Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Terror-Creatures from the Grave (5 tombe per un medium, 1965)

A letter from a man who has been dead for a year prompts a young lawyer to pay a visit to the man’s widow. Since Terror-Creatures from the Grave (5 tombe per un medium) is an Italian gothic movie the said widow naturally lives in a lonely secluded gothic house. A series of murders ensue, and it is revealed that the house was built on the site of a medieval plague hospital, and that on this site a series of executions was carried out on those suspected of deliberating spreading the plague. The dead man left behind a series of gramophone recordings suggesting that he had made some sort of occult contact with the spirits of the plague carriers. It also appears that he vowed revenge on a group of people who sought to kill him. The movie, like all 1960s Italian gothic horror movies, evokes the gothic mood rather effectively, but what this movie mostly has going for it is the presence of Barbara Steele as the dead man’s widow. Steele adds a touch of class, and a touch of genuine spookiness, to any movie she appears in. Apart from that it’s a perfectly competent example of 60s Italian gothic horror, with slightly more gruesome images than you would see in an American or British film of that era, and a hint of eroticism. Worth seeing just for Barbara Steele.

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