harsens_rob (harsens_rob) wrote,

Kill, Baby... Kill! [Part 2 of 3]

Scene 30: As Paul is led deeper into the Villa Graps by Melissa's laughter, she seemingly vanishes... but her rubber ball continues bouncing unattended down the corridor for him to follow....

He's led down a room of family paintings, but they're so full of cobwebs that he doesn't really take note of them. As he rushes out calling after Melissa and we continue to hear her laughter, we focus in on one of the paintings. It is of our child, of course, in an extremely unpleasant tableau.

Commentary: Seriously? Who would want to have this painting of their dead child hanging on the wall with her sitting next to a giant skull?? This shot wasn't actually needed here because we could already tell going in that we were dealing with a ghost. In addition, the focus in on the name plate, so we could see that Melissa Graps was dead was also a gratuitous shot. We didn't need this confirmation since we could guess this on our own, but also because our characters don't have this information yet. Since Paul didn't note this portrait, it would have been better if it had been left behind Paul's shoulder. We could have noticed that the girl in the painting seems to resemble Melissa, without this "OH LOOK - LOOK, HERE" focus on it.

I think this general scene starts to lag as well, so stretching the moment out isn't helping. We need to have Paul find something concrete to 'rattle his cage', have him put in immediate danger, or have him suffer some unexplainably bizarre experience that will shake his rationality about here. Instead he's continuing to run after Melissa's laughter and it is slowing down the pace of the story....

Scene 31: In the meantime, Monica is having a nightmare back in her room. She is seeing the painting that we just saw, but that Paul missed. Disturbing images flood her dreams of the Baroness Graps and of a photograph with two children, one of which is Melissa. There is also a creepy doll's head that plagues her and an old gate leading somewhere that scares her. In her nightmare, Monica can also hear the sounds of Melissa's laughing.

Her mind's eye rushes in toward the doll's face and Monica wakes up with a start. She finds that sitting at the end of her bed, is the very doll that she had just dreamt of!

Commentary: I like the way that this scene was filmed with all of the nightmare images being distorted and slightly unclear. And, Monica waking up with the doll waiting for her is just eerie.

Monica at first reacts like she's not sure the doll is real, but when she reaches out for it shakily, she's able to touch it. This causes her to flinch back with gasps of fear. When she looks again, the doll is gone!

She's in a near panic now. The window to her room blows open, just adding to her state of anxiety and causing her to try to push herself backward through her bedboard (and giving us an entirely tacky and unnecessary shot of her butt under her pushed up nightgown).

Monica rushes from the room finally, but when she knocks on the door of her hostess in a panic, the woman turns her away telling her that she should never have touched Irena's body. The woman behind the door doesn't want Monica anywhere near her.

Scene 32: We rejoin Paul, who has returned to the village from the Graps' place with no answers and no idea what happened to the Inspector.

Monica catches up to him in the fog in a state of fear. She admits that she feels stupid, but tells him that she can't stay where she was anymore, since her nightmare. He tries to tell her that she's just upset at witnessing the autopsy earlier, but their conversation is interrupted by the village bell going off. When they reach it, however, they find that the bell is attached to a rope... and that rope isn't being tugged on by anyone....

Monica tells Paul that even if the bell clap is being blown by the wind (for the bell rope isn't moving), it still frightens her for reasons she can't explain.

He escorts Monica back to the Inn/Tavern where he has his room. As they reach it, the bell just as mysteriously goes quiet.

Paul tells her and the Innkeeper, who'd come out onto his stoop too, because of hearing the bell, that it was just the wind.

Scene 33: The Innkeeper tells him that it was the ghost. The Innkeeper tells them that the bell has rung everytime someone has been marked for dying. We further learn that the townspeople know that it is Melissa's ghost ringing the bell. He tells Paul and Monica that it was a little girl who'd suffered a tragic accident and had been bleeding to death under the bell. She'd been trying to ring it to summon help, when she had bled out and died, still holding the rope.

Paul is disconcerted over finding out the supposed ghost's name is Melissa, like the odd girl he had been trying to find in the Villa Graps. But being a rational man, he insists there is nothing supernatural going on, after Monica tells him that she believes there is. He tells her there is just a lot of poverty, ignorance and superstition ... and murder.

He has also inquired after Krueger, but the Innskeeper tells him that he hasn't been seen since that afternoon....

