Originally simply the girlfriend for the superhero Neutron, Italian comic book character Valentina took over her series in 1967 and never looked back. Creator Guido Crepax moved her stories away from science fiction and into a world of the erotic tinged with hallucinations, dreams and BDSM.
Director Corrado Farina had previously made a documentary on Crepax before this movie, Freud a Fumetti. That artist had drawn the storyboards for Tinto Brass’ Deadly Sweet, a filmmaker who felt that Crepax’s visual style was near impossible to put on the screen.
Of recent comic adaptions — one would assume Barbarella and Danger: Diabolik amongst them, Farina would disparagingly say, “None of the filmmakers who embarked on that task had been able to deepen the relationship between the language of comics and that of film.”
In this film, Farina was committed to showing the fantastic side of Crepax and not just the erotic.
Valentina Rosselli (Isabelle De Funes) is no stranger to controversy. Her photos are guaranteed to shock and she’s unafraid to get into trouble. One night, her car gets into an accident with a mysterious blonde (Carroll Baker!) who announces herself as Baba Yaga and says that their meeting was destiny.
After taking a garter belt from Valentina’s home, Baba Yaga worms her way inside our protagonist’s head, controlling her via a teddy bear in bondage gear. Yes, you read that correctly. Baba Yaga also has a bottomless pit in her home, which is probably a common thing amongst Italian witches.
Valentina’s lover — the director Arno — is played by George Eastman. That was enough to get me to watch this movie.
Sadly, we may never see the complete vision that Farina had for this movie. After completing shooting and post-production, he left for a vacation. When he came back, the producers had hacked away half an hour directly on the negative of the film. Although he and assistant director Giuilio Berruti tried to save the movie, Farina felt that he could never get back what was lost.
You can get this on DVD from Blue Underground.