By day a mild-mannered businessman, Boris Zaroff chases women across his country estate. Often, they are naked. Then, they get killed. Just like his father before him, he becomes legendary for his cruelty, which leads a young girl to his estate where she asks to see the famous Zaroff torture chamber. Can this be love? Well, when your father was Count Zaroff and they wrote The Most Dangerous Game about you, anything can happen.
Oh yeah — there’s also a ghost of a dead countess who calls to our — well, he’s not the hero, I guess — and beckons him to follow her.
I’d say that this movie has a ton of dream sequences, but then again, maybe the whole thing is a dream sequence. It looks beautiful. It was written, directed and stars Michel Lemoine (Threshold of the Void, Castle of the Creeping Flesh) and if you’re going to have a passion project, make it one where you freak out amidst gorgeous estates while seventies disco jazz blares and ridiculously attractive European women drop their clothes at the rate that I post about Lucio Fulci movies.
Howard Vernon — yes, Dr. Orloff — shows up to play the butler who must instruct the young Master Zaroff in the matters of trapping and killing women. Yes, this is a movie that Jess Franco probably could have made, but it looks like one of his films when he actually cares about the images on screen and not just the sheer amount of pubic hair he can display.
There’s a scene where Zaroff tells a woman to give in to the magic mirror and refers to her as a skylark, which is probably how French noblemen picked up women in 1976. That and lots of cocaine and giant rooms filled with mirrors, feathers, giant beds and statues of satyrs. There’s also a statue that comes to life and a trap called the lover’s bed, which impales whoever chooses to make love within it.
This movie was banned in France in the 1970s, then censored, then forgotten about. Luckily, the people at Mondo Macabro have worked with Lemoine to bring not only an extended version of the film to maniacs like me, they’ve put together an hour interview with cast member and assistant director Robert de Laroche, as well as half an hour of deleted, unused or alternate scenes.
You can get this directly from Mondo Macabro.