Spirits of Death – Italy, 1972 – reviews

 

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Spirits of Death – original title: Un Bianco Vestito per Mariale’ “A White Dress for Mariale”- is a 1972 Italian horror thriller directed by Romano Scavolini (Nightmares in a Damaged Brain).

The film stars Evelyn Stewart, Ivan Rassimov (Deep River Savages), and Luigi Pistilli (A Bay of Blood; Tragic Ceremony).

German label Camera Obscura issued the film on Blu-ray in 2014 with a commentary track by Christian Kessler and Marcus Stiglegger, an extended interview ‘Esoteric & Cryptic’ with director Romano Scavolini, and booklet, in both German and English, from Kai Neumann.

As a child, Mariale witnesses her father kill her mother…. years later, she spends her life with little contact from the outside world living in a gloomy castle. One day, however, Mariale decides to invite some friends over the weekend, but as the decadent party turns into an unbridled orgy the first gruesome murder occurs…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“… in later years Scavolini went on to say that Spirits of Death was better forgotten and mainly a work for hire for him. It’s actually a terrific film, the sort of outrageous fusion of horror tropes and flamboyant experimental techniques that resulted in some of the more memorable ’70s shockers, and as anyone who’s seen an interview with Scavolini can attest, his colorful opinions aren’t necessarily the best point of reference.” Nathaniel Thompson, Mondo Digital

“Not the fastest paced giallo ever made, Spirits of Death takes a little while to get going but more than makes up for a slow first half with a bizarre second half filled with a few gruesome murders, wild gothic ambiance and even a little bit of kinky interracial lesbianism for good measure. Shot with a keen eye of weird compositions and showcasing some excellent use of odd color, this is a fantastic looking film.” Ian Jane, Rock! Shock! Pop!

‘The result is like an epilogue of the hippie generation, watching these 20-something free spirits cavort about the castle, breaking into psychedelic freak-out dances and dinnertime orgies. All symbols of a culture that has no possible alternative fate but to eat itself. As her friends fall away, one-by-one, Mariale and Paolo stand nearly alone until the conclusion, as elected witnesses for the death of these friends and the values they represent.’ J. Hurtado, Twitch Film

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