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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Tomb of Torture (1963) Horror Ghost

Tomb of Torture (1963) - Also titled "Metempsyco" This is such a misleading title, bringing to mind maybe the film Mark of the Devil, but it is nothing like that film. Instead it is a horrible little story of the death of a Countess at the hands of a greedy confidant. It is also the tale of how her mystery is finally told, as the ones responsible find that guilt is a hard thing to live with and one bad deed begets another.
  In a castle somewhere two girls investigate, they are thrill seeking in the old place. Just looking around through still furnished rooms for something to scare them. Ester (Emy Eco) and Cathy (Terry Thompson? guessing on this one) don't know it but they are being watched by the occupants of the castle. They are confronted by Countess Elizabeth (Flora Carosello) the heir to the castle and get scare when doors start shutting and lights start flicking as they try to make there way out. The entire scene is contrived to introduce the laughing deformed man. He stalks them driving them to tears before capturing them and taking them to his Tomb of Torture. It is called tomb of torture because down in the secret part of the cellar is a torture chamber among the tombs. We open the scene in that room with the laughing deformed man pushing Ester's dead body off the rack while Cathy bound in chains screams, screams that will never be heard.  We establish the way in and out of these rooms is hard to find and that the monster of a man is willing to kill.
  Dr Darnell (Adriano Micantoni) and his daughter Anna (Annie Alberti) happen to be returning to the castle after a long absence when they come across the villagers looking at the girls just discovered bodies. He goes over and indeed they can't be helped by a doctor. Raman (Fred Pizzot) happens to be there to give the audience some background. He is also ink faced to make his skin darker as he attempts to be from India. The turban on his head with the jewel makes the unintentional racism all the more offensive. He has been at the castle area since his love the countess Irene disappeared years before and has never given up the search for her. Isn't the loyal Indian servant also a racists stereotype?
  Countess Elizabeth has inherited the castle but is still desparately searching for where Irene has hidden her jewels. No money and a castle do not go so well together. Now with Dr. Darnell and Anna returning maybe something can be discovered. Raman and then Elizabeth believe that Anna is the reincarnated soul of the missing Irene. It would seem that way to the viewer also as almost upon entering the castle, Anna starts seeing the ghost of Irene in the mirror. We quickly see that Anna has been having a reoccurring dream showing the death of Irene in the Tomb of Torture. The voice that laugh in the dream is so obviously Elizabeth that we already know she had something to do with her death. Well actually we can't be sure with this American dubbed version because we don't know what the original Italian had in that place for a voice.
  It is also very possible that the translation garbled a relationship in the film too. After the dream sequence we see Anna out at the lake skinny dipping. She is interrupted by a man George Dickson (Marco Mariani) it is the Oh I won't look while you dress scene we have seen in many movies. The thing is that after this seemingly first meeting where they are introduced, the next scene has them madly in love and ready to get married. It really makes no sense after the scene at the lake but suddenly he is her hero and protector and she is in love with him. Hell they even sleep together!
  The story is a bit convoluted with one character using the laughing deformed man to do the dirty work. What is desired is that the psychic connection Anna has with the spirit of the deceased Irene be used to find her riches. When in the end things fall apart it is just a matter of time before the good guys win and the bad guys die. Everything culminates in the Tomb of Torture.

  This is not a great movie. I would even be wary of calling it good. The music by Armando Sciacia is a strange mix of over the top horror themes and whimsical melodies more likely to be heard in a Charlie Chaplin film. The translation I think is really horrible and the plot pretty see through. There will be no recommendation for this one. I do have to say though lovers of older horror will find something of value here, just look for an in Italian version with subtitles to get the real story.
Rating (4.8) 5.0 and up are recommended, some more recommended than others.

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