The Blancheville Monster Reviews
THE BLANCHEVILLE MONSTER : One of many numerous 1950 s to 1960s gothic features; this is a neat Gothic thriller set in 1884 France. This Italian made shocker sees a young woman of a wealthy family and her University Friends stay at her Mansion. The home is run by her Brother who informs her that their dead father isn't dead but gone mad. However the twist is the fact due to a family curse the father will try to kill her by her 21st birthday.
Slow to start with, decent acting & dubbing and crisp Black and White cinematography makes this a decent gothic thriller. Despite being just plain average, its worth your time to view if it appears on late night T.V. My rating for this film is a solid 60% for this movie.
'Sides, you try watch some of these clunkers and not grab a [i]cerveza[/i].
Anyhoo, "Blancheville" is another Italian/Spanish venture. However, being from 1963; the effects are - not that special. The beginning, in particular, feels like one of those old TV shows showing all the prerequisites: gothic castle, dark atmosphere, heavy rain.
We start in Northern France, 1884 (as the filmmaker kindly informs us) and a horse driven coach. Inside, a young lady returns to the family estate (said castle) after 'exile' (her word). Unfortunately for her, the entire staff she knew has been replaced by her creepy brother. She has returned home to celebrate her 21st birthday and brought two friends from college in tow.
Along with her brother is the new family doctor and something is afoot between the two and the other members of the castle's staff. Not sure what, but it has something to do with the disfigured man they have locked away in the castle's tower.
In a big 'surprise', the unfortunate soul is the girl's father whom she thought was dead. Worse, he's now escaped and is hunting after her. Y'see, it seems that Dad wants to kill his little girl because of a prophesy that says the family will end if she reaches her 21st birthday.
Confused? Caring? Uh, no on both counts.
Despite the presence of a monster though, Emily (the girl) is actually being tormented by someone in the house with either hypnotism, mesmerism, or drugs (all are thrown about). Therein lies the apparent heart of the story but by this point it's hard to really get into it. The movie kicks into overdrive (as usual) in the last 15 minutes but it's takes all I can to keep my eyes open.
The entire movie is just a step from "Dark Shadows" - sadly it's a step down.
The movie is kind of enough to throw in a dramatic vamp (dum-DUM!) whenever someone enters the room, or asks a question - or really anything.
Plus the movie has a nasty habit of repeating the last second of some scenes before switching over to the next (well 'edit' is a four letter word). The feeling is appropriately gothic but it comes across as forced.
The biggest problem with this movie isn't that it's cliche, but that all the cliches are done better in other movies. There's nothing original that makes it stand out from the rest. It is very much a generic horror movie. The actors really don't put much into their efforts beyond what's required, but there's no attempt to get the viewer to care about what happens to anybody in the film. The actors simply lack sufficient screen presence.
::: Let's put it this way: the high point of the movie was when I had to stop 2 of my cats from beating each other up. :::
[b][i][u]Fun rating[/u][/i][/b]: 5 - as generic as you can get. The film is coherent but lacks anything that should grab it's audience. This is something for "The Nite Owl Theatre" and insomiacs. Something to simply watch and turn your brain off - but not overly stimulating. Forget the popcorn and break out the warm milk.
[b][i][u]Interest rating[/u][/i][/b]: 6 - it's okay to watch on TV and possibly as a rental. Those who remember watching horror flicks on a Friday night would probably get the biggest kick out of it. Fans for Italian horror and early Hammer films might like it as well.
[b][i][u]TOTAL RATING:[/u][/i][/b] 5