Ricky’s (Michael Lemorine) family owns a castle in the country. He invites a bunch of his friends to spend the weekend there. All together there are five guys and five gals. When they get there they are greeted by a rather stern looking Katherine (Luisa Rivelli). Katherine appears to be the housekeeper. Also on staff is Aldo (Giuseppe Fortis), a sort of slow witted and creepy groundskeeper.
Just as the party is getting started they are interrupted by the sexy but overbearing Serena (Antonella Lualdi). In her wake is Anthony (John Drew Barrymore), an intense and brooding young man. Serena takes over the party and gets everyone dancing to an unusual record. After that she starts playing a rather cruel game she calls “a shattering of illusion”. In the game Serena is out to prove that what people believe they cherish the most is really an illusion and can be taken away from them thereby showing that what they truly value is something more selfish. She says it shows what is really at the core of a person. It’s a way of humiliating a person and showing their true self and their flaws. First she humiliates Charlie (Mario Valdemarin) and his girl Lucy-Ann (Vittoria Prada), and then she humiliates Paul (Joe Atlanta) and his girl Kitty (Jose Greci).
After that Serena has Anthony do his magician’s psychic act and then a small séance. Anthony goes into a trance and among other things predicts that the weekend will end badly. He tells them that what he saw was horrible and advises everyone to leave while there is still time. He tells them that something terrible is about to happen. Anthony leaves but everyone else refuses to go. As Anthony’s predictions begin to come true some of the guests start getting a little jumpy. When Serena is murdered everyone begins to suspect everyone else.
“Death on the Four Poster” AKA “Sexy Party” AKA “Delitto allo specchio” or “Crime in the Mirror” was released in 1964 and was directed by Jean Josipovici and Ambrogio Molteni. It is an early giallo and a horror mystery. It is credited as being the second giallo film after “The Girl Who Knew Too Much” 1963.
Although the film got lots of accolades and many fans I’m afraid I found it slow and quite boring most of the time. At more than half way through it takes forever to get to the main murder. Before that there is about five minutes of opening credits and then everyone is criticizing everyone else. Some thought it was playful banter but I never treated my friends like that.
I also didn’t find much in the way of horror about it. The body count is really low and off screen and there is no blood. Those aspects I didn’t have a problem with since it was early in the genre. I also didn’t care that the dubbing was as bad as the acting. But when you put it all together there wasn’t anything here that I could hold on to as interesting. The only highlight of the movie I saw was a 360 degree pan of the main room of the castle when everyone first gets there. Although the cinematography is decent it’s not enough to keep your attention.
The star of the film is John Barrymore who is in the movie for all of fifteen minutes or so. He is, of course, Drew Barrymore’s dad.