Do you remember those delightfully different Westerns in the 1970’s shot in Spain and Italy. Not only were they enjoyable but they played a role in reviving a languishing genre of film so popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
The horror genre of film has never really languished but the Italian “Dead Bride” is a horror film very much directed toward the English-speaking audience. Most of the actors and technical crew are Italians but nowhere is there an explicit reference to the locale of the film other than a quick reference and possible hint by one of the characters that some Americans will be coming to visit the demon possessed family. The actors speak English and there are no subtitles and thank goodness no dubbing.
The plot is not overly complicated. Alyson (Jennifer Mischiati) and Richard (Cristoph Hülsen) decide to move into the country house of her deceased father who had committed suicide. They have a newly born boy Seth. Alyson’s mother, Susan, had certain demonic difficulties and died when Alyson was 9. Alyson herself has suffered some trauma through a series of nightmares as a child when living in the house. She is on psychiatric meds.
To make a long story short Alyson’s grandfather killed his pregnant first wife and married Susan who gave birth to Alyson. Why is Alyson suffering from these horrible nightmares? Why is all this rather tiresome spooky streak now plaguing the house?
A priest by the name of Father Elbert (Sean James Sutton) spills the beans. Alyson’s father had contacted Father Elbert some 25 years ago for his help with his wife Susan who appeared to be slipping into violent madness. But no she is possessed by Madeus the Lord of Wrath and Vengeance in the underworld. He possesses Susan in a terrifying scene. The Bride through Madeus wants her revenge for her murder and particularly for the murder of her en ventre de sa mere child. Father Elbert says the Bride’s raging spirit can be placated by finding her remains, blessing them and burying them in holy ground.
Seth is kidnapped by the Bride and paranormalist Dave (Douglas Dean) is brought in and sends Alyson on a nail biting and spooky different dimension adventure that raises the film a few notches over the “usual horror film”. Does she find Seth? Just when you might be celebrating a predictable and happy ending, you’ll be blown off your seat and you might be left with your mouth open. Everyone must have forgotten Father Elbert’s edict about what must be done to placate the Bride. Father Elbert was also very clear in saying the curse of the Bride is on the family and not the house.
While this is no “The Exorcist”, “Carrie” or “Strawberry Flavoured Plastic” it is several notches above the plethora of spooky films swirling around the upcoming Halloween season. The cinematography makes it classier than most horror films.
The acting is good throughout with Douglas Dean as the paranormalist being an essential power to push the film to a satisfying conclusion. Be very careful to pay close attention to his final conversation with Alyson particularly his comment about age!
It is written and directed by Francesco Picone.
It is available on VOD.
You can watch the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KyUNGko4nFQ
RKS Film Rating 78/100.