Here’s one of the most psychedelic and original horror films to come out of Italy during the 1970’s. Yes it was made during the 70’s, although from the look of it you’d think it was 1967. Everything from the look of the characters to the fashion to production design screams 1970’s. The story deals with a photographer named Valentina (Isabelle de Funes) who takes part of the artistic toast of Italy. One night she meets Baba Yaga, a lady in her 50’s who acts and dresses in very eccentric manners. Soon, a spell is cast over Valentina, as it turns out Baba Yaga is a witch. Her camera is turned into a weapon of death, and she is having weird hallucinations. With the help of her boyfriend Amo (George Eastman), she will try to escape her grasp.
This film is based on an s&m comic named Valentina by Guido Crepax. You see, in the 1960’s and 70’s, comic books were not just superhero entertainment for the kiddies, they were also considered an artistic medium and was very chic among the artistic types, thanks to the help of artists such as Jim Steranko and Neal Adams. This movie is framed very much like a comic book. Flashbacks, flash-forwards and love scenes are demonstrated with black and white still photographs, much like the comic it was based on. There are also many hallucinatory dream sequences, many involving Valentina either being abused by, or taking part in, Nazi war atrocities. There’s also a doll in s&m gear comes to life to torment Valentina and murder one of her models. These are definitely some of the best moments in the film. Acting-wise this film is very good. Isabelle de Funes is a very beautiful woman, and looks like an Italian version of Louise Brooks, even with her trademark haircut. Carroll Baker from Baby Doll plays the witch Baba Yaga, and she gives new meaning to the word MILF. Her beautiful eyes and round lips kept me enthralled throughout the film. However, it was George Eastman who really surprised me. I’ve always known him as an over the top villain in a lot of horror, action and fantasy films. Yes, that is Anthropophagous playing a romantic lead, and he’s pretty good at it too. So while you might think this movie is weird, give it a chance. It’s a hallucinatory dream just waiting to be rediscovered.