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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

The Whip and the Body

(La frusta e il corpo)
1963 | ItalyFrance | 87 min | More...
A still from The Whip and the Body (1963)
C+: 3 stars (out of 5)
on Sat Aug 29, 2015

Any film starring Christopher Lee as a ghost, whipping a half-nude woman as she moans in ecstasy can’t be all bad.

The Whip and The Body opens with Lee on horseback approaching a large ocean front castle. He plays Kurt, a young nobleman returning to his ancestral castle after some time away.

We learn Kurt has something of a notorious reputation and the castle is full of people wishing to do him harm. Soon Kurt is dead under mysterious circumstances, and his ghost is stalking the castle, claiming those who might have killed him.

There’s also Nevenka, once Kurt’s fiancée, now married to his younger brother. She claims to hate Kurt, but her reactions to his whip say otherwise.

Every frame in The Whip and The Body drips gothic atmosphere. The castle interiors are all blue-green hues mixed with inky shadows across stone walls and floors. Think of the old Universal Monster sets brought to glorious technicolor life.

But where those pictures may have hinted or implied sexual overtones, The Whip and the Body is overt. Kurt flogs Nevenka and she likes it. By injecting a liberal dose of sex and violence, the film rejuvenates the haunted castle story.

The film’s only misstep lies in it’s overbearing, generic score. It sounds like something out of a soap opera, not the eerie, haunting soundtrack the film deserves.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Sat Aug 29, 2015 via Shudder