I’ve been in love with Giallo’s ever since I saw my first Dario Argento film, Tenebrae. Since then, I’ve got my hands on several other Giallo films, such as Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace, which was a beautiful and colourful thriller. No matter how bad or terrible a Giallo is, there is usually something worth seeing in the film. La Bambola di Satana is one such film, in that it isn’t the best Giallo out there, but there are moments worth checking out. The movie is directed by a few people actually, none of them the actual directed listed in the credits. You see, much like first time director Buddy Cooper (The Mutilator) was a fan of slashers and wanted to make a movie, Ferruccio Casapinta was a fan of Giallo’s and wanted to make a stylized slasher as well, but he was missing the most important ingredient, talent. So, with La Bambola di Satana, we have the assistant director and the DP taking the reins and trying to give us a movie that is halfway decent. The end result is a story that takes bits and pieces from other more successful Giallo films and has the characters sitting around eating a lot and waiting for something to happen. It takes a big portion of the 90-minute runtime to get going, but once the pieces of this convoluted puzzle fall into place, the movie starts to get somewhat good, but the end result is still a troubled movie.
[tabby title=”PRODUCT INFORMATION”]
RUN-TIME: 90 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: Italian 1.0 DTS-HD MA
REGION: Region Free
PRODUCTION DATE: 1969
RELEASE DATE: Feb 9, 2016
[tabby title=”PLOT SUMMARY”]
La Bambola di Satana (Satan’s Doll, 1969), directed by Ferruccio Casapinta, is a classic giallo tale putting a pretty young woman (Erna Schurer) in jeopardy in a gothic-style castle. Throw in a handful of nutty relatives, a black-gloved murderer, a ghost, and a bit of dungeon torture: that’s entertainment!
[tabby title=”LA BAMBOLA DI SATANA”]
La Bambola di Satana is a complicated movie to wrap your head around. The flick introduces characters and scenes which are pieced together loosely, usually with a dinner scene between them. It isn’t until you get near the end when things start to make sense.
The plot for La Bambola di Satana goes as such. A rich uncle who owns a castle has recently passed away and the inheritance of the home is going to his niece Elizabeth, played by the beautiful Erna Schurer. However, the “frumpy” governess, Carol, who is another equally beautiful woman (Lucia Bomez), wants her to sell the place for reasons unknown. There is a potential buyer who lives next door, but Elizabeth is hesitant about selling. In order to convince Elizabeth, Carol along with a mysterious man by the name of Stephan, start drugging Elizabeth, resulting in her having some erotic nightmares. Elizabeth thinks it might be time to sell as she believes the place is haunted. Her fiance, Jack (Roland Carey), on the other hand, wants her to keep the place and gets busy investigating the sale and why Carol is so eager to get Elizabeth to sell. In the meantime, we have yet another beautiful woman (Aurora Batista) who is stalking around the place at night and investigating the catacombs. Oh, and there is also a dog by the name of Black, who is howling all night and hanging out by the cemetery. Trust me, the movie is even more confusing than that.
The biggest issue with La Bambola di Satana is the fact that the movie feels like it’s copying other better films, hoping that the end result will be something good. Unfortunately, the movie takes way too long to get going. There are several scenes that could be trimmed or removed completely that would not affect the plot at all. As for the main plot thread involving the mystery behind the castle, it’s rather mundane and not very exciting. There is a “twist” near the end, however, it comes out of left field and once you wrap your head around it, you realize it doesn’t make a lick of sense. Also, if you were expecting a Satanic plot thread based on the name and cover, you are going to be sorely disappointed.
La Bambola di Satana isn’t a terrible movie, as there are moments that are exciting and the movie does provide us with the prerequisite black gloved killer. You also have a bit of nudity to wet your whistle too, but the end result of everything is a Giallo that tried to impress, but just ended up being an amalgamation of ideas that never come together.
[tabby title=”BLU-RAY OPINION”]
The movie may not be the best around, but Twilight Time has lovely restored La Bambola di Satana. The video isn’t without its faults, with a few scenes having a bit of light leaking and dirt and debris present. It isn’t distracting enough to warrant any qualms towards the end result. The audio is a bit on the low end, resulting in the speakers needing to be turned up, but it does come through clear with no issues noticed.
The features for La Bambola di Satana are on the light side, but the included commentary is an interesting listen. Derek Botelho and David Del Valle do talk over each other at times. Derek is wanting to discuss the movie and David would rather discuss the movies La Bambola di Satana rips off instead. In the end, though, they provide a decent amount of information on the flick and do rattle off a bunch of other films I want to check out. The other features are an Isolated Music & Effects Track and a small booklet. The booklet mentions Lamberto Bava as being a pioneer of the Giallo, but I feel like they meant to say Mario Bava instead. Small nitpick if there ever was one.
[tabby title=”SPECIAL FEATURES”]
– Isolated Music & Effects Track
– Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Derek Botelho
La Bambola di Satana is a rather mundane movie that starts to redeem itself near the end but sadly falls short of being a worthy Giallo. The Blu-ray from Twilight Time is certainly nice looking, with an included fun commentary and a small lovely booklet. If you’re a fan of the movie, the Blu is a no-brainer, but for others who are unsure, it’s best to check the movie out first.