Scene 34: Dr. Eswai is left alone in the tavern and is considering what to do next about finding Krueger when he and we note a soft moaning coming from where we espied Ruth performing her painful witchcraft on Nadienne.

Paul goes to check on her and finds her tossing and turning restlessly, burning with fever. He goes to pull back her blankets, when her mother comes in and orders him away from her daughter, which being a doctor, and the man, he'll completely ignore. He yanks the covers back to see that they've wrapped a 'Leech Vine' around Nadienne's torso.

Commentary: The prop looks an awful lot like barbed wire, so we really do get a sense of the torturous 'treatment' she's enduring. In addition, remember, this is WHITE MAGIC at work. Ruth has been presented as trying to help protect the townspeople from the curse on them [up to a point, but we'll discuss Ruth's less than stellar 'good Wicca-ness' later. She's not exactly Tara Maclay]. Also, this scene is a bit uncomfortable, despite Dr. Eswai being a doctor, because Nadienne is *supposed* to still be a minor and they come awfully close to showing too much of her for her supposed tender age.

Well, obviously the doctor isn't going to stand for her parents' backwardness when they're inflicting such dangerous 'treatment' on their daughter. The outraged doctor tells mother that he's sick of the superstitions he's surrounded by as he strips the daughter of the vine around her.

Commentary: Again, this comes across now as kind of ookie, probably in a way that it wouldn't have been in the earlier decade because when he's untying the vine from around her his hands are cleary fumbling around her chest. Plus, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart has some awkward acting/shifting of his feet here that indicates he's aware that this seems a bit inappropriate which is transmitted to the audience so the scene just comes out very awkwardly.

Father comes in and explains that they're trying to protect their daughter from the rampaging little girl ghost of doom. He holds out not much hope, which he freely expresses in front of his sick and threatened daughter - thanks, Dad!

Paul tells him to be silent.

In the meantime, Nadienne is feverishly agreeing with her father that she's doomed because she's been chosen....

Scene 35: In the meantime, we join the two town gravediggers in a horse drawn wagon, overseen by Ruth. They have the corpse we saw Karl bring her earlier.

They rush this body to a grave, before Paul (who remember is a coroner, which has already raised the superstitious hackles of the townspeople) can interfere.

Scene 36: Back in Nadienne's room, the good doctor is assuring her parents that her pulse has grown more regular since divesting her of the vine around her. He has mother come upstairs in order to give her a sedative to administer to her daughter.

Father looks worriedly on his child.

Scene 37: In the office that Krueger was using earlier, Paul sits down exhausted by the night's activities so far. He begins to read through some notes that Krueger has lying on the desk. We hear the Inspector's voiceover read to us what he'd written.

He basically gives us the low down on Melissa Graps and that everyone who had claimed to have seen her bled out in mysterious "accidents" shortly thereafter.

Scene 38: (Nice Transition! Not being facetious, I really liked this transition.) In the cemetery, we see the corpse that Ruth and the gravediggers are hurrying to bury [please tell me you know who it is by now] as we pan by.

The gravediggers are a bit nervous as the breeze picks up.

We continue to pan past them, focusing on the caretaker's workshop, where [I find this darkly humorous in the same way that I found the bus driver's and the doctor's bodies lying for an entire movie burned up in the cemetery in "The Children" ... No, I have no idea what is wrong with me] we find that the maid's body who'd been autopsied at least a day ago is still lying around.

A wind blows open the window and brushes over the corpse. "Melissa's theme" starts up, as she is apparently staring down at the body, and then our POV starts to pan towards a set of doors which open on their own. Over the sounds of Melissa's ghostly laughter, a white ball suddenly bounces in from nowhere.

Commentary: And, the writer's and/or director of 'The Changeling' saw this and realized how bone-chilling a simple ball where it shouldn't be can be. I think they improved on this scene however, because there we don't have Joseph's fake-laughing over the seen. Melissa is a bit too damned vocal and her forced giggling becomes slightly irritating and repetitive, though not nearly as irritating as Monica's name is going to become.

Scene 39: Out in the cemetery, the grave diggers hear Melissa giggling, too. In the meantime, the maid's death shroud is mysteriously dragged to the floor.

Scene 40: In Krueger's office, a strong gust of wind also blows open the window, blowing fog and dust into Paul's face. He goes to the window to re-latch it and from his vantage point is able to see the shadows of the men working there by their lantern light.

