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Estratto dagli Archivi Segreti della Polizia di una Capitale Europea

Tragic Ceremony
Trágica Ceremonia en Villa Alexander

Italy/Spain 1972
produced by
José Guttiérrez Maesso for Produzioni Internazionali Associate
directed by Riccardo Freda (as Robert Hampton)
starring Camille Keaton, Tony Isbert, Máximo Valverde, Luigi Pistilli, Luciana Paluzzi, José Calvo, Giovanni Petrucci, Irina Demick, Paul Muller, Beni Deus, Milo Quesada, Alejandro de Enciso, Elsa Zabala, Pablo Garcia, David Thomson, Adriana Facchetti, Fulvio Mingozzi
written by Mario Bianchi, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Leonardo Martín, music by Stelvio Cipriani

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Seeking shelter from the rain and gas for their car, a quartet od teenagers - Jane (Camille Keaton), Bill (Tony Isbert), Joe (Máximo Valverde) and Fred (Giovanni Petrucci) somehow reach the house of Lord and Lady Alexander (Luigi Pistilli, Luciana Paluzzi), who invite them to stay for the night, then lure Jane away from the others ... to ultimately make her the human sacrifice in a black mass. However, Jane's friends intervene just in time, and while struggling with Lady Alexander, who was just about to slay Jane, Bill stabs her by mistake. This leads quite to some commotion in the satanist crowd that ahs gathered, as they suddenly and for no apparent reason start to slaughter each other in the most violent sorts of way.

Somehow our teen quartet escapes though, but soon they ahve to realize that they now might be wanted by the police. First they try to find abode at Bill's mother's (Irina Demick), but she is too busy with her new lover to really care for her son's needs and just gives them some money and sends them off.

Ultimately they wind up in the country house of Bill's dad - where Bill soon ends up dead, and it seems he died with great fear. But while the others still try to decide what to do with his body, Fred turns up dead as well, his throat slashed.

Joe and Jane now make an escape deep into a forest, where they calm down enough to start and make out - when Joe suddenly has a vision of Jane with half of her face missing. He escapes in terror on a motorbike, but finally runs it off a cliff into some pond, in which he drowns because he has broken both his legs while Jane calmly watches him die.

Ultimately, Jane is admitted to a mental hospital, where she dies before long - but a doctor  (Paul Muller) explains that she has been long dead and her body has been taken over by Lady Alexander ... who we see driving away from the mental hospital at the end of the film.

 

Tragic Ceremony is a not at all uninteresting and certainly well-directed (but as much could be expected from Italian horror maestro Riccardo Freda) shocker of the Satanist variety obviously influenced by the Sharon Tate murder/massacre (then still relatively current news), however, every now and again the film falls short of developing its full potential because the plot seems to repeatedly fall apart, most notably when references are made to Bill's weird oedipal relationship to his mother which ultimately lead to nothing. Plus the ending, in which Paul Muller explains the plot away with possession is just too trashy for its own good and does the film little justice.

Still the film is totally watchable, it's just a far cry from being perfect.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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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