Wednesday, October 7, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Death Smiles on a Murderer (1973)

I am a sucker for a weird Klaus Kinski movie. The trouble with this one was that he really wasn't in it much nor very central to the plot.

We watch the disjointed (and told in weird flashback) events of the life and death and life of Greta.  She is dead and mourned by her brother Franz.  We later learn that Franz used to abuse and rape Greta till she ran off with a mysterious Dr. von Ravensbrück.  Then we jump to a scene where Greta is in a coach accident. Her driver is killed and she is rescued by a young married couple, Walter and Eva.  Greta has no memory and is soon living with, and having sex with, Walter and Eva.

Klaus Kinski comes in as their doctor and he sees an amulet on Eva's neck that perplexes him.  He goes off to run experiments on corpses.  Meanwhile, Gertrude is bothered by Greta and keeps seeing Greta's rapey brother in hallucinations.

Gertrude eventually flees the house but is shot in the face by someone she knows but we never see.

Later Eva finally gets jealous of the sex Walter is having with Greta (she wants her to herself) and seals Greta up in a vault The Cask of Amontillado style.   Of and around this time Kinski's Dr. Sturges has revealed that Greta's amulet is a formula for bringing the dead back to life.  He succeeds but is killed by someone soon after.
A few weeks later the search for Greta is winding down and Eva and Walter throw a party.  At the party, Eva sees Greta and chases her throughout the house.  Greta's face is young one moment and a corpse-like visage the next.   Greta kills Eva, but no one sees her do it. 

Greta goes on to kill Walter, Walter's father who was...wait for it...Dr. von Ravensbrück!  We learn then that Greta was pregnant with Dr. von Ravensbrück's child but she died in childbirth. The whole thing was witnessed by Gertrude!
Rapey Franz then brought her back to life, but she kills him.  She also kills the butler of the von Ravensbrück's just because she can.

We see Greta in the end. I guess she must be immortal now.

Not a bad flick, but very disjointed.  Ewa Aulin as Greta is great to look at, but she isn't much of an actress. Granted my copy is dubbed, so it is harder to tell. Klaus Kinski is his typical weird-ass self.

Watched: 8
New: 8


Woman with amnesia is found, either by the characters or people they know.  Turns out she is a reanimated corpse intent on killing everyone that was responsible for her death. 
What separates this from say the plot of "The Crow"?  Well, in this case, she is killing everyone even remotely associated with her death whether they had an active role or not.  So less "The Crow" and more "Dr. Phibes."

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