Commentary: I like this scene, because the obvious reason for this is so that Paul can interrupt their interning the newest body [surely, you've come to know who it is], but I also like this because of Ruth's earlier statement. Remember, she's been placing coins into the hearts of those of Melissa's victims in order to supposedly save their spirits from being enslaved as angry ghosts, themselves. We won't see whether she's been successful or not, nor will we see if the Irena woman has indeed been doomed by Eswai's interference.

On the one hand, I like this ambiguity (plus this is nearly a throwaway line by Ruth, so isn't the point of the movie), but I also see it as a missed opportunity to add to the horror when Paul is forced to return to the Graps place. It would have been nice if Hollander had been included as a ghost to menace him, along with the former person whose burial he's about to interrupt....

[This scene also hints at some more background regarding our ghost.]
In retrospect, I also love this little scene of Paul having his attention grabbed because we'll find out some things about Melissa later that hints strongly that she's not killing by choice, and this scene to get Paul's attention could easily be seen as Melissa reaching out desperately for his help.

Scene 41: As Paul is wondering what the hell is up out there, Monica joins him where she reports she also saw the lights from her room.

Commentary: And, here I'm just going to say that I know Erica Blanc has quite a fanbase (I've read reviews for this movie before I actually got to purchase it), but I just don't see it. She's certainly striking, and this may be more her dubbing rather than her acting (but I believe it is the combination of the two), but I just find her presence annoying throughout this movie. And, she's about to play an even larger role as her "past comes back to haunt her". I find her eye acting to be overdone, her face to be mostly impassive and her constant near-hysteria in a bit here to be overplayed. Her entire character for me is like a fingernail across a blackboard. So, when I start to turn unkind toward her, like telling her shut up already, it's because she's already bugged me.

Paul suggests that it may be Krueger with some answers. Monica asks him not to go out there, clearly unsettled that someone is in the cemetery at such an hour. She points out that there wouldn't be a reason for him to be out there so late.

Commentary: Oh, shut up, Monica.

Paul ignores her, to find out what is going on as she pensively watches from the window.... [Pensive is a character attribute for her, which is somewhat explained by her hazy memories of being there as a child.]

Scene 42: Paul arrives in the cemetery to the sound of shovels in dirt, even though no one is there [oops]. There is no sign of the gravediggers and the sheeted body is in a very poorly dug shallow grave (seriously, it isn't even deep enough for the body to have been covered, even if they were actually shoveling dirt over it).

Paul reaches down tentatively to uncover the corpse's face... To the shock of, perhaps, two or three of you it turns out to be Krueger ... he has a gnarly looking wound in his temple.

Commentary: The make up effects and lighting really help this scene - he looks positively cadaverish. Well, except for the unfortunately extreme close up, which catches a twitchy eyelid.

Scene 43: Back at Nadienne's, she's still restlessly tossing and turning and muttering in her extremely well lit sickroom, for being in a time before electricity.

To the sounds of her struggling as if in the grip of a mother of a nightmare, we build tension as we slow pan around the room - as we pan past a window, we expect - because of the music - to see Melissa, but we successfully return to Nadienne, without the ghost making an appearance.

Well, for a moment, anyway, until we cut back to the tiny window and see a small hand rest against the glass....

As we pan in close on Melissa's hands, the sounds of Nadienne's distress become louder and are joined by more of Melissa's fake-giggle of death. Our sweaty, doomed girl awakens and looks around her room in a panic.

Commentary: This is the only part that is really awkwardly acted by this actress. She's obviously been told not to look in the direction of the tiny window, because the fact that Melissa is there needs to be her huge shock moment, so she's looking around the room in this overly pantomimed way, waiting for Bava to tell her that NOW she sees Melissa waiting for her....

Poor, Nadienne - I don't know why I like this actress or this character, but I really wanted Ruth to save her at the last moment... alas....

So, Nadienne is in a panic, but we know Melissa's MO from the maid, so we're unsurprised when the murderous brat-ghost stares at her and the teen starts to slip into a reluctant trance of terror.

Melissa draws Nadienne toward the window where she's staring at her and ghost-giggling. Near the window is a candle holder with an unfortunate design that incorporates a rather unfortunate and lethal looking pointed dagger-like protrusion of wrought iron....

Sorry, Nadienne ... be sure to thank Paul, won't you? [Alas, she doesn't... see missed opportunities commentary earlier.]

