White-hatted Gaston is visiting Dr. Maillard’s psychiatric hospital when they’re met at the gate by a loony-acting guard, and I suddenly realized this was based on the same Poe story as Svankmajer’s Sileni, and is going to suffer in comparison. Gaston is welcomed into the asylum, led by the swirly-robed man on the DVD cover, while his red-hatted friend (Martin LaSalle, star of Pickpocket) is attacked in the woods and his woman raped. It just isn’t a bad 1970’s movie unless a woman gets raped.
The guy from the DVD cover:
The girl from Alucarda’s DVD cover – what’s she doing here?
The movie’s in English, which the actors are having trouble getting used to – some words are pronounced differently each time they’re spoken. Gaston’s straight Rod Serling line delivery conflicts badly with Maillard’s strangely-accented rapid-fire drama. It wants to look like Vadim’s Spirits of the Dead segment with the careful posing of actors and scenery before the camera. One of those euro-art films, but from Mexico. Moctezuma also made the Satan-in-a-convent movie Alucarda, which I saw but can’t much remember.
White hat and red hat:
This one is more masculine than Sileni, less interested in the daughter/prisoner character Eugenie than in Gaston and Maillard (Claudio Brook – Simon of the Desert himself), but really it doesn’t seem too interested in any of them. There are some half-hearted pursuits and mysteries, and even the tarred/feathered “real doctors” in the basement scenes have little explanation (and nothing like the terribly doomed finale of Svankmajer’s version). The “hero” never does a thing; the prisoners escape on their own. It’s a series of crazy scenes, signifying nothing.
Claudio having an epic shout: