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A beautiful young artist must choose her destiny in this hauntingly sensual tale of love, passion and revenge. Catherine Bomarzini (Sherilyn Fenn) returns to the family castle in Italy after her father's death and gets caught in the web of a mysterious love triangle: a man (Malcolm Jamieson) who is at times repulsive, at others enchanting; and a creature of the night whose gentle eyes and touch reveal his infinitive love and devotion. With the help of Martha (Hillary Mason() her faithful childhood nanny, and the ghost of a slain young girl, Catherine discovers the medieval curse that threatens their lives and only she can dispel.
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Director Charles Band (the Puppet Master, Subspecies, Ghoulies and Trancers franchises) in this more seriously approached, surprisingly good Full Moon romantic fantasy-horror release.
Two attractive American women find themselves in Italy after graduating from art school. Gina (Charlie Spradling; Bad Channels, Puppet Master II, The Blob) is working in art restoration and her friend Catherine (Sherilyn Fenn; Boxing Helena, The Wraith) has just inherited a castle. The castle comes with a curse about some wizard who built the castle and cursed people by turning them to stone--and there are loads of statues.
After enjoying a traveling carnival attraction complete with a dwarf (Phil Fondacaro; Troll, Ghoulies II, The Creeps), strong man, snake charmer, fire eater, belly dancer, magician and other carney weirdoes. Looking for some interesting company, Gina and Catherine invite the performers to dinner, after which they are drugged and sensually "taken" by the magician. But the strange thing is--because, no, we haven't hit the strange part yet--the magician has a twin brother whose werewolf roots become most evident in coitus.
The next morning the girls have little recollection of what events transpired and Catherine's nanny (Hilary Mason; Dolls, Don't Look Now, Robot Jox) is left to clean up the mess. Later Catherine is plagued by visions of a murdered young woman. The nanny reveals that the "vision" is linked to the castle's curse, Gina's recent work on a painting is connected to it, and that Catherine is the next!
The effects and action are the primary weak points of this film. The transformation scenes are mostly reduced to frame shifts between human and werewolf form (i.e., there is not much of an on camera "transformation" at all), the werewolf make-up is unimpressive, the limited action is implied more than really being delivered, and there are no scares. But "horror" wasn't really the point of this film, implied violence was all that was necessary for the story to be effective, and the lack of scares was intentional and not a product of shoddy direction. This is more of a romantic fantasy story crafted by a horrorsmith using some horror elements.
This film revealed that Charles Band is capable of so much more than his campy, gory horror. The sexuality of the magician and his twin tender a strong dichotomy. The magician is cruel, manipulative and lustful whereas his werewolf twin is gentle, protective and passionate. The werewolf offers a more Beauty and the Beast sense of fantasy.
This was surprisingly good! Really.
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