Symptoms (1973)

US Mondo Macabro Blu-ray

Text below written 2016-09-09


Atmospheric psychological horror-thriller
about a fragile woman hiding in a house in the country.
From ex-spaniard and 1970's British based director José Ramón Larraz, sometimes directing under the
alias Joseph Braunstein. José Larraz, the director of the erotic ..... No, the Sensual horror masterpiece
Vampires with the unforgettable Anulka and Morris, a film with tons of atmosphere from the luscious
British countryside. So, also in in this film - Symptoms, lots and lots of atmosphere, from the countryside
and with fantastic photography and gorgeous autumn colors.

The film represented UK in Cannes 1974 against films as Coopolas The Conversation. Some distance
travelled from this to Los Ritos Sexuales del Diablo 1982 with the goat sex.

So, i've seen only 4 films from Larraz, one masterpiece - Vampyres, one good one - Symptoms, one OK
one - the giallo Scream and Die (see my Giallo page 2), and one awful - the sleazebomb Black Candles,
and the first 3 of these were all very atmospherical with that Larraz-esque soft beautiful autumn colors

In the extras we get some answers of why? Larraz was once not just a comic book writer but also a
fashion photographer which can explain his skilled handling of the camera. According to actress Laura
Heilbron the films set and lighting was very thought out well in advance by Larraz, he had it in his head
and knew what visuals he wanted. The acting wasn't that important though for him

Helen Ramsay (Angela Pleasance) returns with a friend, Anne (Laura Heilbron) to her mansion like villa in
the country. Anne, taking a time-out from her husband and wondering who the girl in the photos is, and
what the strange sounds she hears in the night are? Helen, a very overstrung woman is afraid of her handyman
(Peter Vaughan) who lives in the stable and avoids him the best she can.
What does he know about her? What happened to the woman on the photo? Who's locked in in the attic?

1.33:1 fullscreen originalratio, english audio PCM mono. Extras:
Original trailer, On Vampyres and other Symptoms - a film by Celia Novis, 1h 14 min, 2013 documentary
about José Ramón Larraz (1929-2013) interesting to see and hear the aging (and dying) artist talk about
his career and thoughts about aging - "I think we've become like ghosts. Watching the world like a movie".
Also gripping to see him meet his Muses from Vampyres, Marianne Morris and Anulka, how happy he was.

Celia Novis biography, From Barcelona to Tunbridge Wells: The Films of José Larraz (a 24 min
documentary by Andy Sarke & Pete Tombs from 1999) where José tells us .... "I was a comic book writer
and then became a second-rate director", Interviews with 1. Angela Pleasance (9 min from 2016),
2. Laura Heilbron (18 min, 2016), 3. Brian Smedley-Aston (17 min, 2016), trailers from Mondo Macabro

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