Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Whip and the Body (1963) [Horror Romance]

Directed by  Mario Bava (as John M. Old) 

Writing Credits Ernesto Gastaldi, Ugo Guerra, and Luciano Martino

There is no doubt after watching The Whip and the Body why Mario Bava was considered a master in the use of light, color and shadow! This 55 year old film is beautiful to watch. Replete with exterior shots of sunrises and sunsets through a gray sky and over a turbulent ocean and desolate beach and moody internal shots where the subjects move through a spectrum of color with each step, this film is a treat for the eye.
The entire movie is drenched in darkness and mystery. Most of the scenes take place in blackness. Objects appear and vanish in the shadows, leaving the viewer disoriented as to what was real and imagined. One of the most effective scenes shows Nevenka cowering in fear as Kurt's ghostly hand materializes in front of her.

Christopher Lee never looked more matinee-idol like as Kurt, the sadistic black sheep son of a wealthy family, returning to the castle after being sent away for his role in the suicide of a servant girl. The scene where he flays and rapes Nevenka (Daliah Lavi), his one time lover and now sister-in-law is perhaps the most brutal and violent in his long career. The Whip and the Body is not a perfect film, the sexualized violence of the assaults is stomach churning to and Dahilia's constant over-wroughtness gets wearisome, but visually it is a treat.

No comments: