Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Sister of Ursula|
Actors: Barbara Magnolfi, Stefania D'Amario, Vanni Materassi, Marc Porel, Anna Zinnemann
Director: Enzo Milioni
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Wea-des Moines Video Release Date: 03/25/2008
Greg Goodsell | Bakersfield, CA United States | 04/10/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Two sisters from Austria, Ursula (Barbara Magnolfi) and Dagmar (Stefania D'Amario) check into a lavish seaside hotel in Italy. Still grieving the loss of their recently deceased father, they are warmly welcomed by the hotel's owner and manager (Vanni Materassi) who invites them to check out the adjoining nightclub. They are introduced to the hilariously awful singer Stella Shining (Yvette Harlow) and the suave and debonair closet junkie Filippo (Marc Porel). It would all be deadly dull if it wasn't for a mad unseen killer who's going around raping and murdering the local women with a giant wooden dildo! A subplot involving a drug ring and lots of near hardcore sex fails to spice up things any further.
The Sister of Ursula is an exceptionally minor giallo, cited as being one of the last in a rapidly expiring genre. Other than a killer in a trench coat and gory deaths, most of the elements typical to this type of film are conspicuously absent. In lieu of an atmosphere of brooding Gothic horror, the beachside setting is beautiful and drenched in sunshine. As in most giallos, the identity of the killer is apparent from the get go, and the many disparate plot elements just don't gel and are independent from each other.
The film does benefit immensely by its DVD presentation as the included 30-minute interview with director Enzo Milioni is a good deal more entertaining than the feature! Milioni has a fascinating story to tell about the production that unfortunately didn't translate into a worthwhile plotline for the film. From Milioni we learn that Ursula was a personal project, and that the phallic murder weapon was a long treasured family knick knack! We also learn that longtime Eurotrash regular Marc Porel was a real life junkie who died shortly after the film was completed; that the massively untalented Yvette Harlow claimed to be related to screen legend Jean Harlow; and that the hotel that served as the chief setting was under construction during shooting -- and then never opened.
Milioni waxes eloquent about the haunting Barbara Magnolfi, an actress whose main cult film role was in Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977), who left the screen and was allegedly never heard from again. Early on Magnolfi delivers a wistful monologue to a shattered statue of Christ, in a scene that stands out like a proverbial giant wooden dildo in a film whose main reason for existing is lots of semi-explicit sex. (The indignant Milioni also states that a version played Italian theaters with stapled-in hardcore inserts until he took proper legal action.)
To its credit, Sister of Ursula has beautiful photography, great locations and a cast of European cult favorites. But you can find countless other films with these attributes without the aforementioned giant wooden dildo.