Finally, I got a good night’s sleep, which was definitely needed. Now it is time to watch today’s movie and then try to get some more stuff taken care of. Today I find myself watching yet another movie from the Pure Terror box set. I am hoping that this movie will be better than some of the other more recent movies that I have watched from this set. So let’s see what I am getting into with today’s movie, The Embalmer (1965).
The plot: A hooded figure mixes some chemicals and checks on the embalmed body of a young woman before leaving his lair in the underground catacombs of Venice, Italy. That night, the hooded figure dons some scuba gear and swims out of the catacombs, then grabs a woman as she is walking along the canal’s edge, dragging her back into the water with him. The next day, the newspapers report on the woman’s disappearance and a reporter, Andrea , questions the local sheriff about the woman. Meanwhile, in his underground lair, the killer has embalmed his latest victim and placed her in a shelf next to his first victim, saying that they will remain with him forever. The killer then leaves his lair and heads out in the city, meeting a clerk at a book store, who he then grabs later that night. When a 4th woman turns up missing, Andrea tries getting more information about the missing girls from the police before going to see his editor. His editor informs him that he can’t print his story that the girls are being kidnapped by a maniac without any proof. The police commissioner also doesn’t believe him, though his friend Marshall does think it is possible. Later, Andrea is talking with two of his friends, a street sweeper and a hotel porter, when he is approached by a woman, Miss Maureen, asking for directions to a hotel for her and her tour group. Andrea offers to show them where the hotel is and as they travel by ferry, he begins telling them some of the various sights along the way. Meanwhile, the police commissioner is meeting with some people and discussing the missing girls, and one of the men warns the commissioner that they girls are most likely dead and the killer is right under his nose. When Andrea and the woman arrive at the hotel, Andrea says his goodbyes as the girls meet Mr. Tore, the manager, and get checked into their rooms, with everyone being on the 5th floor except for one girl, Grace, who is on the first floor due to a lack of open rooms on the 5th floor. As the girls all leave for their rooms, one of the desk clerks says that there were still some rooms on the 5th floor but the head clerk says it doesn’t matter as they all have a room. Later, Andrea stops by the hotel and meets with Maureen and some of her friends, who ask Andrea to be their guide around Venice the next day and he agrees to it. The next day Andrea escorts the group around Venice and later that night, dances with Maureen at the hotel lounge. Later, he talks with Maureen’s friend, Professor Schwartz, who asks Andrea where he might find a deep sea diver, as he is looking into the ancient history of Venice and it’s constant sinking into the water. When Andrea leaves, he sees Sheriff Marshall and asks if there is anything new and learns that another woman has gone missing, but this time someone heard the girl cry out before hearing a splash, leading Andrea to believe his theory is correct. The next day, Maureen and the girls return to the hotel after another day of sight-seeing and head back to their rooms. After the girls go to their rooms, the head desk clerk leaves the desk and heads to a secret passage, where he proceeds to spy on Grace as she changes and gets ready for a bath. Meanwhile, Professor Schwartz is dictating notes about his research and decides to head down to the basement to see if there is a way to find a hidden temple but while he is down there, he is approached and killed. During dinner at the hotel lounge, the lights go out for the usual dinner show but instead of the guitarist, the body of Professor Schwartz falls out of the fake coffin. Andrea has a waiter call the police, then heads to Schwartz’s room to try and find a clue as to why he was killed and, after hearing his notes, heads down to the basement to explore. When there is no sign of the singer, the police believe he is the murderer but Andrea learns that he was in the hospital. The next night, Andrea, Maureen, Grace, and the other girls go out for night time gondola rides, with all of the girls commenting on Andrea and Maureen’s kissing in their gondola. Suddenly, the killer grabs one of the gondolas and causes it to capsize and as the girls are rescued and taken to shore, they find that Grace is missing and the police are unable to find her. The next day, Andrea sees his two friends, who tell them about seeing a light swimming in the water and as he looks at the area they point at, he sees Grace’s belt floating in the water. Andrea realizes that the killer is a diver and is hiding the bodies underwater and tells his editor and the police, but they are unwilling to believe him so he tenders his resignation and heads out on his own. Meanwhile, Maureen is cleaning out Grace’s room when she notices the two-way mirror. When she goes to tell Mr. Tore, she finds him missing from his office and as she looks around, she discovers a hidden passage behind his fireplace and heads down the stairs. Continuing to explore, Maureen eventually comes to the killer’s lair, and screams as she sees the bodies of the dead women, as well as the hooded figure, wearing a skull mask, working on Grace. Maureen fights with the killer and manages to get away, but is forced to stumble around the underground temple in the dark. Meanwhile, Andrea has found the underwater entrance to the killer’s lair and tells his friends to call the police before he heads back down there. When he enters the lair, he sees Grace’s body and checks it but realizes that she is dead. Meanwhile, Maureen enters a chamber filled with skeletons sitting in a circle and screams out as she is attacked by the killer. Andrea hears her screams but is when he gets to the room, he is too late as the killer has strangled Maureen. Andrea and the killer fight and during the struggle, the killer throws a knife at Andrea but misses and hits a power switch, causing the chamber to flood. The two escape the rising water and continue fighting in the streets, where Andrea unmasks the killer to reveal it is Mr. Tore. Tore attempts to strangle Andrea but he is shot by the police, and Marshall tries to convince Andrea to forget what had happened but Andrea, distraught over Maureen’s death, says he won’t be able to forget.
Aside from one minor issue, this was actually a pretty good movie. The acting was pretty good, with Maureen Brown (Maureen) and Luigi Martocci (Andrea) both doing good jobs in their roles. However, the dubbing was pretty atrocious at times, as in super bad Japanese Kaiju movie over the top bad. The story was really good, with a lot of suspense that did a good job of keeping me hooked up to the end. Aside from the dubbing issue, the only problem I have with this movie was the film quality of the DVD, which I can’t really blame on the movie itself, but it was annoying to have a giant, vertical black line in the middle of the screen for a couple of minutes. Not something that everyone will be actively looking for, but definitely worth watching if you get a chance.
Rating: 3 out of 5