A teenage American from
New York Suzy Bannion (Jessica
Harper) arrives at a boarding school
dance academy in Italy where she can be a
successful ballet dancer run by two
mysterious women Madame Blanc (Joan
Bennett) and Miss Tanner (Alida Valli).
She finds out from Madame Balnc that a
former student who got kicked out of the
academy was brutally killed but was never
However, many students become victims of
horrific crimes as the school becomes a
walking nightmare of the damned but is
told that they have left the academy.
But she experiences abusive actions by
her teacher Miss Tanner and things don't
seem normal there as she must find out
what is going on there and escape if she
There was a nice scene in the beginning
of the movie with Suzy Bannion arriving from the airport on a
stormy night and then a good shot of her
in the back seat of a taxi as it looks
dark and you suspect a horror event will
unravel. Yet it almost does as there's a
nice camera shot of the cab driving in
tall tree's and outside the window some
creepy things seem to happen which looks
A good moment with supporting character Pat Hagen at her hotel suite behaving
frightened in which all of this looked powerful and mysterious to watch as well as her getting paranoid with a perfect shot of
her staring at a window in the night with
a flashlight along with some monstrous glowing eyes staring back at her offering great horror taste and then bang! A monsters
hand comes crashing through the window
and grabs her.
We also have good shots on supporting character Sonia screaming and behaving
wildly freaked out crying for help and
pounding on the door when this event
happens which looked tremendously
well for this horrific moment.
We spot good takes on Pat being
stabbed and tortured to death and an
intense scene of her being hung and
bloodied as it gives the film a nice
italian horror feel to it.
A well remembered moment is when Suzi is outside of the boarding school and a strange elderly lady is staring at her as well as holding a metal object and hear the whispering words witch as this looked strangely done but in a great horror fashion.
Perfect sharp scene with her entering the boarding school as well as Miss Tanner introducing herself which was strongly drawn in and making this piece looking quite interesting. These situations were done at an energetic pace.
A nice brief scene with supporting character Olga strutting her stuff nicely
when she introduces herself to Suzy as she really comes off like she is the
best in her school and no one can do
better. Alot of this looked highly entertaining to watch and done carefully with a nice focus on each of these characters.
We see a struggling moment with Suzy when she feels sick during a ballet dance
practice about to pass out yet Miss Tanner still continues to teach them
which looks very strongly done and
you wonder why she isn't stopping to help
poor Suzy in which
leaves a nice impression wondering who
this woman really is. Within this moment the tension looked believeable imagining if you weren't feeling well and were forced to do something but feeling weak.
Another great moment with Miss Tanner is
when she forces Suzy to drink
a pitcher of water and she tries
to hesitate. This for sure looked convincingly twisted and abusive as it boggles you while watching all of this unravel.
Perfectly gross situations when Suzy and the other students discovering maggots falling from the roof with great close up shots on all of this.
We also see an intense discussion between
Miss Tanner and Daniel quarrelling at one another during a
ballet dance practice and her acting abusive towards him forcing him to
leave the school which also looks both
intense yet funny too when she starts
shouting at him.
Perfectly focused moment with Daniel walking his dog and then he's in a silent area with whispery sounds calling towards him as this looked creepy while watching this along with a good terror on his dog attacking him as well as good gruesome results as this looked convincingly gross to watch.
There's a great dark setting with Suzy and Sara awake
in a room with the rest of the girls
sleeping and there's a dark red light
shining on them. It looks spooky when Sara says what is going on with the
strange sounds in the room that will
leave a bit of a chill the way she
We set a nice set of the dark hallway
with Sara wandering around
getting freaked out by the hauntings
around her as there's nice green and red
lights shining on her as she hears the
evil chant and whispers around her.
This is a terrific moment for anyone who loves haunting type horror flicks. Also a good moment when she tries to lock herself in and we spot an object trying to pull open the lock with her finding a way to escape through a window as you wonder if she will get out in time. Then a good shocking moment on what she falls through on the other side of that window as this leaves a nice psychological feel as I think to myself if the makers from Saw watched this flick and used a similar idea. Plus a great attacking moment on a killer hands with a good close up shot.
