Man, my head is killing me and I don’t know if there is any one reason why. I mean, part of it might be staying up later than I intended to watching Wrestlemania last night. It could be the possible storm front giving me a pressure headache. Or it could be that I am being affected much worse than normal by pollen this year. Whatever the reason, it is making it pretty hard to focus, which doesn’t bode well for my being able to enjoy today’s movie. Hopefully, I can get it together as I watch The Long Hair Of Death.
The plot: At the end of the 15th century, a woman named Adele Karnstein is set to be burned at the stake as she is accused of being a witch and murdering Count Franz Humboldt. As she is being led away, a woman named Helen Rochefort sneaks into the castle but hides as the priest and the Franz’s nephew Kurt as they leave the Count’s chambers and manages to get an audience with Franz’s brother, the current Count. Helen explains to the Count that Adele is innocent and that the murderer is actually someone living under his protection in his house. She begs him to stay Adele’s execution and he says they won’t start it until he is there and attempts to sleep with her as payment for sparing Adele. In the town square, Adele tells her friend to take her daughter Lisabeth away from there as she is placed inside a wooden structure and it is set on fire. Managing to climb to the cross on top of the structure, Adele screams out curses on the Count and Kurt before she succumbs to the flames. Helen hears Adele’s screams and seeing what happened, yells at the Count for allowing an innocent women to die. She heads to the square and as she holds up some of the ashes, and hears a voice saying to avenge her. Helen tries to run from the castle grounds but the Count catches up to her and throws her off the edge of a waterfall and her body is swept down the river. Some time later, Adele’s friend Grumalda brings Lisabeth to a grave and says that she can go there to pray to her mother, though the grave reads Helen Rochefort. Years later, Lisabeth has grown to a young woman and constantly harassed by Kurt. The Count sees this and remarks to his friend, the priest who presided over Adele’s execution, and says that Adele’s curses are coming to pass, but the priest believes the Count is thinking too much of things due to excess drinking. When Kurt shows up in the Count’s room, the Count chastises him for disobeying his order to leave Lisabeth alone. Kurt mocks his father and admits that he had killed Franz and blamed it on Adele, as he wanted his family to have the power his uncle had. That night, Lisabeth, who lives in the castle, finds a secret passage in her fire place and follows it to the castle’s crypt, where she finds the Count weeping over his brother’s remains. As the Count apologizes for what Kurt has done, some rats moving beneath the tattered clothing frightens him into believing Franz’s spirit is angry. Lisabeth is forced to hide as the Count makes his way up the stairs and after he passes, she sneaks back to her room only to be confronted by Kurt. Kurt tries to sleep with her but she pushes him away and he leaves only to tell his father he intends to marry Lisabeth. The Count believes this to be a bad idea but he can’t say why to anyone else so the marriage is performed. After the ceremony, Kurt has sex with Lisabeth but he slaps her when she says she will never be completely his. Time passes and the city is struck by the plague, with people dying throughout the city. Some people try to break into the castle but they are forced back or killed by the Count’s guards. The Count, Kurt and some others head to the castle’s chapel for prayer as a storm starts outside. Meanwhile, Lisabeth has gone to Helen’s grave and prays to her mother that she can’t bring herself to hate Kurt, as he is her husband, and asks for some sign of what to do. As the storm continues to rage, Lisabeth heads to the chapel but when she gets there, the Count sees her framed by lightning in the doorway and thinks it is Helen returned from the grave and he ends up dying as Lisabeth passes out. Lisabeth recovers in her room as Kurt goes to the ceremony for the Count but afterwards, Kurt begins having an affair with a young girl named Mary. Lisabeth finds out and warns him that he belongs to her and won’t be satisfied with any other woman but he ignores her warnings. Lisabeth writes a message for Von Klage, the lord of the land, and has the priest send it out but Kurt poisons some wine and gives it to the messenger to drink before he heads out, so that he will die before delivering the message. Mary gets nervous when she learns what Kurt did but he says he will make Lisabeth’s death look natural and then they can be together. Kurt places some drugs into Lisabeth’s drink, which he sends up to her room, then spends the night with Mary. After their tryst, they attempt to sneak into Lisabeth’s room to see if she if the drugs worked but are forced to head back to Mary’s room when they hear someone approaching. Grumalda enters Mary’s room and notices Kurt’s snuff box on her dresser but says nothing as she speaks with Mary before leaving. Kurt and Mary sneak into Lisabeth’s room and, finding her passed out, they sneak her down into the crypt. Kurt places Lisabeth in a coffin, places the lid on it, then has Mary help him as he uses wax from his candle to seal the seams, making it air tight. The two are forced to hide when the monk heads down into the crypt to check things, then locks the entrance. Kurt and Mary climb the stairs in the back of the crypt and Kurt discovers the secret entrance to Mary’s room and they are able to get away. A few hours later, Kurt and Mary head back to the crypt and Kurt checks to see if Lisabeth is dead, then carries the body back to her bed. The next day, Kurt listens as Grumalda brings breakfast into Lisabeth’s room and is shocked to hear her reply to an unheard question. Leaving his room, Kurt asks Grumalda if Lisabeth is ok and she responds yes, but when he enters her room, he finds Lisabeth missing. Kurt rushes to tell Mary what happened and they are at a loss as to what to do. Kurt starts going mad as more and more people say they have seen or spoken to his wife but he sees no sign of her. During a dinner party, Kurt is told his wife is in the courtyard and when he heads out looking for her, he sees someone heading towards the crypts. Heading down there, Kurt sees a coffin that was slightly opened and moves the lid to find a female corpse inside. Kurt begins laughing, and yells out that Lisabeth is dead, only to turn around and be confronted by Lisabeth. Kurt is shocked and asks whose body is in the coffin and Mary appears and says it is hers, then reveals that she is actually Helen’s ghost. Helen sends Lisabeth upstairs, while she continues to taunt Kurt, driving him even more insane. Kurt leaves the crypt and makes his way outside and eventually comes to an effigy of a grim reaper, where Helen appears and moves him towards the effigy. As he steps inside it, Kurt is suddenly strapped and gagged inside it before Helen seals the effigy and disappears. The effigy is carried to the courtyard and placed on a pyre for a ceremonial burning and, when nobody can find Kurt, Lisabeth is asked to light the fire. Lisabeth approaches the effigy and, seeing Kurt’s eyes in the effigy’s mask, tells him to burn like her mother burned, before she lights the fire, and Kurt is unable to cry out as the flames rise up and begin to burn him alive.
This was a pretty good movie, though it did get a bit confusing towards the end (but that could just be my head fog making it so). The acting was good, with George Ardisson (Kurt), Barbara Steele (Mary/Helen), and Halina Zalewska (Lisabeth) doing great jobs in their roles, though there were some times where I kept thinking that Kurt looked like Prof. Gilderoy Lockhart from Harry Potter & The Chamber Of Secrets, which made it kind of funny. The story was pretty good, but it got a little weird at the end as Kurt started falling deeper into his madness. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects, aside from some make up where the corpse was concerned. The movie relied more on it’s tone to help carry the movie and it honestly had a bit of a Edgar Allan Poe type feel to it, which was very effective. A good movie to watch, and I will most likely watch again when my head is cleared up.
Rating: 3 out of 5