Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Long Hair Of Death (1964)

Starring Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska, Robert Rains, Laureen Nuyen
Directed by Anthony Dawson
(actor & director credits courtesy IMDB.com)

As an innocent woman is burned alive for a murder she didn't commit, she places a curse on her condemners, and calls upon her young daughters to someday avenge her.

This was another horror vehicle for the beautiful and entrancing Italian star Barbara Steele, cast as the eldest daughter here, who is cruelly raped and done away with early in the film, only to return from the grave to fulfill her end of the curse.  Steele is at her most gorgeous here, compelling to watch throughout this very grim tale.  Director Antonio Margheriti (credited as Anthony Dawson) stages things rather nicely on a fairly limited castle set and improves upon the pacing in his last Steele showcase, Castle Of Blood.  In that film, there were some tedious sequences that went on a little too long, but this one moves along more seamlessly, driven by the performances of Steele and a strong supporting cast.  Although special effects are only sparsely used here, scenes in which a skeleton appears to "breathe" and of a grave caving in during a rainstorm are very well done and provide effective chills.

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