I don’t know what it is about black and white movies, but everyone looks gorgeous and the brown eyes are given an even more soulful beauty that drives me crazy. THE POSSESSED is no exception with its lead, Peter Baldwin (no relation as far as I know), and his close-ups kept my eyes on the screen. Yes, I’m biased when I see someone gorgeous, but his looks fit the Italian mystery/thriller sub-genre known as Giallo, even though this differs in many ways from that category.
Baldwin plays a writer who visits a small village searching for the love of his life. The residents, acting in typical peculiar manners, tell him that she’s killed herself, but the details are just not connecting. The characters aren’t over the top, but it’s clear not all is what it seems. Bernard (Baldwin) stays at an inn where the owner and his daughter know more than what they let on. As the film carries on, it’s apparent that Bernard has a history at the inn and so does his long lost love. Everything unravels both in the present and in a series of flashbacks and dreams.
THE POSSESSED is a mix of different things, but highly intriguing in Italian cinema especially for old school horror fans. An interesting fact is that its original Italian title is LADY OF THE LAKE, which sounds like no relation to its American alternate. Regardless, both titles give a different suggestion as to what kind of movie newbies are in for. While it feels like a subtle supernatural essence, I wouldn’t go as far as calling this a ghost story. More of a mystery that’s not afraid to switch it up with different styles.
Arrow has decided to release this with a classy as fuck looking cover and collectable booklet inside. There are also extensive interviews with the assistant art director makeup up artist. Luigi Bazzoni is one of the directors and comes from an artistic family for which there is a thirty minute documentary on, which is interesting if you dig THE POSSESSED. It’s nice to have retrospectives on creators and movies that don’t already have ten other ones to watch. There’s also a Tim Lucas commentary and a visual essay from a critic. There’s some great photography here, making it even more visually appealing. While this won’t change your life, it’s definitely worth checking out and it may just make a new fan out of you yet.