Combustible Celluloid
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With: Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska, Umberto Raho, Laura Nucci, Giuliano Raffaelli, Nello Pazzafini, Jeffrey Darcey
Written by: Tonino Valerii, Ernesto Gastaldi
Directed by: Antonio Margheriti
MPAA Rating: NR
Language: Italian, with English subtitles
Running Time: 100
Date: 12/16/2014

The Long Hair of Death (1964)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Nerves of Steele

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

The legendary cult actress Barbara Steele has a great dual role in this otherwise tangled and confusing medieval revenge flick. In the prologue, a woman is accused of being a witch and burned; if she escapes the flames unharmed, then God has saved her. As part of the law, the woman's daughter (Steele) must be killed, too. The count agreed to stop the burning if Steele sleeps with him, but it's too late, and Steele is killed too. Years later, a young girl is sent to live in the count's stately quarters, and when she grows up (to be Halina Zalewska) the count's nasty son Kurt (George Ardisson) can't wait to get his paws on her. He marries her, even though she hates him. Suddenly, there appears another woman, Mary (Steele again), who seduces Kurt away from his wife. He begins plotting murder, and eventually begins seeing ghosts. Antonio Margheriti directs in moody black-and-white and does a fine job of instilling a sense of supernatural suspicion and dread into a convoluted story that really has none. But Steele, with her strange, ethereal presence, is the real reason to watch. Kino Lorber and Raro released a beautiful Blu-ray, which includes an introduction by Fangoria editor Chris Alexander, interviews, trailers, and a beautiful liner notes booklet.

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