Well, I find myself rewatching an Italian-Spanish horror film from the Chilling Classics box set. To be honest, I don’t recall much about this movie so it will almost be like I am watching it for the first time. Anyways, this movie is supposedly based off a couple of Edgar Allan Poe stories so there is some hope that this won’t be a complete train wreck of a movie. Well, might as well see if I remember anything about The Blancheville Monster or if it should just be relegated to the scrap heap of bad idea movies.
The plot: Emilie De Blancheville, accompanied by her friend Alice Taylor and her brother John Taylor, is returning to her family’s castle after being away for years in what she called “exile”. When they arrive, Emilie is shocked to find a new butler, Alistair, attending to them and asks what happened to Joseph but Alistair says he doesn’t know. As Emilie pauses in the foyer, not having been in the house since before her father died, her brother Roderic starts coming down the steps and pauses to watch her. When Emilie sees him, she rushes to greet him and introduces him to Alice and John, saying that she brought them to help her celebrate her birthday, which is in 5 days. As Alistair escorts Alice and Taylor to their rooms, Alistair and Emilie embrace as Alistair cries over her father’s death but is shocked when she sees Eleonore, the new housekeeper, standing behind him and Roderic asks Eleonore to escort Emilie to her room. As Emilie and her friends sit down to dinner with Roderic, they hear a strange scream over the sound of the storm outside but Roderic tries to pass it off as either the wind or one of the villager’s dogs. As they are finishing, Dr. LaRouche arrives at the castle and Roderic introduces him to Emilie and the others before leaving him to fend for himself for dinner while they head to another part of the castle. LaRouche asks Eleonore to stay with him and after the others leave, the two argue over a scheme they are planning, as LaRouche wants out but Eleonore forces him to stay on and asks for something from him. Later in the night, Alice is woken up by the sound of that strange scream again and decides to explore the castle searching for the source. Hearing it coming from one of the towers, she makes her way up there and finds Eleonore injecting a disfigured man with some drugs. Alice flees the tower before screaming and fainting, where she is caught by Roderic. When Alice wakes up again, her room is exactly as it was before she left, including a figurine that she broke being whole again. When she sees Roderic, she screams in fright at first and then tells him about the man in the tower. Roderic tells her there is nobody in the tower and goes up there with her to prove it and convinces her that it was all just her imagination or a dream that she had. The next day, Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche when Emilie and John decide to sneak off on their own, with John professing his love for Emilie and kissing her. Meanwhile Alice and LaRouche are talking and discuss Emilie’s father’s death then mentions that some people might have some old fashioned prejudices about Emilie being in love with John. When the group return to the castle, Roderic asks to speak with LaRouche alone, where he tells him that he wants to come clean with Emilie about the truth regarding their father. Roderic and LaRouche return to the others and Roderic tells Emilie about how her father survived but was disfigured by the fire. Roderic apologizes to Alice for deceiving her and she tells Emilie what happened last night and that Eleonore was there. Eleonore tells them that she was trying to give him a sedative to keep him restrained, as he was a danger to Emilie. Emilie doesn’t believe it but Roderic tells her that their father believes an ancient family prophesy that doom would befall the family if a female descendant reached the 21st birthday but swears that he will find their father, who escaped to tower, and keep her safe. That night, Emilie’s father, Count Blancheville, sneaks into the castle and speaks to Emilie in her sleep, telling her to follow him to her doom and an entranced Emilie begins walking out of the castle to the catacombs. Count Blancheville tries to get Emilie to enter a tomb but she ends up fainitng instead, just as LaRouche and another man enter the catacombs and quickly take her back to her room before anyone realizes she had left. The next morning, Alice goes to wake Emilie and finds her groggy and not sure of what happened to her the night before. When Alice notices the condition of her gown and slippers, she says Emilie must have gone outside during the night but Emilie says she doesn’t remember anything and asks Alice to leave her alone, then apologizes for her outburst. As Alice leaves she notices a book on hypnotism and brings it up to John, who grows more concerned with Emilie’s well being. As they prepare to go to bed, John and Alice find Emilie wandering the halls in a trance and when they try to stop her, she starts screaming, bringing LaRouche, Roderic, and Eleonore to them. When John lets Emilie go, she rushes back to her room and John explains what has