Scene 44: As Nadienne is meeting her exit, Paul has returned to fetch Monica so she can show him where the Burgomeister lives. They barge into his home and call for him. For no actual reason, he takes an inordinately long time to answer.

Paul angrily tells him that he's just discovered Krueger's body in the cemetery, but Karl already knows. He admits that he had it taken there. Paul implies that Karl may have also arranged for the pistol to be placed to Krueger's temple and then bets that he'll find a coin in the inspector's heart. Karl denies murdering him, but will cop to the coin thing in order to keep his ghost from committing more murders [unnecessary, Melissa is the only murderous ghost in town].

Paul confronts Karl on his believing that ridiculous local legend he shared with Krueger, as revealed by his notes. Karl tells Paul that the legend is true and that he's in danger by staying, but more, so is Monica - in fact, she may be in especial danger.

Karl reveals that Monica's parents weren't actually her parents at all. The Schuftans didn't have any children....

At first Monica disbelieves this could be true, but Karl tells her he has documents for her that will prove his claims left in his care by the Schuftans. He also tells her that they were both employed at the Villa Graps prior to their deaths. Karl goes off to get the documents from a rather delapidated upstairs room. And for some reason, Karl chooses to live with giant cobwebs all over his home, dramatically lit with gel lights... maybe he thinks that Melissa will find it pleasing and spare him....

Unforunately for Karl, his wanting to share family secrets with Monica overrides any goodwill his copying Old Lady Graps' decorating tips may have bought him....

When he opens the locked cabinet, he finds Melissa waiting for him and holding up a sealed envelope with an evil-ghost-smirk on her face. He yells out in horror.

Scene 45: Downstairs, Eswai and Schuftan see the door swing shut and hear the sounds of Karl's yells. They rush to his aid, as inside the room, Karl is backing up with that look of the doomed written all over his face.

As Herr Karl is yelling, "No! No!" Paul finds that the door is mysteriously impossible to open, as they usually are in these situations. Alas for Karl, Melissa has put the suicide whammy on him and he pulls a machete-like blade from where it is hanging on a wall.

When Paul finally gets the door opened, Melissa is nowhere to be seen (and this time she remained unusually silent), the document for Monica has been burned by a candle flame and dear, sweet, kind-of-compelling-in-a-way-I'm-not-understanding Karl is lying on the floor with a slit throat. Oh, Karl. If only you'd just kept your mouth shut... or you know, left the cursed town with Ruth-the-dirty-gray [we're getting to Ruth and why I can't really call her a White Witch, despite her attempts to present herself that way].

Scene 46: Monica has a freak-out and goes running off into the night, but stops in hysterical tears just outside. Paul tells her to get ahold of herself, but she's convinced that they're going to die there just like Irena, Krueger and Karl (they've yet to find out about Nadienne).

Paul tells her that they need help, but as they rush through the village calling for people to come outside, they're ignored or actively turned away.

They run to the Inn, but are greeted at the door by a rifle. Father tells the Doctor that he killed his daughter and he hopes Melissa takes them next. He chases them away from his door.

Scene 47: Paul spots the town bell and they run over to it, where he starts ringing it like mad... which, duh, no one is going to come out for.

Well, there is one person who will. At least according to the shadow we see in the mists through several jumps shots around the otherwise empty village streets.

Paul stops ringing, flabbergasted that no one responded to his bell-ring of distress, despite knowing that the whole incident started because that's where Melissa was killed and having seen that it has a habit of ringing all of its own, probably by ghostly hands, as he's now convinced that there is something going on that his science can't explain.

Commentary: Desperation, or just a bit thick? Some combination of both? You make the call.

When Paul turns to call for Monica, he finds her suddenly mysteriously missing... was she the one casting the shadows, running off through town in her panic or being driven to unravel the secrets that Karl tried to reveal to her?

Scene 48: He runs through the pre-dawn streets calling for Monica (and this is where repeating her name over and over and over really starts in earnest).

In the short distance, he's finds Monica staring at a mausoleum gate in a bit of a trance.

Monica reports to him that she's got a peculiar sense of familiarity with the place, even though she's sure that she has never been there before. They take a look around, and like the rest of the town, it's obvious that no maintenance has been done in ages.

Behind them, a gate slams of its own accord, locking them inside.

