A Bell From Hell
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Top Customer Reviews
The framing is indeed off...off 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.
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.
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).Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Don't waste your money. It's a 1970's movie. and a poorly made 70' movie at that.Published 12 months ago by book reader
Please if anyone out there at Amazon is reading this, you must add some subtitles to this movie. The 1973 sound quality is just awful. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Binky Chottorrhœhia
It was real nice to see this nicely made film in the comfort of my own home and not in the basement of my crazy aunt's house on an old betamax player and black and white tv.Published on August 6, 2011 by John Abar
This movie has some interesting moments and has what I call "artsy" scenes, but a few interesting moments and some artsy scenes do not make an entertaining movie. Read morePublished on March 25, 2011 by Lonnie E. Holder
To this date April 23rd, 2008 my great wish is still that one day someone will release A Bell From Hell, She Beast, The Ghost, Castle of the Living Dead AKA Crypt of Terror, The... Read morePublished on April 23, 2008 by Dead Elvis 1988
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