One of Bava's best.
Puzzle box | Kuwait | 06/26/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great film by the master of Italian horror Mario Bava, The Whip and the Body has irresistible and genuine Gothic scares, combined with atmospheric camera-work and breath-taking scenery. The Whip and the Body is a unique film in many ways, but particularly because of the controversial substance it dared to bring forward. Don't forget that the year of release was 1963 and Mario Bava unscrupulously introduces characters with taboo-fetishes like S & M. The story is terrifically set in the 19th century, where Kurt Menliff returns to his eminent family after being banished for several years. The family's hate towards Kurt's vile behavior is only surpassed by their fear and only the gorgeous Nevenka has a secret desire towards his wicked sexual preferences. In a particularly astonishing sequence, he whips her repeatedly (and roughly...) before continuing with making love. Terror overcomes the Menliff family when Kurt is found murdered in his room and when the tormented Nevenka begins to see his appearance in nearly every chamber of the castle. One of things that Mario Bava is often highly praised for is his use of lighting, and this film features what is probably the best use of lighting ever seen in a Bava film. The lights give flair to the scenery, and help to give the film that picturesque cinematography that the former cinematographer creates so well. Yes the story was quite bizarre but it was different from the usually 60's Gothic horror films mainly because of it's twisted finale. Christopher Lee as usual was superb as the sadistic and recently deceased Kurt who may or may not be haunting his relatives. Actress Daliah Lavi was also fabulous and complex as the anti-heroine. Music, sets and costumes, all contribute to make the movie a very satisfying (and bizarre) viewing experience. Plus, who could dislike a movie with such an enticing title?"
J. Nixon | desert southwest | 08/23/2009
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have read a lot about this film, mostly that it was impossible to see a version that was the original director's vision. Now you can. It's a ghost story with a lot of whipping. Dalia Lavi is engagned to one guy but has a thing for Christopher Lee. His sadistic treatment of her is sexually exciting and you can tell in the film. The movie is interesting and is more of a ghost story than a horror film. The sado-masochistic stuff isn't for me, but it doesn't overpower the film."
The Whip and the Body
Carl Manes | 04/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The ghost of a nobleman's sadistic son returns from the grave to haunt his former mistress, whip in hand, after he is brutally murdered out of revenge for his misdeeds. Italian master Mario Bava continues to prove his dominance as the leader in visual storytelling, drowning the ornate sets in more of his signature colors as he effortlessly glides through them with the camera. THE WHIP AND THE BODY earns its place alongside KILL BABY, KILL and A Drop Of Water as being one of Bava's most technically proficient films, melding picture, color, and sound in an intricately woven tapestry of suspense. As painful as it is to watch some of the torture scenes, they create a sense of mystery and intrigue in to the taboo sexual desires of the sadist and masochist. Christopher Lee delivers one of his cruelest and most unforgiving roles as the domineering Kurt. He is played alongside the equally talented and beautiful Daliah Lavi, as well as a stellar assembly of internationally-acclaimed actors in one of Bava's more memorable casts. THE WHIP AND THE BODY is a perfect Gothic ghost tale of murder, lust, and betrayal as only the master of Horror, himself, could provide.
I Like Horror Movies"