Fashion & Beauty / The Cine File

Spirits of the Dead

Billed as the “Ultimate Orgy of Evil” on its release in 1967, today Spirits of the Dead is more of a macabre cinematic time capsule. Released on Blu-Ray just in time for Halloween, it brings together some giants of European cinema; directors Roger

Billed as the “Ultimate Orgy of Evil” on its release in 1967, today Spirits of the Dead is more of an enchanting cinematic time capsule. Released on Blu-Ray just in time for Halloween, it brings together some giants of European cinema; directors Roger Vadim, Louis Malles and Federico Fellini each adapted one story by Gothic horror master Edgar Allen Poe to create this macabre triptych. Vadim turned the camera on his new bride Jane Fonda and her brother Peter in an erotic tale of rivalry between two aristocratic families, while Louis Malles directed a cigar-smoking Brigitte Bardot and a haunted Alain Delon, driven to madness by a ghostly doppelganger. But Fellini (who replaced Orson Welles at the last minute) outdid both with his satirical, gloriously frenzied piece of film fantasy. Never Bet the Devil Your Head features a ghost-faced Terence Stamp as Toby Dammit, an English actor submerged in drink, drugs and his own celebrity. The devil – in Fellini’s imagining a spectral blonde girl in a white lace dress – follows him to Rome where Dammit is promoting an Italian Western in exchange for a gold Ferrari. It’s a pact that comes to a grisly end in the final few minutes during a spectacular night-drive through the streets of Rome. In today's clip, Dammit’s grip on reality starts to disintegrate during a surreal Italian Oscars ceremony.

Text by Hannah Lack

 

Spirits of the Dead is released by Arrow Films.

Hannah Lack is Film Editor of Dazed & Confused magazine, Literary Editor of AnOther Magazine and Contributing Editor at Nowness.com

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