AMANDO DE OSSORIO WEEK: The Loreley’s Grasp (1973)

As you know, I do love alternate titles. This was known in the U.S. as When the Screaming Stops and even better, The Swinging Monster, both titles that make no sense, what with this being set in an indeterminate time and the only swinging coming from how many gorgeous women are in it. That said, the first other title got a gimmick from distributor Independent Artists, who added Shock Notice, turning the screen red with flashing lights before each murder.

Directed and written by Amando de Ossorio, this is about a German boarding school for girls — parents, don’t send your babies to German boarding schools — where the young ladies are getting murdered in such bloody and horrifying ways during every full moon. This leads to the teacher, Elke Ackerman (Silvia Tortosa, Horror Express) to hire a hunter named Sigurd (Tony Kendall, The Whip and the Body) to protect her pupils.

Each night, Sigurd patrols the school grounds — noticing the many gorgeous students under his protection, naturally — before he meets Sigurd a cloaked woman (Helga Liné) that he keeps missing despite chasing her. He also meets Professor Von Lander (Ángel Menéndez) who has made a dagger that can transform the creature — the Loreley — back to her human form. And as you can imagine, he’s already fallen for her, despite his job and the fact that she’s killed numerous people.

Sigurd is also in love with Elke — maybe he’s The Swinging Monster — and Loreley has already gone after her while restraining him in the undersea cave where she lives with an army of feral women. It’s an entire world removed from our own, like another time and place, which our somewhat modern man destroys with bombs before leaving behind the monstrous world and embracing a love of reason. I’m not so sure I’d make the same choice.

I’ve read a lot of reviews that make fun of this movie, that say it has bad effects, that it’s kind of stupid. Those people are small minded sad folks who can’t embrace the world of Eurohorror, where every man looks like a superhero and every young girl’s bodice is practically either ripped open or covered in blood. A world where gorgeous women lie in wait inside lagoon caves, ready to transform and destroy.

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