The Long Hair of Death (1964)

Article #1558 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-20-2005
Posting Date: 11-17-2005
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Featuring Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska

A woman being burnt alive for being a witch and having committed murder (the latter is a false accusation) places a curse on those responsible for her execution.

Antonio Margheriti seems to be better remembered for his early sixties forays into science fiction (ASSIGNMENT OUTER SPACE, BATTLE OF THE WORLDS, etc.), but I’ve always found these movies to be muddled to the point of incomprehensibility. I much prefer his forays into horror, such as this one. The beginning is certainly familiar territory, but for once I found myself caught up in the mechanics of the curse coming to fruition. It involves the fates of the two daughters of the witch (one living, one dead), adultery, an attempted murder with overtones of DIABOLIQUE, some side characters who might harbor political ambitions, a plague, a resurrection from the grave, and an effigy destined to be burned. These aspects all come together in a fairly coherent plot for an Italian horror movie, and it’s also helped by better-than-average dubbing. It doesn’t quite have the kick of CASTLE OF BLOOD or THE VIRGIN OF NUREMBERG, but I found it quite satisfying.

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