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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Blancheville Monster (1963) Horror Mystery

The Blancheville Monster (1963) - This is a tale of a family in transition with a curse that will soon come to pass. Emily (Ombretta Colli) almost twenty one is returning home from college to her castle in Brittany (Northern France). It is 1884 and she comes home after her father has past away. She is sad that she did not get to see him being away when he died. Emily is out of sorts as it seems all the servant she grew up with have all been replaced. Her brother Rodrigue De Blancheville, (Gerard Tichy) is the count of the castle now is hospitable when she arrives with her two college friend. The sister and brother the Taylors,  Alice (Iran Eory) and John (Vanni Materassi) are along to make little couple packets where John shows interested in Emily and Alice shows interest in Rodrigue. Add into this Dr. Lerouge (Leo Anchoriz) showing interest in Alice while a the same time having stealthy cryptic conversations with the housekeeper Miss Eleonore (Helga Line) and you have quite the mixture.
  After the introduction of the players we have some mystery building, the howl of a beast in the night. Too human for the explanation Rodrigue gives of a dog on a stormy night. Still explained away until it is heard again in the night by Alice. There is a really nice tension building scene where she Alice wanders in the night, in her shear bedclothes she walks with a candelabrum, a door slams, music builds, a clock tolls, she follows a noise to a room with the door ajar then the shadow coming closer and she faints. It is a well done scene.
  The mystery for her deepen when she wakes in her bed, everything in the room is where it should be and she has to wonder if it was all a dream. Of course the others talk to her and Rodrigue plays it off as her imagination. Even going up to the tower she sees that everything appears empty and unused. It is a very effective way to pull the audience into the mystery of the place. Rodrigue seems at this point to be the bad guy but you have to wonder about Miss Eleonore and Dr. Lerouge also. Could they all be in league together? What are they plotting?
  We don't have to wait long for answers when Rodrigue spills that their father never died but instead was horrible burned and is mad! He has escaped and wants Emily dead because of a prophesy written in the old family tomb. It says that the family Blancheville will end if the daughter of this generation reaches the age 21. Oh no! poor Emily is only five days away. Now that the basic plot is out in the open there is a lot of distracting the audience with hypnotism and red herring characters. They are very conscious to make sure one character above all others seems like the culprit.
  In the end though it is not too hard to figure out the real villain. Emily is not killed although I don't think I am spoiling anything there. There is some death and some nervous times for Emily and her folk but in the end the demise of the killer is unspectacular. This ends up being a middle of the road horror / mystery that does not hold its own.
Rating (4.4) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others.

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