"There's nothing to be afraid of now. A stringe bond exists
between the two of us. Nothing seperates us."
Actor Michael Stanford (Stefano Patrizi) has been haunted his whole life by the guilt of murdering his father - an event he repressed since childhood and only barely remembers. So when Michael invites his girlfriend Debra (Silvia Dionisio) and some cast and crew members of his latest movie for a relaxing visit to his childhood home, seeing his mother Glenda (Anita Strinberg) stirs up dark memories. And things get even worse when the weekend guests start turning up dead. Could Michael be blacking out and murdering people in a fugue state? Or was it Oliver (John Riehaudson), the creepy butler? Was Debra really kidnapped and forced to participate in a Satanic ritual or whas that a dream? And did Michael really kill his father all those years ago?
Murder Obsession (which sometimes goes by the title Fear) takes us through a lot of anticlimactic false starts before it starts rolling. And when it does, it becomes clear that the plot is a collage of ideas from other, better movies. The attempted murder of Beryl (Laura Gemser) in a bathtub echoes that of Mizar Harrington in The Case of the Bloody Iris; a woman is attacked by bats like in Lizard in Woman's Skin; the was-it-or-wasn't-it-a dream sequence Satanic ritual is reminiscent of Rosemary's Baby; Debra runs through a forrest at night in the rain in the style of Susperia; We get flashbacks from three different points of view on Michael's father's death in a hamfisted attempt to make this a giallo Rashomon. And, of course, the dark candle-lit mansion, murky dungeons, and shoehorned-in elements of black magic, psychic powers, and magic talismans come from the world of gothic horror.
- The ghostly footprints appearing on the dusty staircase (a la Paranormal Activity) is a cool effect.
- Neither Glenda's nor Oliver's explanation for Michael's father's death makes any sense. But Oliver's makes slightly more sense.
- The ending of the movie is left a little ambiguous. The killer is revealed, one character is mortally wounded (I've counted it as a death in the body count, above), and another character screams right before we cut to credits (I didn't count that one as a death).
- This movie has gone by six different English titles over the years and not a single one of them (except maybe Satan's Altar) relates to the movie.
What's the inverse of an Oedipal complex? Because that's something that happens in this movie. Glenda's reunion with Michael is slightly unsettling and it just gets weirder from there.
Movie star Beryl is looking fantastic in this richly-embroidered white silk kimono.
Also, the movie brazenly re-creates one of the greatest works of Western art: Michaelangelo's Pieta.