Saturday, November 12, 2011

In short: Don't Look In The Attic (1982)

Original title: La Villa Delle Anime Maledette

aka House of the Cursed Spirits

aka House of the Damned

Three relatives and one spouse (Annarita Grapputo, Tonino Campa, Fausto Lombardi and Ileana Fraia) who didn't know about each other's existence because they've all been scattered around the world by their parental generation, inherit the family fortune and the family mansion. Alas, the fortune comes with the condition to live in the mansion, and the mansion is cursed, having cost the lives of many a generation of the family by driving them to murder and suicide.

This time around, family member Elisa has a direct connection to the beyond, but despite her mother's dire warnings from the grave, she - and her male cousins - still end up living in the unhealthy family home. Elisa's cousins soon succumb to the house's bad influence, and it's only a question of time until a bloodbath will happen and/or a completely random explanation for what's happening in the movie will pop in out of nowhere.

Carlo Ausino's (whoever he might be) Don't Look In The Attic is a shoddy and threadbare movie even for the not exactly high standards of Italian movies made at the beginning of the 80s. I've become used to the often stiff and always slightly off nature of the English dubbing of these films, but Don't Look beats most everything I've encountered from these quarters by virtue of swinging in a wildly out of sync way between the incomprehensible and the plain stupid.

The dubious quality of the English language dub is quite a good thing, for it adds entertainment value to a film in dire need of it. Between its too few expected moments of batshit insanity, Don't Look is quite a bore, you see, so it's actually necessary that its longish discussions of the reproductive problems of some family members (really) and the non-relationship between one of the family lawyers and his secretary Martha (Beba Loncar), who will also swing a mean silver dagger later on, are made more interesting through the dubbing.

The main problem standing between Don't Look and a place in my heart is that it spends too much time on scenes of nothing happening at all, and too little on expanding my mind with true Italian weirdness. It's true that there are moments of the skewed and nonsensical beauty I'm looking for in this sort of film, but these moments are drowned out by the wrong, which means the uninteresting instead of the hypnotic, kind of boredom. Don't Look In The Attic is a film that can even make an incestuous rape attempt look utterly boring.


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