Movie Review-The Whip and the Body

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Review-the latest Mario Bava collection entry from Kino Classics is the very kinky and odd little film called The Whip and the Body. Originally released in 1963 this film covers topics that seem a little risqué and taboo for that era along the lines of masochist and sadist tones in the characters. This romance of sorts seems like a match made in hell with two people who seem so destined to be together but a fate that seems more about wanting them to be apart. They go thru a suicide, an arranged marriage and then murder. This film seems to want to answer the question if death is stronger than love or is it vice versa. You have all the Bava staples, you have the place by the sea, the before its time messages and visuals and most of all, the devil to the wind attitude that transcends way past that director chair into the actual dialogue. Christopher Lee is top billed as Kurt who is the disinherited heir-apparent to the house of Menliff. We find out as the film goes on he was the black sheep of his family, his father banished him for seducing a girl who was a servant then dumping her and her wanting to die and ultimately committing suicide over him. When Kurt’s father does die the lands and all goes to the second born son. Not only did he lose everything to his brother, he also lost his fiancée to him as well. The son though is in love with his cousin but agreed to the wedding to appease his dad. When Kurt comes to congratulate his brother is when everything starts for the brother’s fiancée and Kurt. This film is what people are fans of Bava for, the slow build to that creepy atmospheric story that keeps your attention because it feels to sink deeper and deeper into a world that is so uncomfortable but so welcoming. The film has a good pace and the dialogue was strong, the third act is when the film suffers. It tries so hard to give us everything that it loses sight of what it really wants to give us. Does that make sense, let me explain this. It tries so hard to do so much that it forgets to concentrate on the storytelling. That aside, I really did not mind that the build to the ending felt like an afterthought on the underwhelming ending. The film for Bava fans it is better than most, but if you see the majority of his films, or watched then this film is really nothing new or special.

7 out of 10