Commentary: I like this set as well for its "Hammer-esque" feel, the use again of colored gel lighting to highlight the other-worldly, decrepit feel of this obviously neglected burial place, and the touch of having both actors breaths fogging in the pre-dawn/underground chill. I also like how Monica's mysterious origins is starting to come together, starting with her being drawn to the secret path into this place.

As the two make their way through passages, they come out into a family tomb. Would you be surprised to find that it's the Graps family's resting place? And learning this, would it shock you to learn that they've made it back under the Graps manor?

As they pass through this family tomb on their way to what appears to be another passage leading to outside, they come across Melissa Graps' resting place....

Paul rushes through the passage, only to find that it's a ledge, which is much too high for them to use to climb out. They do find a staircase, however, which leads up into the Graps' place, as mentioned.

Scene 49: In the corridor, they run across Melissa's painting on the wall. They also find Baroness Graps, who wonders why they're disturbing her child in an "I'm a crazy coot" kind of way.

This is where we find out the details of Melissa's death - there was a village festival and she had dropped her ball (referencing why we have seen it several times bouncing around) and ran after it. She got herself trampled in a horrible accident, which obviously shattered the Baroness and turned her into a bitch who wants to see the villagers die the way that they "let" Melissa die.

She crazily tells them a twisted version of what actually happened, in which the villagers were too drunk to notice they were trampling her daughter to death. As we know, she lived long enough to get to the bell and ring for help. In the Baroness' version, they all just stood around and watched her bleed to death instead of helping her. One can't help but wonder where her MOTHER was during this... no comment Baroness?

Commentary: Again, though, Giovanna Galletti tears up the scene wonderfully. It's not just her acting, though, but that's a large part of it. Her crazy eyes and spiteful expressions and the quivering of her chin as she speaks about the accident are great, but the dubbing is great for her character, too. There's something both evilly, bat-shit crazy and also pathetic in the voice that really captures her character wonderfully. And the makeup department made her look sallow, with dark circles under eyes and unkempt hair.

This character really has more charisma than anyone else on the screen, including the unusual looking, but magnetic Herr Karl or the rather handsome Paul Eswai. And, later when Ruth makes her appearance, she blows the severely underacting Fabienne Dali off of the screen, despite her natural magnetism as well.

Scene 50: So, the Baroness invites the two into her living chamber, where she has kept all of Melissa's things piled up around her in the universal sign of clinging to grief.

As the Baroness shows them Melissa's things, note that her "favorite doll" is the same one that showed up in Monica's hallucination earlier in the movie, the one that was at the end of her bed when she woke up from her nightmare and just as suddenly vanished.

As she shows off everything that has been left just as her daughter left it 20 years ago, she gasps as she sees Melissa sitting there glaring at her. It's unclear if Paul sees her as well, again. He may not have, as he doesn't seem very shocked, but Monica yells for him so the moment is distracted from before we can be sure either way.

Paul sees a door swing shut on its own and Monica is mysteriously gone.

Scene 51: Paul runs after Monica's voice, only to pass through a large room. The centerpiece of this room is a large painting of the outside of the Graps' Mansion, in obviously happier days. At the other end, another door slams shut. As he passes through it, he finds himself re-entering the room again. In a really well done sequence, this happens over and over, but each time Paul gets closer to himself, until he finally grabs his own shoulder and spins around his doppleganger in horror and confusion!

In the background, the ghostly moans start up in earnest and Paul comes close to cracking up before getting ahold of himself -- I mean figuratively, this is post-grabbing his own shoulder.

As he shakes off the mindfuck to find himself alone in the room again, both of the doors slam shut and again, like at Karl's, he can't barge them open.

In another fantastic sequence, Paul is being tormented by the ghostly moaning all around him. He backs up in fear against the painting, which naturally is covered in cobwebbing...

... Only to find himself OUTSIDE... tangled in a giant, sticky web! As Paul struggles to free himself, there is another mindfuck moment, when though he is still covered in the web, the actual giant cobweb is suddenly gone and he collapses into unconsciousness onto the path in front of the mansion....

Commentary: Can you tell how much I love this sequence? It's the most innovative and creative sequence in the film and stayed with me long after I watched the movie for the first time. Bravo, Mario, Bravo!

Scene 52: Sometime later, Paul comes around. He finds Ruth, rather disconcertingly standing over him with a knife and a coin... laid out on her table.

