MACABRE (1980) Reviews and overview

 

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Macabre was released in the UK on Blu-ray by 88 Films on 24th February 2020. Buy from Amazon.co.uk

Don’t Lose Your Head – An Interview with director Lamberto Bava
Audio Commentary by Troy Howarth

Our previous coverage of the film is below.

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A misleading poster using the same artwork as Anthropophagus!

‘Prepare yourself for the shock of a lifetime!’

Macabre is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Lamberto Bava (Twins; Body PuzzleDeliriumDemons and Demons 2; A Blade in the Dark; et al) from a screenplay co-written with Pupi Avati, director of The House with the Laughing Windows. The movie stars Bernice Stegers (Xtro), Stanko Molnar (The Mask of Satan, 1990; A Blade in the Dark), Veronica Zinny and Roberto Posse (Trhauma; Island of Mutations; Let Sleeping Corpses Lie).

Although Macabre was Lamberto Bava’s directorial debut, he had been an assistant director on many films helmed by his father, Mario Bava, such as Shock, Lisa and the Devil and A Bay of Blood. Lamberto had also been assistant director on Dario Argento’s Tenebrae and Inferno as well as working under Ruggero Deodato.

Plot:

In New Orleans, a mother is indulging in a torrid affair behind her family’s back. However, when a violent accident leaves her lover dead, the woman returns from a mental institution determined to pursue her forbidden desires. Has she found a ghastly new way to satisfy her desire, or is depravity all in the head?

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Reviews:

“It might test some viewers’ patience since the film is slow in parts and draws a lot from a fairly simple premise, but Macabre is pretty high quality, with good characters, particularly Jane and Robert, and a simple, straightforward story. There isn’t a whole lot to say about pretentious style and surrealism, as it trades those elements for drama and gritty dementia.” At the Mansion of Madness

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“The cast is game; Stegers knows precisely what type of film she’s in, and brings a smoldering, wide-eyed intensity to Jane, who’s well aware of her own insanity and just accepts it. Just as strong is Moldar as Robert, the lonely, blind man who is in need of companionship and is willing to turn the other cheek – up to a point. Credit to Bava et al for not using Robert’s handicap for cheap thrills, instead portraying him as a very able protagonist.” Daily Dead

“… feels like an over-padded television film, it could easily have been trimmed down to 50 minutes without losing anything, but it treats its morbid topic well and avoids the sleazy schlock that a director like Joe D’Amato might have brought to the project while the strong characterisation does pay off at the denouement and conclusion.” Mondo Esoterico

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“Many people have criticised this film for its ending, which produced delighted laughter in the audience I went to see it with. It’s true that this makes it impossible to take the film seriously, but I don’t honestly think anyone should be trying to do that in the first place. It’s full of witty lines and deliberately OTT scenes, often taking the drama to the point of absurdity.” Eye for Film

“Slow moving and thoughtful, Bava decides to apply most of the horror to the character of Jane – but not without revealing the ugliness in others: her demonic daughter, the unforgiving ex-husband, etc. The plot unfolds like any unravelling tragedy, with Jane alternately creeping us out and demanding our affinity.” The Terror Trap

Macabre UK Mogul VHS

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Buy Macabre + A Blade in the Dark + Shock on DVD from Amazon.com

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Cast and characters:

Bernice Stegers … Jane Baker
Stanko Molnar … Robert Duval
Veronica Zinny … Lucy Baker
Roberto Posse … Fred Kellerman
Ferdinando Orlandi … Mr Wells
Fernando Pannullo … Leslie Baker
Elisa Kadigia Bove … Sally

Filming locations and schedule:

New Orleans, Louisiana (exteriors only)
Crespi d’Adda, Capriate San Gervasio, Bergamo, Lombardia, Italy (cemetery)
Gardone Riviera, Brescia, Lombardia, Italy(interiors of the house)
Principal photography from 3rd December 1979 to 21st December 1979.

Technical details:

89 minutes
Telecolor
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1
Audio: Mono

Original Italian title:

Macabro