There's effective scene's when Suzy goes
through passageways in the school with
navy blue lights on her and her
surroundings which were nicely done with
the shootings. Then she is being pitted against a
couple of monstrous looking witches she
awakens while holding a dagger which adds some nice touches to the story. Plus a good moment when she spots the headmistress' little secret by what they're doing which looked convincingly strange to watch.
There's good shots on walls crumbling
open with windstorms and doors being torn
Bottom line is that this is a twisted and
confusing yet well done supernatural
horror story that really works on it's
own and should be well loved by others
who enjoy italian horror films.
Some original scares and good effects too
for this low budgeter and remains a cult
classic which is great watching even
better with the lights turned off like
other films such as Phantasm
or the Exorcist even if
this movie doesn't compare to either of
them but has that darkness to it to watch
at night when it's dark.
Anyone who loves ghostly witches or
demonic happenings will enjoy this one
The acting is not
too bad for a foreign film as it was not
overdubbed by american actors and the
italian cast members did well with their
english in the film.
American actress Jessica Harper (Suzy Bannion) seems
to pull off her role well and has the
right looks to be in a supernatural
horror like this one. She reacts well when she goes
through passageways in the school with
navy blue lights on her. She shows nice shocking
expressions on her face as well as
getting spooked in another scene. Shows a good timid and mellow type of behavior into whatever she did here. Also reacts well to being weak and not feeling well in a certain scene too coming off by being natural. Shows great energy when the terror starts to strike which offered nice reactions to everything.
Stefania Casini (Sara) who is a student
roomate comes across very mysterious and
does a solid performance with her part in
this film. Does a nice job acting well alert on stuff as well as having a good clear voice. Also shows off some nice scared energy when trying to get away from the terror that strikes her. She
reacts painfully well when she is
caught in a web of barbwire which looked
Flavio Bucci (Daniel) brought on his role nicely as a blind music teacher. Shows off a nice sensitive type of performance in which shines off pretty decent. Also does well with his upsetting emotions too during an argument. Also shows off a nice fearsome attitude near the end of his performance as this looked convincingly done.
Alida Valli (Miss Tanner) stole the film with her
intense performance as the evil and
abusive school teacher showing terrific
aggressions to her part in it. She shows off a good sharp attitude especially during the beginning of her performance coming across as deceivingly wlecoming. Was terrific with her forceful behavior along with acting wicked too. She does well with her english speaking and not having too much of a thick accent.
Joan Bennett (Madame Blanc) is another example as a
mysterious one in the film and plays a
nice headmaster of the boarding school. Shows off a perfect unwarming type of attitude. Also shows off nice serious and aggressive type of expressions along with her emotions too. She shows off a convincing force to her part in it.
There's a nice cameo by italian celebrity
Udo Kier (Dr. Frank Mandel) who comes across nicely
as a strange Doctor which seems quite
twisted too. Shows off a nice creepiness to his appeal and was quite noticeable while behaving this way.
A girls chest is
torn open revealing her heart
A dog tears open a blind man's neck
Some gruesome stabbings and a throat slit
There were many
different sounds of spooky music composed
for this film. We have a nice tingling
light keyboard sounds to many of the
scenes as what you would hear in Phantasm
or even The Exorcist
as well as some dark creepy tones to it
as well which is splendidly horrific for
the terrifying events unraveling as done
by Goblin with a bit from Dario
Argento himself. However alot of the composing was overly played and it drove me nuts to hear it over and over.
Sarah... I once read that names which
begin with the letter 'S' are the names
of SNAKES! Sssss! Ssssss!
Suzy Bannion: Hey,
thanks, my room is really pretty.
Olga: Do you like it? You're
sweet, I bet we'll do fine together.
Suzy Bannion: Even if I have the
name of a snake?
Olga: Oh, I was just kidding!
Don't tell me you're as touchy as Sarah.
Suzy Bannion: No.
Helena Markos: [aroused
from her snoring slumber] Who is it?
Who's there? Ah, I've been expecting you!
The American girl! I knew you'd come. You
want to kill me! You want to kill Helena
Helena Markos: You wanted to kill
me! You wanted to kill me! What are you
gonna do now, huh? Now death is coming
for you! You wanted to kill Helena
Markos! Hell is behind that door! You're
going to meet death now... the LIVING