5 tombe per un medium Film Details
Overview: An attorney arrives at a castle to settle the estate of its recently deceased owner. The owner’s wife and daughter reveal that he was someone who was able to summon the souls of ancient plague victims and, in fact, his spirit was roa
Tagline: They rise from dank coffins in the dead of night, murdering their victims in an orgy of slaughter!
Review: What’s Good About It: Barbara Steele and Mirella Maravidi – not necessarily in that order – atmospheric locations and interiors, bravura camera-work, colorful (if somewhat illogical) plot. What’s Not So Good About It: Slack direction, poor editing and a less than spectacular climax. If you haven’t already seen this film a “spoilers alert” may apply Mirella Maravidi (a.k.a) Marilyn Mitchell is an attractive romantic lead who can look convincingly frightened and is obviously enthusiastic about the project. Barbara Steele, on the other hand, seems less enthusiastic about playing, yet again, the adulterous wife. However, her under-played characterisation contrasts well with that of her excitable step-daughter, and her death scene is very effective. One of the key features of “Cinque Tombe” is the choice of locations and Carlo Di Palma’s lighting of them. The action takes place early in the last century during the winter – a most suitable time of year to set a horror film. The Villa Hauff, where much of the drama takes place, makes use of Castel Castelfusano – a building with a bizarre truncated shape. The prologue of the U.S. version shows a terrified man hurrying from a tavern late at night through deserted cobblestone streets and down a wide flight of steps. This sequence is ominously lit and conveys a real sense of menace. In contrast, later on in the film, the lake beside which Mirella Maravidi and Walter Brandt walk as their relationship develops is bathed in winter sunlight. In the exhumation scene, a gray mist drifts across a line of gaunt trees that form a backdrop to the cemetery. This location is also overshadowed by an odd-shaped “capella”. The interiors are also superbly fitted out: the walls of Villa Hauff are like an art gallery. The Apothecary’s store is lined with wooden chests of drawers and glass jars. The fireplace in Stinel’s sparsely-furnished living room is used to frame a glamor shot and, later on, the aftermath of a suicide. In addition to the atmospheric lighting, Carlo di Palma occasionally treats us to some startling camera-work, such as a sequence quite early on in the film that begins with a high angle long shot of a departing horse and trap, followed by a big close-up of Barbara Steele’s eyes as she watches and then turns as the camera draws back to show her furtively examining papers in Walter Brandt’s briefcase. As director, Ralph Zucker should have tightened the script – which is essentially a tale of revenge that goes out of control – before starting. He should also have removed some of the more obviously illogical aspects of the plot – for example, if the plague-spreaders had their hands severed before they were hanged and buried in unconsecrated ground, how come it’s their hands we see reaching out from their graves! In several scenes, most notably that of the town clerk’s office, the dialog needs condensing to prevent the pace from flagging. If the failure to do this was because of pressure or inexperience, the editor should have been able to tighten the scenes. Unfortunately, the editing – especially in the second half – looks more like a basic assembly job than skilled cutting. Unnecessary “cover shots” are left in: when the shock discovery of an empty grave prompts the hero to phone his business partner, we don’t need to see him leaving the graveyard to locate a phone – you can cut straight to him making the call! A shot of mummified hands inside a glass case coming to life, if kept short, can be scary; a prolonged tracking shot of all the hands wriggling (and doing nothing more) is not. Now, if one of those hands had suddenly smashed through the glass…. As far as the disappointing climax is concerned, it looks as if the film either fell seriously behind schedule and/or ran out of money. The final scenes look hastily improvised. If the director hadn’t intended to show the plague-spreaders at the climax, it was a mistake to show one of their disfigured hands after Stinel’s suicide. A partial manifestation two-thirds of the way through the film leads us to expect to see more later on. When this doesn’t happen, we feel let down. In spite of its faults, “Cinque Tombe Per Un Medium” or “Terror Creatures From The Grave” has a lot going for it. If Ralph Zucker had had more experience, a less restrictive budget and a better editor, the film might have been a minor classic. As it stands, I believe this is a case of a film being saved by atmospheric locations, an imaginative lighting cameraman and a couple of enthusiastic actors.
Duration: 85 min
Also known as: O Cemitério dos Mortos-Vivos,Terror-Creatures from the Grave,Le cimetière des morts vivants,Пять могил для медиума,5 гроба за медиума,5 tombe per un medium,Tombs of Horror,Terror Creatures from the Grave,Cemetery of the Living Dead,Cinq tombes pour un médium,Coffin of Terror,Cimetière pour morts vivants,Five Graves for a Medium,Cinco tumbas para un medium,Cinque tombe per un medium