organization Art Promotion

The Whip and the Body


Italia, Francia – 1963 – 35mm – color – 88’


Direction: John M. Old (Mario Bava)
Screenplay: Julian Berry (Ernesto Gastaldi), Robert Hugo (Ugo Guerra), Martin Hardy (Luciano Martino)
Photography: David Hamilton (Ubaldo Terzano)
Editing: Rob King (Roberto Cinquini)
Set design: Dick Grey (Ottavio Scotti)
Music: Jim Murphy (Carlo Rustichelli)
Costumes: Peg Fax (Anna Maria Palleri)
Cast: Christopher Lee, Daliah Lavi, Tony Kendall, Isli Oberon (Daniela Galli), Harriet White, Dean Ardow (Gustavo De Nardo)
Producers: Tom Rhodes (Federico Magnaghi)
Production: Francinor-PIP, Leone Film, Vox Film



The cruel Baron Kurt Menliff returns to his familial castle, where he meets again the beautiful Nevenka, to whom he was once tied by a sadistic relationship: he used to whip her, firing up in this way the passion. But the renewal of that morbid bond is intended to be interrupted when a mysterious hand kills Kurt overnight. On the following nights, however, Nevenka continues to perceive the presence of Kurt, whose ghost returns in the castle and continues to shake his whip, while their relatives die mysteriously murdered. Is this just a gimmick or has the Baron essentially returned to revenge against those who killed him and to perpetuate the love and violence bond with Nevenka, going even beyond death?



“In this film is evident the irruption of the erotic and the fascinating theme of the death (…), as well as the transgression of rules of the genre itself, represented by the killing, in one of the first sequences, of the “legendary” figure of Christopher Lee, who had henceforth only one brief appearance. But it is necessary above all to underline the ambiguity of the story which undermines the search for an interior coherence that had characterized up to that time the fantastic cinema, by tending to create a kind of cinema in which objective and subjective are inextricably mixed up”.  (Teo Mora, Storia del cinema dell’orrore vol. 2, Fanucci editore, Roma, 1978/2002)