THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL is a no-holds-barred S&M nudie-gorefest from Italy (made in 1972, but not shown in the US until a 1998 video release). The English translation of the original title--RITES, BLACK MAGIC AND SECRET ORGIES IN THE 13TH-CENTURY--tells you all that you really need
American Jack Nelson (Mickey Hargitay) buys an ancient castle in Europe and throws an engagement party there for his Italian stepdaughter Laureen (Rita Calderoni). During the party, several of the virginal female guests are lured to the vaults in the cellar by some Satanists, where they are
sacrificed as part of demonic rituals conducted to revive the corpse of a 400-year-old witch named Isabella (Rita Calderoni), who looks exactly like Laureen. After Laureen is captured by the Satanists, she's rescued by her fiance, and the Satanists turn into vampires and attack the party guests.
Nelson reveals that he is actually the reincarnated Count Dracula and that Isabella was his lover who was burned at the stake in the 13th-century. The local villagers discover the vampires and destroy them, and Nelson is killed when Laureen finds the coffin containing the original Dracula and
drives a stake through his heart.
THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL is a lurid and unexpurgated sex-and-sadism gothic fantasy that's rife with shackled naked virgins having their hearts and eyes ripped out, Satanists drinking human blood, lustful vampires running amok, flashbacks to witches being burned on the cross, and a woman being
buried alive in a coffin and eaten by bats. Working under the pseudonym Ralph Brown, director Renato Polselli indulges in an eclectic mise-en-scene that can only be described as minimalist hysteria, utilizing flashing psychedelic colors, smoke machines, and slice-and-dice rapid-cuts to the
accompaniment of orgasmic moans and an incessant drum beat, in an attempt to camouflage the skimpy production values and limbo sets which are worthy of a dinner theater stage show. The story is fairly incoherent, freely cutting back and forth between the present and the various character's former
lives in the 13th century with no logic whatsoever, and the acting is as miserable as usual for the genre, with the former Mr. Universe, Mickey Hargitay (and the widower of Jayne Mansfield), proving to be the most miscast and least frightening Count Dracula in movie history. Though Polselli lacks
the inherent cinematographic skill and resourcefulness of his countryman Mario Bava, who could create low-budget horror classics with similarly meager means, he stages the demonic and sexually depraved events with a lip-smacking glee and prurient gusto which certainly keeps one watching in dazed
astonishment. (Graphic violence, extensive nudity.)
Cast & Details See all »
- Released: 1972
- Rating: NR
- Review: THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL is a no-holds-barred S&M nudie-gorefest from Italy (made in 1972, but not shown in the US until a 1998 video release). The English translation of the original title--RITES, BLACK MAGIC AND SECRET ORGIES IN THE 13TH-CENTURY--tell… (more)