to rot and die.

Hans meets and falls in love with Elfie and she seduces him easily and they've a one night stand before Hans goes back to his steady
girlfriend, fellow artstudent Liselotte (Dany Carrel). There's something strange about Elfie - is she already dead ? and Liselotte is not as
scary as Elfie. So Hans dumps Elfie who get so upset that she ... dies. Hans carries her to her bed and pretends as he know nothing
about it, but now everything start to crumble down and chaos is a coming with the film ending in a grandiose surreal destruction.

This sort of gothic horror i suppose has some truly impressive imagery (minus the toy looking miniature of the windmill) of the horror
cabinet but also of the interior of the windmill itself, and let's not forget of italian-french actress Scilla Gabel silently moving around in
the house (somewhat like Edith Scob in Georges Franju's 1959 Les Yeux sans Visage).

This Spanish La Casa del Cine para Todos DVD had only OK picture quality, and now i want a Blu-ray of this beautiful classic
The DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen 1.66:1 with an italian 2.0 audio and NO ENGLISH SUBS only spanish subtitles,
no extras and region free.
The old US Mondo Macabro combo edition were also in anamorphic wide and with french original audio and english subtitles, and
with alternative scenes, a trailer and biographies as extras

 

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