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Operazione Paura

Kill, Baby ... Kill !
Curse of the Dead / Curse of the Living Dead / Don't Walk in the Park / Operation Fear

Italy 1966
produced by
Luciano Catenacci, Nando Pisani for FUL Films
directed by Mario Bava
starring Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Luciano Catenacci (as Max Lawrence), Micaela Esdra, Franca Dominici, Giuseppe Addobbati, Valerio Valeri, Gianna Vivaldi, Mirella Pamphili
screenplay by Mario Bava, Romano Migliorini, Roberto Natale, based on a story by Romano Migliorini, Roberto Natale, music by Carlo Rustichelli

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Inspector Kruger (Piero Lulli) calls coroner Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) to a remote village somewhere in the Carpathian mountains, to help him investigate the death of Irena Hollander (Mirella Pamphili), who died under mysterious circumstances after she had written the inspector a letter promising him quite some evidence about crimes going on in the village.

But in the village, everybody from Burgomeister Karl (Luciano Catenacci) downwards seems to be much too afraid to make any kind of testimony, & the villagers even try to bury Irena before an autopsy can be performed.

At the autopsy, performed by Paul with Monica (Erika Blanc) - a woman new to the town so not (yet) caught up in the local superstition - as a witness, Paul finds a coin inside the corpses heart ... to not turn her into a remorseless ghost, as Ruth (Fabienne Dali), the local sorceress, later explains.

Meanwhile the Burgomaster reveals to the inspector the story of 7-year old Melissa (Valerio Valeri), the daughter of Baroness Graps (Gianna Vivaldi) - who pretty much owns the city -, who has died during a village celebration while trying to toll the churchtowers bell ... & since she wanders the city as a restless spirit & whoever sees her must die, preceded by chiming of the bell.

However, the knowledge doesn't do the inspector too much good, soon he too ends up dead ... & so do quite a few other villagers, including the Burgomeister, all killing themselves under hypnotic influence after they have seen the girl.

Paul & Monica start an investigation at the local cemetary, but soon find themselves locked into the Graps' family crypt, & the only way out they find eventually is right into Baronesse Grasp's castle, where Monica learns that she is actually dead Melissa's sister, before being dragged off by something (Melissa perhaps) & prepared for her death. Paul, who tries to find her in the castle, suddenly finds himself at the towns square where he breaks down ... to wake up in the care of Ruth, the sorceress, who now - finally - promises to help him, because the Burgomeister was her husband & now she wants revenge (& seems to be the only one with enough knowledge to be able to do it).

So while Paul looks for, finds & rescues Monica, Ruth goes after the Baroness, who's really behind the terror (though in a supernatural way) & strangles her, which stops the horror once and for all.

 



Now admittedly, the story of that film is as silly as it sounds (maybe even more so), but that never kapt Mario Bava from making a good movie out of it: A great use of cheap & unconvincing sets, unusual lighing & camera angles, surreal dreamsequences & editing that consciously defies orientation create a wonderfully creepy atmosphere which probably owes more to nightmares than than anytghing else ... & what better could one say about a horror film.

 

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD