It doesn’t matter whether Bava is at the helm of a gore-fest such as Kill, Baby, Kill (1966) or a Sci-Fi adventure such as Planet of the Vampires (1965), Bava knows how to make a gorgeous film. He lights his sets in a very controlled way that reminds me of Alfred Hitchcock. His attention to set detail, camera angles and overall scene composition is impeccable. The Whip and the Body is no exception to this rule. It’s a supernatural thriller that is almost bloodless but pure Bava through and through.
The story revolves around a sadistic 19th century nobleman who was murdered long ago. Now his ghost haunts and torments the current residents of his castle. Christopher Lee plays the nobleman in question. He’s great in this role and plays it with finesse and subtlety. In a way, his character is a 1963 version of Pinhead from Hellraiser because he loves to mix pleasure with pain.
The main target of his torment is a gorgeous Italian actress by the name of Daliah Lavy who lights up the screen in every scene she’s in. She has a commanding presence and wonderfully expressive eyes that can convey sheer terror without her saying a word.
If you’re a fan of Bava this definitely needs to be on your list. If you like supernatural thrillers with an artistic flair, this one will fit the bill nicely.
RATING: Very Good.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.