happened. He accuses Emilie of being subjected to hypnotism and LaRouche being responsible for it. Roderic, John, and LaRouche head to another room, where LaRouche admits to studying hypnotism but swears he isn’t using it on Emilie. He says that she is suffering from a poisoning of the spirit over everything that has happened and suggests she spend as much time outdoors as possible and John agrees with his theory. When Emilie returns downstairs with Alice, LaRouche suggests going for a walk in the garden and Emilie agrees and quickly takes John’s hand. LaRouche escorts Alice, who is upset that Roderic is unable to join them. Before they get far, some masonwork falls from the top of the nearby tower and almost hits Emilie. When Roderic and Eleonore arrive, John tells them he saw someone at the top of the tower but when Roderic checks, he finds no sign of anyone there. As Emilie and John continue to walk, LaRouche tries talking with Alice to get her to change her opinion of her and reveals that Roderic, whom Alice fancies, is in love with another. When John carries Emilie to her room after she fainted, tensions start flaring up as it draws closer to her birthday. When Emilie has a dream about marrying John only to be dragged away from him, she wakes up screaming to find Eleonore standing over her with a glass of liquid, telling her to drink it. Alice rushes in to stop them, followed by John and LaRouche, and Eleonore refuses to answer about what the liquid is but drinks it herself, then tells them to give Emilie her medicine themselves if they don’t trust her. Later that night, Emilie again goes into a trance and heads to the catacombs but John follows her. When he tries to get her to come back with him, he is attacked by Count Blancheville and left unconscious while Emilie, who was roused by John being attacked, tries to run away only to get caught and strangled. The next morning, the Blancheville’s old cook is invited to make Emilie’s favorite cake for her birthday but when they head up to her room, they find her eyes wide open while she lays unmoving. As Alice and Roderic react in shock to her death, Eleonore is told about John being badly wounded and Alice goes to check on him. A funeral is held for Emilie and as Roderic gives the eulogy, Emilie is shown to be alive but in a coma-like state as her thoughts scream out to her brother that she is alive. With the funeral over, Emilie is placed in a tomb in the catacombs under the castle and sealed in, all the while screaming out in her mind that she is alive. As everyone leaves, Emilie suddenly starts moving around in her coffin before waking up and screaming at being trapped. Outside, LaRouche starts talking to Alice and telling her not to be mad at him as he wants revenge on Emilie’s killers as well. He explains how he was brought there to tend to the injured count after the original doctor died and he suggested a nurse, Eleonore, brought to help him. Alice is unsure as to what to make of what is happening when some rubble shifts in the burnt abby and they see a hand sticking out. LaRouche goes to check it and discovers Count Blancheville’s body buried there and he says he has been dead for 2 days, then tells Alice to stay there while he rushes to the castle. In the castle, Eleonore is standing over John’s body, preparing to kill him but she can’t bring herself to do it. The disfigured man enters and says that he has to die and then kills Eleonore when she refuses to stab him. Grabbing the knife, the man moves to kill John, who had awoken and struggles with the assailant. Ripping at the man’s face, he discovers it is a mask and the attacker is Roderic, who had hoped to pen the murders on his father. When LaRouche shows up and shoots at Roderic, he manages to get away but as he reaches the abby, he is suddenly confronted by a bloodied Emilie who says to come with her and he ends up falling to his death down a well trying to get away from her. Some time later, a carriage is leaving the castle, with Emilie, John, Alice, and LaRouche inside. LaRouche asks when Emilie and John plan on getting married and John says he will leave that to Emilie. When Emilie asks about Alice, she says she isn’t sure if the man she wants wants to get married as he hasn’t even asked her and LaRouche says if she means him, he will happily say yes, bringing a smile to Alice’s face.
Yeh, this is a pretty boring movie to be honest and was a little hard to stay awake for. The acting was ok I guess while the dubbing was fairly decent considering when this movie was made. The story was boring but I will say that while I did pick out the brief nod to The Cask of Amontillado, with Emilie’s being buried alive, I can’t say that I noticed any other nods to his works. To be honest, I have only read a couple of his works and feel like I should read some more of his stories as those that I did read were good. There wasn’t much in the way of special effects while the drama in the movie was actually pretty good, but the story itself was still boring. It’s a bit hit or miss on if this is a must watch movie but I will say that if you happen to see it, it is worth giving it a chance.
Rating: 2 1/2 out of 5