She tells him that he was lucky to escape. She had sensed that the spirits were driving him to desperation and she came to his rescue (I'm just gonna assume that she had the help of the two grave diggers again to get him back to her place).

Dr. Eswai takes a good long look at Ruth's hands and asks her just what she was about to do. She assures him that the silver coin wasn't meant for him, but is going to be put to use for her beloved Karl.

Commentary: Unfortunately, Karl and Ruth spent exactly one scene prior to this together and there had been no mentioning of either one by the other during the whole of the movie. Their whole romance would be an informed attribute, in which we're told they had a thing because otherwise there would be no evidence that it had ever existed at all. They couldn't even have Karl say her name in regret just before he offed himself? He couldn't have said something like He & Ruth had been dreading the day that Monica returned, so they'd at least have some sort of back story of being a pair against the horror of what was happening? Their relationship is entirely undeveloped and extremely unconvincing. But, it seems that someone thought it necessary, because otherwise Ruth wouldn't have gotten off her ass to do anything about Melissa's killer ghost ... but, we'll talk about that when Ruth and Graps meet face to face....

I will say, that this is the closest that Ruth ever gets to having an emotional reaction to anything that has happened to her town. She states her undying love for Karl and promises his corpse that she'll avenge him by destroying 'that evil creature'.

Paul suddenly remembers Monica's disappearance, and asks Ruth about her, but the rather un-white witch tells him that she's doomed. The final pieces start coming into place as Ruth tells Paul that Monica is also actually a Graps, and Melissa's sister.

Scene 53: In the meanwhile, Monica is back in the room formerly known as Melissa's (and apparently the only room that the Baroness actually uses). Baroness Graps is also telling her daughter all about how she was taken by the former servants and spirited away after Melissa's death. The Baroness tells Monica that she arranged for her to be sent away and that the stipend that she thought her parents left her for her education, was actually Graps money. She tells her also that she had to send Monica away because she was afraid if she kept her at the Villa, she would be killed by Melissa's avenging spirit.

Melissa was the eldest of the two and her ghost began to kill off everyone else in the Villa (unexplained is why Monica's adoptive parents came back just to be slaughtered, or who raised Monica, while her folks were being killed off with the other servants - a bit of a plot hole, that).

Monica can't quite believe all of this, but Madame Graps insists she's a medium and that the spirits, led by her killer brat, is using her powers against her. She tells Monica that she can't control Melissa's hatred and presents herself as an unwilling victim and accomplice in all of the death around her.

The Baroness collapses into a chair and tells Monica that the ghost they really want is hers. That the ghosts are people that always hated her (and then were killed by Melissa one would assume), but that Melissa doesn't care about the risks she's putting her mother to by using her this way.

As Monica begs her mother to help her find the missing Paul, the Baroness tells her she must flee right away. As the wind picks up and blows through the room, Graps tells Monica that the spirits are coming again...!

The Baroness warns her daughter that Melissa has been waiting for 20 years for her return so that she can get her too. She warns her to run away, while pleading with Melissa to let her be.

Scene 54: Out in the corridors, ghostly moans start up again, as Monica tries to find an exit. A suit of armor falls, startling Mo to collapse against a wall. Suddenly, she feels Melissa's hand on hers and sees her staring at her.

Just as suddenly her ghostly sister is gone with only the sound of her fake-giggle. Monica runs, finding the spiral staircase, and as she flees Melissa's laugh seems to follow her.

As we look down on Monica she runs down the spiral stairs, a white, bouncing ball follows her down....

Commentary: This scene, coming as it does right after some zoom effects to suggest that Monica may be close to her breaking point, really sends a chill down the spine. It helps immensely that the stairs are lit by the ubiquitous gel lights, suggesting that Monica is caught up in a supernatural situation and that the stairs beyond our sight are in complete darkness. It's like she's being chased by that ball down into a dark pit, with Melissa's laugh following her down ... this is another wonderful shot by Bava. And the way that the scene is filmed just allows us to be pulled into Monica's growing disorientation....

And, like with Paul, Monica now has her own perception-altering episode where she continually runs down the stairs past the camera, only to end up near the top again and having to run down the winding staircase again and again... all the time, the camera is spinning around as it looks upward at Monica running around and down toward it.

Scene 55: Sometime later, we rejoin the youngest Graps sister as she is just coming around from passing out (again like with Paul's brush with the Graps' residence). She's somehow either returned or been transported back to the crypt, lying on the ground near her sister's tomb.

