In the Folds of the Flesh (1970)

“…And then a sudden violent shock that left a deep impression on the mind and damagen (sic) it permanently…”

“What has been remains imbedden in the brain nestled in the folds of the flesh. Distorted, it conditions and subconsciously impels…(Freud)”

Those words start this movie off, with a crime being shown in the past and then fast forwarding 13 years into the future, where we meet one screwed up family. There’s the mother, Lucille and her children Colin and Falesse. Yet all is not as it seems — the real Falesse has been locked away in a mental institution and is being replaced by Lucille’s daughter from her first marriage, Ester.

Ester lures man after man to their estate and then goes into a trance and kills them, upon which point she relives the decapitation of her stepfather 13 years ago. Of course, she’s also in love with her brother Colin. Remember when I said this family had some problems?

Then, Pascal, the killer from the opening sequence returns. He’s brutal and uncompromising, demanding $200,000 from the family, then having sex with Lucille and Ester in front of Colin. Finally, after killing one of Colin’s vultures, Lucille draws on her experience in a concentration camp to kill Pascal with gas while he showers. The flashback to the Nazi camp is harrowing and feels so different — and much darker — than the body of the film.

Yet what if Ester’s father isn’t dead? And what if he comes back? Can the family keep killing and getting away with it? And is “I’m sorry I took your place, but I really had no idea I wasn’t you!” the best giallo quote ever?

This is one strange movie — it combines Nazi elements, a police procedural, a giallo, a psychological examining of identity and even comes close to a Last House on the Left vibe.

Severin released this film several years ago, but it’s sadly out of print. It’s certainly one of the oddest entries in the genre and one you should track down. I’ve only barely touched on the many twists and turns of the plot because I believe that you should enjoy them for yourself.

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