Archive for luciano pigozzi

Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: WEREWOLF IN A GIRL’S DORMITORY (1961)

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2012 by goregirl

I don’t know how many Italian werewolf films exist but I was able to find just two feature length titles. Werewolf Woman (1976) and Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory (1961). Please leave a comment if you are aware of any other Italian werewolf films other than the two mentioned. I will build a shrine in your honour! Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory was not top ten material but it does have red herrings, a black-gloved killer, and attractive women; all those things you watch Italian horror for! Plus, it has the added bonus of a werewolf!

Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory opens with the arrival of Dr. Julian Olcott; a new professor with a dark past. A student named Mary pretends to faint and is taken to the infirmary. Later that evening Mary sneaks out to meet with a former lover. It turns out her former lover; Sir Alfred Whiteman is a teacher at the school. Mary is blackmailing the teacher, threatening to expose him with the love letters he wrote her. As Mary is walking through the woods to meet Alfred she is stopped by groundskeeper Walter who we learn is taking bribes to “turn his head”. Sir Alfred’s wife is well aware of her husband’s indiscretions; as is the school’s entire faculty. When Mary is found dead the next morning with claw marks on her face and her throat torn open everyone is a suspect.

Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory is a black and white film from 1961 so don’t expect nudity or gore. There is a grand total of five deaths and only one is courtesy of the titular werewolf. In a school full of juvenile delinquent girls, they could have knocked off at least a couple more! I didn’t find the sub-plot uninteresting but it focused too much on the non-werewolf aspects. It is called Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory after all!  While the werewolf kills just one person we do get two nice prolonged scenes of wolfy towards the end of the film. The werewolf visuals unfortunately were mediocre. The werewolf just is not furry enough. Wolves are furry. They do an okay job with the transformation, but like I said, more fur please. The version I watched was dubbed and did have a few instances of unintentionally funny dialog. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory looked pretty good for a low budget effort. The night scenes were nice and clear and the school and the surrounding forest were great backdrops. Each death scene is unique and they are evenly spaced throughout the film; eliminating possible suspects along the way. You will probably figure out who the werewolf is before the reveal, but I still dug it. Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory is sort of a mashup of monster movie and giallo that I thought was pretty entertaining! Recommended with warning.

I almost forgot! Wait until you get a load of Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory’s theme song!

THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by goregirl

It was so long ago; I had almost completely forgotten it was actually my mom who introduced me to Mario Bava! My mom is not a horror fan by any means, but she recalled seeing ‘Blood and Black Lace’ as a teenager, and it completely rocked her world. I have to admit, having seen ‘BABL’ in my teen years; it struck me as somewhat interesting, but far too tame. Sadly, it wasn’t until I became an adult that I began to appreciate older horror films. I still have so many to discover, including some classic standards like ‘Frankenstein’. (I know! Shame on me!) But I have gotten to know Mr. Bava pretty well over the last few years. ‘The Whip and The Body’ is one of the few Bava films I had not seen, and it most definitely did not disappoint.

‘The Whip and The Body’ is part gothic horror tale and part sadomasochist love story. Christopher Lee plays Kurt Menliff who has returned home to the family estate after several years away. He does not receive a warm welcome from his family, or the servants who hold Kurt responsible for a young woman’s suicide. He claims to have returned to congratulate his brother on his recent marriage to the beautiful Nevenka, with whom he once had a relationship. But old flames still burn between the two and the dark secret they share is explored once more. Her passion overwhelms her and she gives in to the pleasures of pain. Later that evening Kurt is found with a dagger plunged into his neck. Soon after the funeral, Kurt returns from the grave, appearing only to Nevenka. Clearly Nevenka is afraid but is also excited by the apparition of Kurt. What unfolds is deliciously diabolical, erotic violence presented with a gothic grandness aptly titled ‘The Whip and The Body’.

‘The Whip and The Body’ must have been considered pretty racy in its day. I knew what the film was about but I expected more subtle hints than graphic displays. The first intimate scene between Kurt and Nevenka occurs early in the film when he finds Nevenka alone on the beach. He whips her repeatedly as she cries out in ecstasy and the two then engage in sex. You see the whipping up close and personal but the sex is off camera. Nevenka is clearly torn between her morality and her passion and every scene is a struggle between the two. Her lust is animalistic and the stunning Daliah Lavi plays it like a storm is brewing between her legs that she cannot control. Her orgasms are practically a character themselves! Christopher Lee is cold as ice as her brutal lover. Although he appears both vicious and callous, his character at times comes off slightly romantic and tragic. Lee and Lavi both have a strong presence and give outstanding performances.

There is plenty to admire about Mario Bava’s Gothic Masterpiece. There is breath-taking scenery, incredible atmosphere, awesome sets, a haunting and effective score and the aforementioned excellent performances. But more than anything else it is strikingly beautiful. I greatly admire Bava’s cinematography but not being a technically minded sort, you’ll have to forgive me for my layman language. Simply put, nothing looks quite like a Bava film! Shadows and colour are overwhelmingly present in all his films although this one may be slightly more muted than others it is nonetheless a sensual kaleidoscope. It truly is an enthralling visual experience! I could probably go on for several paragraphs in detail about the visuals but a Bava film is something that really should be experienced first hand.

The only real issues I had with the film was its first act where we are introduced to several characters is far too vague. This section of the film seemed somewhat repressed for a Bava flick and looked and felt almost typical for a gothic themed film from the era. It’s quite brief though, and things get considerably more lively and focused after Kurt and Nenenka’s tryst on the beach. Also the DVD was available with both English and Italian language soundtracks, but sadly neither featured Lee’s actual voice. That is a crying shame, because Lee has a fantastic voice!

Mario Bava’s ‘The Whip and The Body’ is immensely entertaining! It is a hypnotic and haunting vision that should be a treat for Bava’s fans or just about anybody who enjoys Gothic Horror. You can definitely expect more Bava reviews during Italian Horror Month! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Daliah Lavi, Christopher Lee, Tony Kendall, Ida Galli, Harriet Medin, Gustavo De Nardo, Luciano Pigozzi, Jacques Herlin