She struggles for a few moments to throw off a sense of paralysis before she can finally sit up and survey her situation. As Monica looks like she's close to being scared to death, she sees Melissa again staring at her....

Scene 56: Meanwhile, Crazy Graps is having one of her medium-spells. She starts to slip into her killer trance with Monica obviously getting ready to be the next victim.

But suddenly, her focus is broken by Ruth! And, she accuses Baroness Graps of being the killer all along!

Ruth explains (to us, since things have gotten so confused) that the Baroness isn't the victim, though she is a medium. But it has been her hatred and desire for blood for her daughter's death that in fact, enslaved Melissa and her victims and bound them to murder on behalf of Graps. In fact, this is why the Baroness is so afraid, because the spirits long to claim her, just as she had told Monica ... but they don't want her because they hated her in life - they want her because they want vengeance for being trapped and forced to serve her (with the ghostly moaning, I guess, since we only ever see Melissa - who it turns out is just as much the victim of her Crazy-Assed Mother as the rest).

Ruth further explicates that she's come to kill the Baroness and give her to the ghosts for breaking her promise not to go after Karl....

Commentary: And, here is where we see that Ruth - far from being a White Witch this whole time, is just as guilty of causing all of those deaths as Graps! This whole time, she's been worried about herself and Karl not getting killed and helping the others not be enslaved, but she's known all along that the Baroness was causing the ghostly murders! She struck a deal with the old, murderous bitch! Ruth -- You... You... You EFFING... AH! I'M OUTRAGED!

It is only after the Baroness sent Melissa to kill Karl for not keeping his mouth shut, that she'd decided to stop Graps. Not for Justice, Not to Save Anyone, Not to Help Monica, but as vengeance for her boyfriend's murder!

Now, you see why I referred to her as a dirty, grey witch? Her morality at the end of this tale turns out to be about as clear as muddy water...!

I mean, wow. You sure can't say that Bava didn't take me totally by surprise on this one!

So, anyway, Graps still tries for a bit to play the "I'm just a victim" card, in between telling Ruth she'll never leave the Villa alive. Ruth isn't really interested in surviving though, and she isn't buying the Baroness' pleas that she's innocent.

Ruth then tells the Baroness that she's insane and that she'd even kill her other daughter Monica in her insane quest to punish everyone around her with her hatred.

Crazy-Ass becomes Evil-Crazy-Ass pretty quickly, dropping any pretense and admits that the Schuftan's weren't sent with Monica, they stole her and slipped out through the passage through the tomb. They hadn't thought that Melissa would overtake them, but she eventually got to them.

Commentary: If you squint, this almost makes sense of the weird way that Monica got out of the village, despite her 'parents' being in the village. One could suppose that they did get out with her, but later that Melissa's ghost found them via Graps' medium powers. They were murdered and then their bodies delivered back to the village of their births for a proper burial, with Monica being shipped of to another guardian, one which the Baroness didn't know and so couldn't find. Perhaps because Monica was too young to know anything about Melissa or her birthright, her mother wasn't able to locate her. Or, perhaps in the beginning, she hadn't planned for Monica to be killed at all, but the former servants could see the writing on the wall as their mistress became more and more bitter and homicidal. Unfortunately, Italian horror and logical flow are nearly always at odds with one another - you'll find the same thing in nearly all of the gialli, as well, when it comes to a killer's motive and choice of victims.

Anyway, Evil-Crazy-Ass goes for a fireplace poker to take out Ruth.

Scene 57: In the meantime, Paul is running around the Villa Graps yelling for Monica! Monica! Monica!

Scene 58: She's still in the Graps tomb, still shaking herself to pieces. On the ground, the favored doll of Melissa's has been delivered. After some quaking hesitancy, Monica picks it up. It was left for her on a tomb set aside for Monica Graps - she's terrorized by this find.

Paul finds her, but he's behind a heavy steel door and when he cries for her to let him in, she acts like she doesn't hear him, being in a spasm of utter horror.

Paul banging on the door causes her to have another freak-out and she runs off onto that high balcony overlooking a sheer and fatal drop....

Scene 59: Meanwhile, in Melissa's former room, Ruth is choking the life out of Baroness Graps with her bare hands.


To be Continued
Tags: review kill baby kill

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