The Reincarnation of Isabel


Dir: Renato Polselli
Star: Mickey Hargitay, Christa Barrymore, Rita Calderoni, Moschera Consolata

Ever have one of those dreams that makes absolutely no sense at all? That'd be this film, where not only are individual scenes incoherent, but there are shots within them that seem apparent random inserts from elsewhere, or perhaps other movies entirely. Though at first, it's an interesting approach, boy, does it get old fast; the only actual explanation comes right at the end, and by that time, you'll hardly be able to muster even an, "oh, so that's it". Even Redemption seem to have realised this, tacking on an introduction featuring Eileen Daly which babbles on about Nazis...even though there are precisely none to be found in the movie.

Such as it is, the plot concerns Isabella (sic), burned at the stake in the 14th century, for being a witch. And just to be certain, maybe a vampire too. Five hundred years later, those who did the evil deed have all been reincarnated and end up at the local castle, where Satanists are planning to resurrect Isabella in the basement. Maybe. Like I said, explanations aren't of much interest to the writer or director, but it looks as if the 14th century may be bleeding through into the present. I base this on one particularly bizarre scene, that switches between a burning cross at night, and characters during the day saying things like, "Look! A burning cross!". It may just be poor continuity, however. If you dig this kind of non-linear surrealness (or "babbling nonsense", depending on your point of view), you may find Isabel worth your time. The rest of us, though, will likely appreciate exactly why the film was "lost" for 30 years, and wish it had stayed that way.

D-
December 2004


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