Directed by: Riccardo Freda
Actors: Camille Keaton, Tony Isbert and Máximo Valverde
Also known as: Trágica ceremonia en villa Alexander, Tragic Ceremony, Tragic Experience at Villa Alexander, Estratto Dagli Archivi Segreti Della Polizia Di Una Capitale Europea
Description: A bunch of young people get stranded at a villa in the middle of nowhere in a thunderstorm (including Camille Keaton, from “I Spit On Your Grave”). They’re invited in and fed & allowed to stay, although Jane (Keaton) is given a little something to numb her out, since she’s meant to be the guest of honor at a Satanic ritual of some kind. Oops. However, her friends rescue her but not until after all kind of murder and mayhem takes place at this ritual. They do manage to get away but one wonders later if they were actually alone. They flee back to the home of Bill, but his mother says the rooms aren’t made up so they take off for his father’s country house, where they hole up and try to decide what to do, since Bill was responsible for killing a woman at the ritual (in self-defense, but still…). However, one by one, all the men begin to die mysteriously. And Jane seems to figure in this somewhere. There’s some good moments to this, and the overall atmosphere is rather strange and full of dread at times. However, some of it’s just a little ridiculous, like the blue tint to one’s skin when he’s found dead, it’s “Dawn of the Dead” blue & one expects him to rise up and eat the flesh of the living. The ending is rather strange but there’s a rather lame explanation for what’s taking place. Still though, it’s a worthwhile and rather obscure little horror flick that has it’s moments, for the right audience. 7 out of 10.
Review: Typical later day Freda with elements from his earlier elegant classics combined with new delirious nonsense. Call me crazy but I prefer “Murder Obsession” (1981) over “The Horrible Dr. Hichcock” (1962) any day and have seen Tragic Ceremony at least half dozen times. The ceremony scene itself is one of the weirdest moments of Italian trash cinema. Freda recycles many places and character names from his earlier films – Villa Alexander for example already appeared in “Double Face” (1969). Both films also have a scene where one of the characters wanders around what is supposed to be an empty villa only to find an uninvited quest taking a bath. What is the exact meaning of these references to his past films I have no idea.
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