Whirlpool (1970)

She died with her boots on — and not much else.

Yes, José Ramón Larraz didn’t do anything subtle, huh?

Sarah (Pia Andersson) is a woman of a certain age living in the countryside of London with another shutterbug named Theo (Karl Lanchbury) in a relationship that has them refer to one another as aunt and nephew. Sara invites a model named Tulia (Vivian Neves) to stay with them and be photographed; the very first session goes poorly as Tulia sees a hooded figure spying on her. She shares that this same thing happened when her friend Rhonda (Johanna Hegger) stayed at the house and that something was wrong with the lake.

That night, everyone gets drunk, the ladies get naked and Theo and Tulia make love whole Sarah looks at photos of Rhonda when what she really wanted was a threesome. Things get stranger when Mr. Field comes looking for evidence of Rhonda and Theo sets him up to nearly assault Tulia while he films it.

Of course, all is soon forgiven and that menage a trois ends up happening. Moments later, Mr. Field is stabbed to death by Theo, who follows that up by confessing to Tulia that he’s a sadist as she stares at photos of Rhonda being abused by multiple men. She tries to run through the woods but he catches up to her and snuffs her out.

In case you wonder why Roger Ebert said that this movie had “particularly grisly sort of violence, photographed for its own sake and deliberately relishing in its ugliness. It made me awfully uneasy,” it would be because this movie is, well, shocking and brutal at almost every opportunity.

As you can imagine, this movie was cut to pieces when it first played in England. Also released as Perversion FlashFlash Light and She Died with Her Boots On, this feels like the first version of Larraz’s superior Symptoms. That said — it’s still pretty effective.

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