Despite the presence of the irresistible Barbara Steele, this Italian production is dull from start to overdone finish. A surgeon is obsessed with his first wife who he accidentally killed during one of their little games. Even wife number two can’t make him forget.
London 1885. Dr.Bernard Hichcock (Robert Flemying) likes to play funeral games with his wife Margaret. During one session of macabre fun he injects her with a special anesthetic. Now there’s a real funeral. He tells his housekeeper Martha to hold down the fort. He’s leaving.
Twelve years later he returns with Cynthia (Barbara Steele). As soon as they get to the house a scream is heard. Welcome to your new home Cynthia. Martha says it’s just her nutty sister who is on her way to an asylum tomorrow.
Hichcock shows Cynthia to her room. It’s the same place Margaret slept in. That night Cynthia sees a ghostly figure walking outside in the rain. Then she hears some squeaky shoes come down the hall and stop outside her door. Whoever or whatever it is tries the door handle. Good thing it’s locked.
There are portraits of Margaret everywhere. Cynthia’s starting to wonder what she’s gotten into. When Hichcock is busy at the clinic she’s accompanied by his assistant Dr.Kurt Lowe.
One night Cynthia pulls down her bed cover and sees a skull. She faints. Meanwhile at the clinic Hichcock has lost a patient. Looks like he’s losing his touch. Back home Cynthia comes to and checks the bed again. No skull this time. She looks through the keyhole after hearing footsteps and sees a pair of boots just like the pair in one of Margaret’s portraits.
Weird things keep happening as Cynthia sees the ghostly figure wandering around. She doesn’t know it’s what’s left of Margaret after being buried alive. Hichcock tells Cynthia she isn’t fully recovered from shock. She was being treated for it when they met. He gives her a glass of milk with a sedative that will help her sleep.
He doesn’t know it but she poured it into a flower pot and takes the glass to Kurt to find out what in it. Why Hichcock didn’t notice the glass was missing is one of those unexplained things.
The movie goes for the big finish which has been used in countless others and had me thinking, “Not this again.” As always Barbara is great to watch but this movie isn’t.
Barbara Steele was in the classic 1960 Italian horror film “Black Sunday.” In 1989 she shared an Emmy award with Dan Curtis for producing several episodes of the mini-series “War And Remembrance.”