THE SISTER OF URSULA (1978) Reviews and overview of sleazy Giallo

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The Sister of Ursula is a 1978 Italian Giallo murder mystery film in which two siblings are searching for their estranged mother. At the same time, a mysterious killer is murdering promiscuous women at the luxurious seaside hotel where they are staying.

Written and directed by Enzo Milioni (Luna di sangue; Quello strano desiderio). Produced by Armando Bertuccioli and Francesco Bertuccioli.

The Alpha Cinematografica production stars Barbara Magnolfi (Cut and Run; Blazing Flowers; Suspiria; The Suspicious Death of a Minor), Stefania D’Amario (Nightmare City; Zombie Flesh Eaters; Behind Convent Walls), Anna Zinnemann (Day of Violence; The Big Racket; The Bloodstained Butterfly), Vanni Materassi (The Blancheville Monster), Yvonne Harlow, Marc Porel (The Psychic; Live Like a Cop, Die Like a Man; Loaded Guns; Don’t Torture a Duckling) and Antinisca Nemour.

The Sister of Ursula is a colorful film that makes strong use of its location, and it also doesn’t hurt that it features one of the genre’s most unusual weapons. The story is nothing new and pretty much by the numbers as the victims pile up to an unbelievable ending that trumps everything that comes before it. The film does start to lag about halfway through before finishing up strong.” 10k Bullets

“Is it the sleaziest giallo ever made? Quite possibly. Is it one of the worst? Indubitably? This is a film in which everyone involved gave up trying about thirty seconds before Milioni called “action” on the first day of shooting. This is a film where the killer’s eyes are always in a penumbra of shadow even when it’s broad ****ing daylight.” The Agitation of the Mind


” …benefits from being shot in Amalfi, Italy, an incredibly beautiful location […] The cinematography and art direction are both good, and they even throw in a couple of cabaret numbers for good measure. So while this may not be a great film, or even a good one, it provides the trashy goods for fans of this stuff…” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“Despite all the sleaze and murder, the film is mainly a melodrama […] It is shot with very little verve or creativity […] Occasionally we see close-ups of a sinister pair of eyes in the shadows, but otherwise there is very little distinctiveness visually. The plots and sub-plots become confusing, with enough to provide narrative ideas for at least three movies.” Cinema Retro


“The ensemble cast looks lost and bewildered, the plot meanders with no clear sense of direction, and the surprise reveal of the murderer’s identity is almost too much to take! Still, Sister of Ursula is a sleazy good time, aided by a beautiful seaside location and a very addictive theme song by Mimi Uva. The pacing is a tad off in-between the murder and sex scenes…” DVD Drive-In

“Promiscuity reigns in this sleazy little thriller by writer/director Enzo Milioni, and each time people go at it, they do so to the tune of the same sax-fueled ballad of the damned. It’s meant to signal sexy, Pavlovian-style, yet is so overused, it will have an opposite effect on viewers. Milioni expended all his energy on these scenes, to the detriment of everything else.” Flick Attack


“Unlike a Franco or Polselli film […] there is little sense of a more consciously experimental or subversive aesthetic at work, of a knowing camp/kitsch/trash sensibility in which, for instance, Star’s act would be made as deliberately outre as possible and the audience would be let in on the joke. As it is, however, Curse of Ursula takes itself too seriously and as a result, isn’t nearly as fun…” Giallo Fever

” …nothing seems to create the tension or fear as seen in other Giallo movies such as Tenebrae. Even the main characters and their complicated lives aren’t enough to keep the viewer entertained nor gripped throughout the running time, with the viewer left expecting and wanting that bit more than what is delivered.” Horror Cult Films

” …this late Giallo film is hardly the genre’s best, but is certainly one of the more entertaining and rewatchable entries and genre fans could do a lot worse than to check this one out. Sleaze fans might be disappointed at the relative lack of gore – but the frequent sex scenes and the rather unique choice of murder weapon should do well to appease most viewers.” Mondo Esoterica

“The killer’s identity is always up in the air and you’ll never quite be able to put your finger on whodunit, which is essential in the viewing of a Giallo. At the same time, the contrived psychic premonitions work in small doses and provide the killer a better motive than the typical slasher motive. But, the movie’s heart is truly in sexploitation sleaze, and at that, it succeeds to the max.” Oh, the Horror!


” …the filmmakers clearly had no intentions outside of offering pure exploitation. The editing and direction are inept […] The film is rather dull, with all the cards played by the second half, but is worth a look for Giallo fans to see the less reputable side of the genre.” Teenage Frankenstein

” …director Milioni keeps […] cheeky detail rather low key, preferring instead to exploit a few humdrum softcore sequences, and some folderol subplot involving Porel, drugs, and nightclub singer Harlow. Although Sister of Ursula comes late in the giallo cycle, to its credit, it still has the ever-so-faint echoes of earlier pleasing entries…” The Terror Trap


“It is a beautiful looking picture, the killer is memorable to say the least and the writing is actually clever […] These aspects don’t really overshadow the pacing issues due to the boring sex scenes or the incredibly convoluted plot that really takes a sharp mind to keep track of.” Varied Celluloid

Cast and characters:
Barbara Magnolfi … Ursula Beyne
Stefania D’Amario … Dagmar Beyne
Anna Zinnemann … Vanessa
Vanni Materassi … Roberto Delleri
Yvonne Harlow … Stella Shining
Marc Porel … Filippo Andrei/Gianni Nardi
Antinisca Nemour … Jenny
Giancarlo Zanetti … The Psychologist
Alice Gherardi … Young Fiancée
Roberto De Ruggeriis … Young Fiancé
Danila Trebbi … Female Murder Victim

Filming locations:
Amalfi and Ravello, Salerno, Campania, Italy

Technical details:
1 hour 36 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Original title:
La sorella di Ursula “Ursula’s Sister”

Watch the trailer on Vimeo

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