Fred (Andres Resino) is riding his motorcycle through the countryside on his way to Soren, when he is cut off by a rude driver, Mr. Porter (Franco Fantasia).  Further down the road is a woman, Laura (Lisa Leonardi), hitchhiking.  Both men stop to pick her up, but she gets into Porter’s car.  When Fred next catches up with them, Laura is at a pub and Porter is outside having chains put on his car tires.  Laura tells Fred that Porter is getting fresh with her so Fred offers to give her a lift on his bike the rest of the way.

Also on the road are Mr. and Mrs. Tremont (Yelena Samarina and Eduardo Fajardo).  Tremont is an attorney who works for a wealthy heiress, Elsa (Analia Gade).  They are on their way to see Elsa about a document that her husband was to bring home.  Elsa’s husband, Ernest (Alberto Dalbes) is having an affair with a young woman named Ellen (Ingrid Garbo).  Ernest calls Elsa from the same pub where Fred and Laura were having a meal. To tell her he will be late. 

Later Elsa gets another call from Ernest telling her that he is having car trouble and needs her to come pick him up.  Tremont and his wife follow Elsa hoping to get the signed document and go on their way.  As night falls, a thick dense fog lays itself over the area.  Fred, Laura, Porter, and the Tremonts end up lost in a maze of tiny roads with no visibility.  Everyone either gets lost or ends up crashing in the fog.  The road ends at an abandoned cemetery.  Fred and Laura hear screams coming from the cemetery.  When they investigate, they find Elsa.  She is a little banged up but otherwise OK.  They make their way around the cemetery and see a light in the distance.  The light is coming from an old mansion.  The mansion belongs to the last relative of the Clinton family, Marta (Ida Galli AKA Evelyn Stewart).  In the house they find Mr. Porter and the Tremonts.

Marta explains to her guests that the small village that once was part of the area had been abandoned when a plague of some kind killed many of the villagers.  Some believed that a vampire was responsible for the deaths.  She also tells them about the former owner of the house, Marta’s aunt, who is said to have been a witch.  The aunt was killed in a car accident with her chauffer.  It is said that they haunt the cemetery.  The stage is now set for murder and mayhem but is the strange happenings the result of monsters, imagination or is there a human behind the sinister goings on?     

“Murder Mansion” AKA “Maniac Mansion” AKA “La Mansion De La Niebla” AKA “When Martha Screamed from the Grave” was released in 1972 and was directed by Francisco Lara Polop.  It is an Italian Spanish horror thriller with some gothic influences as well as a few old dark house elements.  It is also a giallo. 

I liked it more than I expected to.   The plot was confusing, but the atmosphere was pure horror movie.   The film contains some flashbacks that hint at some incestuous goings on between Elsa and her father, played by Jorge Rigaud, that adds come confusion to the plot.  There is also a lot of nothing going on in parts but for some reason I was glued to the movie wanting to know what the mystery was and how it all fit together.  It’s not a great horror movie or a great giallo but it is captivating in its own way.  There are parts that don’t make a lot of sense, but it was still a lot of fun to watch.

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