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Macabre – 5

Director – Lamberto Bava

Cast – Bernice Stegers, Stanko Molnar, Veronica Zinny, Roberto Posse, Ferdinando Orlandi, Fernando Pannullo, Elisa Kadigia Bove

Release Year – 1980

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I became a fan of Italian director Lamberto Bava, who also happens to be the son of Mario Bava (one of horror’s greatest), after viewing Demons and Demons 2 when I was a youngster. While I have been able to get a hold of a few more of his films I never experienced the film credited as his first ever solo directing effort, Macabre. Based on a “true” story that occurred in New Orleans, Louisiana, this flick was filmed in Louisiana for that very reason and did not carry the same look and feel as the rest of Bava’s efforts. Sadly, I must also say that in addition to that the storyline left me ill and appreciating how much Lamberto Bava progressed as a director, making up for this piece with many the many great flicks he gave the genre years later.

Following the death of her adulterous lover, a middle aged woman moves into a New Orleans boarding home where the blind landlord becomes suspicious of her postmortem activities with her dead lover.

Whether or not this story is based on any “true” events was pretty irrelevant to me. I wanted a good sleazy Lamberto Bava story, and while there was a subtle amount of sleaze I was not very happy with the end result provided by this storyline. The story pretty much follows the plot above, following the older woman as she relocates to distance herself from her past, however her mischievous daughter only worsens the matter and her blind landlord begins to take notice to their antics. Half of the conflict in the film is the older woman trying to hide what she is doing in a secret room upstairs, and the rest of the conflict occurs when her daughter figures out what she is up to and looks to expose her. There are a few scenes of horror here and there, but the horror is pretty tame and never manifests to anything very worthwhile. Instead this story spends much of its time giving us NOTHING and amounting to a snoozefest that I wish would have fared much better, both in horror and engaging material.

Lamberto Bava did a much better job directing this film than he did co-writing it, however the poor screenplay pretty much kept the film from faring well despite his positive direction. Nonetheless he employed great atmosphere and made use of positive set locations. With what little horror there was it is worth mentioning that the horror was good when it appeared on screen, but with horror being a rarity in a horror film this flick was a doomed to be a boring snoozefest from the start.

Overall, Macabre is a film I expected much more from but sadly did not deliver in nearly every important element of a horror film. This being Lamberto Bava’s first solo effort was the most interesting thing about this piece, and aside from that I would stay away from this one unless you need help falling asleep.

Rating: 5/10

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