(“The Perfume Of The Lady In Black”)
Production: Italy, 1974
Director: Francesco Barilli
Category: Horror
Showing distinct influences of both Rosemary’s Baby and Don’t Look Now, and bearing no relation to the 1908 novel by Gaston Leroux of the same name, Il Profumo Della Signora In Nero is a disturbing, hallucinatory occult horror film starring Mimsy Farmer as Silvia, a young chemist who becomes acquainted with an African entourage versed in black magic. After they apparently place a curse on her, she descends into a twilit world of dementia; a blind psychic and the death of her best friend compounds Silvia’s mental anguish. She relives childhood traumas – sexual abuse, her mother’s violent death – and suffers a personality breakdown, being haunted by the spectre of her own childhood self and assuming the identity of her mother. From that point, the film become a series of bloody murders and demonic visions, leading to a shocking, graphic climax of dissection, evisceration and cannibalism in a sundered catacombs. Il Profumo Della Signora In Nero is beautifully shot, with vivid colours and baroque locations both reminiscent of Argento (who is actually believed to have been much influenced by Barilli’s film), whose Inferno shares the same oneiric qualities (and was filmed in the same apartment building). Whether viewed as a study in insanity, an occult conspiracy story, a horror giallo, or even a pure trance film (it has elements of all four), Barilli’s film is a blast of bizarre brilliance from the cinematic twilght zone. Barilli went on to make another bizarre, claustrophobic film nightmare, Pensione Paura, in 1978.

Posted by Moonchild Zero

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