( 2004/ Italy )
AKA-THE THREE FACES OF TERROR
Reviewed By-The Ghost Writer Director: Sergio StivalettiStarring: John Phillip Law , Riccardo Serventi Longhi , Andrea Bruschi , Roberta Terregna & Simone Taddei Source : DNC Entertainment / 2 Disc Special Edition With Music CD / Italian Language / Optional English Language Subtitles / English Language Dolby 2.0 Track / Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 / Making Of / Special Effects / Bloopers / Photo Gallery /Trailers / Sound Track
‘‘I hope you got some rest my darling because the worst is about to come’’
Special and visual movie effects make up design artist Sergio Stivaletti turns his hand to Directing for the second time with his horror amalgam ‘I Trevolti Del Terrore’. After his 1997 effort ‘Wax Mask’ , by all accounts an average outing at best , this is a welcome excursion that harkens back to a style from the late Sixties / early Seventies. A time when recognised Horror studios Hammer , Tigon and particularly Amicus were producing a popular format of trilogy tales to terrify.
Each of the three segments , and linking horror harbinger , features John Phillip Law in what is a piece of sterling casting. Not quite up to the lofty heights attained by Peter Cushing in previous similar roles , but clearly it is a diverse performance that John Phillip Law is visibly enjoying. He has aged well and is still in a physically fit condition that belies his sixty plus years of age.
The story begins with three strangers sat in a train carriage who are soon joined by John Phillip Law , who plays the part of a professor of hypnotherapy , and the woman and two male passengers are engaged in a session of regressive hypnosis. Each in turn is placed into a state of transgression that re-evokes a moment of forgotten terror !.
Tale of terror one sees one of the male passengers teamed up with a colleague kitted up for a night excursion to raid a tomb. A ring is stolen by the main protagonist , who’s story is unravelling , that just so happens to be the property of a werewolf !. When the ring is placed upon the tomb raiders finger the next morning he soon finds it cannot be taken off. Attempts to remove the band result in him cutting his finger deeply. The blood is quickly absorbed into the ring , and the blood feeds its ancient deity.
Archaeologist John Phillip Law wants delivery of the nights takings but is also aware that the ring has been misappropriated , and instructs the other man to reclaim it from his friend immediately. A night of the full moon follows with death and savagery in swift succession. A very well done head slice is captured centre screen and close on with gory delight. Foreboding imagery is accompanied by the requisite synthesised musical score , from Maurizio Abeni , and in the night sky sits a full moon. The inevitable werewolf transformation follows for a final bite to proceedings that does not disappoint. The budget may not be great but the effort put into this creature effect is there to be seen and works pretty darned well. A bloody throat rip and scantily clad pool babe stalking follow as the fully disclosed and stood tall werewolf sets about his inherent business.
Curiously the tale is not completed and with what becomes a pattern in all three stories we are left pondering what is going on !?. The tale is revisited at the movies conclusion but the design of this angle is not convincingly handled regrettably.
The second segment features the female train traveller and sees her visiting a clinic with her girlfriend named Barbara , who seeks to be just like her friend. The plastic surgeon , again played by John Phillip Law , assures Barbara that nothing is beyond possibility. Barbara is a make up artist who longs to be beautiful like her friend Sandra and be in front of the camera rather than unnoticed behind it. Surgery to look just like her friend turns out to have a price that far exceeds that of mere monetary value. Barbara seemingly undergoes a brutal make over , that she witnesses without the aid of an anaesthetic , as a masked surgeon leers over her with a multitude of brutal and bloodied surgical implements.
The final part of the trilogy involves the second of the male passengers who takes a trip to a coastal region with two friends and ends up fighting for survival. A secluded landmark with an eerie lake seems the perfect place for the three friends to hang out and party into the evening and sleep over into the following day. Before they can settle out of no where appears a dishevelled looking John Phillip Law once again to warn them off , stating in no uncertain terms that the lake is not save to be around. Once he disappears of course the party continues and the price of ignorance is thereafter met with nightmarish consequences. As darkness falls something evil rises !. A slimy tentacle terror with a taste for flesh comes calling and its card is etched in human blood !.
With all three passengers snapped out of their hypnotic state it then falls upon John Phillip Law’s professor to link things together and unveil to the unsuspecting trio their true fate. The premise is a good one and working within a limited production monetary wise Stivaletti has done a good job. The irritating sudden stop at the end of each segment is perhaps forgiven , once the whole has been viewed , but the delivery of such a filmic mechanism nonetheless is unimpressive. The special effects , particularly showcased by the werewolf segment , are overall enjoyable but a sense of absurdity come closing link is perhaps best acknowledged with a wryly forgiving smile. John Phillip Law comes out with head held high as he delivers his roles very much with an intended sense of adventure and fun. Fans of Italian cinema should look out for cameo appearances from genre icons Lamberto Bava and Claudio Simonetti.
Whilst viewing the DVD it is recommended to select the Italian language Dolby Digital 5.1 track with selected English language subtitles over the English language version due to the later delivering what is a poor audio track. Frequent crackle and feedback are annoying and unacceptable in this modern medium of quality. The film itself is well worth seeing , but for the more discerning viewer the train comes off the track long before the film arrives at its final destination.
Film : 3.0 Bitch Slaps Picture : 4.0 Bitch Slaps Sound : 4.0 Bitch Slaps ( 3.0 if selecting English Language Option ) Extras : 3.0 Bitch Slaps Overall : 3.5 Bitch Slaps