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A Bell From Hell (1998)

Renaud Verley , Viveca Lindfors , Claudio Guerín , Juan Antonio Bardem  |  Unrated |  DVD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Renaud Verley, Viveca Lindfors, Alfredo Mayo, Maribel Martín, Nuria Gimeno
  • Directors: Claudio Guerín, Juan Antonio Bardem
  • Writers: Santiago Moncada
  • Producers: Claudio Guerín, Robert Ausnit
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Spanish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Pathfinder Home Ent.
  • DVD Release Date: March 29, 2005
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0007GP7HI
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,615 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "A Bell From Hell" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

A young man is released from an asylum and returns home for revenge on his aunt and her three daughters, who had him declared insane in order to steal his inheritance. This legendary film is available for the first time on DVD in it’s never before seen restored version.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars New Pathfinder dvd is missing footage April 12, 2005
Format:VHS Tape
Truely a classic of the Spanish 70's cinema, but the new dvd has been sourced from a cut print and is missing three scenes and part of a fourth. Be advised that the complete film was released in the UK, but that VHS release is out of print.
The framing is indeed centered to the left and overmatted top and bottom. LBX scenes from the Spanish print included in the extras confirm this.
Very sloppy work from Pathfinder. Worth a rental if you've never seen it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars facinating April 11, 2005
I've read mixed reviews about "A Bell From Hell" for years, but I've never had a chance to actually see the film, so my expectations were in check. However, after watching the new Lions Gate DVD I'm happy to say it's one of the best 60's-70's Spanish horror films I've ever seen, and I would easily stick it right up there with The House That Screamed, In A Glass Cage, and Blood Spattered Bride.

Basically it's a simple revenge story, about a young man who's recently been released from a mental institution, and is eager to teach a lesson to those were responsible for committing him. His vehicle for retribution is a series of vaguely cruel and humiliating "practical-jokes" that gain in severity until they become harrowingly grotesque.

Although it has a lot in common with the Italian "Giallos" of the time, A Bell From Hell also displays a level poetry and surrealism that's ultimately more lush and dreamy. Director Claudio Guerín Hill, doesn't appear all that hung up on logic, exposition, or the conventions of a linear plot, but he is a master-stylist capable of composing highly effective scenes that are breathtaking as they veer from beauty to brutality. In fact his use of artfully shot and edited slaughterhouse footage to foreshadow future events, will undoubtedly put some viewers off, but it's inclusion doesn't have the sleazy gratuitous feel that it does in the "mondo" & Italian Cannibal films of the 70's, and I would argue for the validity of it's inclusion.

The cast is attractive, both male and female, and Bell also has the added bonus of featuring the always fascinating, Viveca Lindfors in a substantial part.

Sadly, it appears on the last day of shooting, the Director was killed when he fell (or jumped) from the bell-tower featured in film. Had he lived he probably would have made some remarkable films.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of missing footage and improper aspect ratio April 9, 2005
By dooby
This 1973 Euro ArtHouse Gothic-Horror movie has been compared to works by Bunuel, Polanski, and Bava, so if you happen to like films of that sort, this may appeal to you. It has elements of horror mixed with elements of social commentary. I gave it a try but wasn't too keen on it myself. The story line is simple. A young man returns to his childhood home after being kept at a mental asylum for several years. He has been the victim of his aunt and her 3 daughters who schemed to cheat him out of his inheritance. Now he's back to wreak vengeance on all of them. After his release, he goes to work at a slaughterhouse to learn how to kill cattle (stun them, string them up, cut them open and let them bleed to death). He intends the same fate for his treacherous relatives. All smiles, he lures them into his house of horror. After setting a swarm of bees onto his wheelchair-bound aunt, he manages to get his 3 pretty cousins down to the cellar where he strings them up like meat at the slaughterhouse (the scene that gained this film its notoriety). Unfortunately he doesn't have the nerve to cut them open and the tables are turned against him. In a scene reminiscent of Edgar Allan Poe, he is entombed behind a brick wall with a noose round his neck, set to hang with the next tolling of the church bell.

The horror angle is intermixed with social satire about youthful alienation, the hypocrisy of the petite bourgeoisie and oblique comments on Spanish politics.

There is little in the way of shock-horror or gore, unless you think documentary style footage of cows being slaughtered and gutted is gory. There is also little nudity or sex (in the slaughterhouse scene, we only get to see the girls from the back, just like on the DVD cover).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious and sometimes shocking March 20, 2006
I dont't know what to make of this film at all, but it certainly had me hooked all the way to the end. The story is pretty unique, and the turns of events are all surprising and unexpected.

The central character is Juan, a dashing but rather unpredictable man whose behaviour is impossible to interpret for the entire running time of the film. He starts off the story by being released from a criminal asylum on probation, but it is not clear whether he is still dangerous and/or insane. I don't know if this is down to the script or just his indifferent acting. Sadly, as is the case with a lot of 70's and 80's Euro horror films, the English dubbing takes away most of the nuances of any acting performances. Anyway, he immediatley revs up his motorbike and sets off for the nearest cattle slaughterhouse where he takes a job and learns the art of killing. Let me say first off that any animal lovers should switch off right now, as what follows is about 5 minutes of the most upsetting slaughterhouse footage I have ever seen. I flinched when I saw a live pig knifed in "Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll" (a Spanish horror flick from around the same era as this one), but this is far worse as we get to see live cows strung up, knifed, bled, dismembered and disembowelled. All the time, their harrowing death screams are recorded on the soundtrack. To my disbelief, the actor playing the part of Juan is clearly seen carrying out these tasks for real on camera. I guess this must have been par for the course in 1970's Spain, but you certainly wouldn't get any of today's Hollywood stars doing anything remotely similar! As thoroughly unpleasant as this is, it does have the desired effect of making you dread the possibities that may lie ahead in the film.
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