Too long of preamble for Lee's character to suffer the inevitable to get to the root of the story. And by long, we're talking a good 20+ minutes until that event... and then another 10+ until the crux. Thus, its entrancing appeal never awakens, not knowing where to start its narrative. Sadly, too many of the scare tactics are also of the mysterious sights/sounds variety, never building palpable tension or fear.
One of Bava's absolute best. Gorgeously photographed, excellently acted by Lee and the divinely beautiful Lavi, and just serious enough to render it's theme of a mutual, but destructive sadomasochistic romance still disturbing more than 50 years on.
In mood and content, feels like a blend of VERTIGO and HOUSE OF USHER. Seeming to be shot entirely at late twilight or night, it has an eeriness that Bava brilliantly sustains. This is to his career as THE HORRIBLE SECRET OF DR. HITCHCOCK is to Freda's. Plot is pared down to reveal the pure transgressive poetry within. These films are undeniably morbid but they are also essential. LAVI is more than worthy of STEELE.
You wouldn't think that a giallo film in which Christopher Lee plays a sadist who comes back from the dead to whip his mistress would be boring, but it is. An unexpectedly tame Brontëan-Sadean mess with unbearable dubbing and an exposition-heavy script.
The whole story takes place in a beautiful, stylish and romantic goth setting. However it does not reach anything convincing as tthe rhythm is really boring, it also lacks of real atmosphere. A bizarre Sade inspired motif mixed with a ghost story. Weak despite an interesting cast. Bava has better to offer in his long career.