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
Directed by Giorgio Ferroni, the director of the 1972 "La Notte
dei Diavoli" also an atmospherical film and also based on a folk-tale,
about the Wurdalak, where "Il Mulino delle donne di Pietra"
is based on a short story from Flemish Tales by Pieter Van Weigen and
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
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
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
the house (somewhat like Edith Scob in Georges Franju's 1959 Les Yeux
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