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Massimo Pupillo
Erika Blanc, Paul Muller, Michel Forain
Writing Credits:
Giovanni Grimaldi

A young woman is killed by her treacherous husband and returns as a vengeful ghost.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Italian LPCM Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $99.95
Release Date: 10/18/2022
Available Only As Part of 4-Movie “Gothic Fantastico” Collection

• Audio Commentary with Film Historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
• “Vengeance From Beyond” Introduction
• “The Grudge” Visual Essay
• “When We Were Vampires” Featurette
• “Born to Be a Villain” Featurette
• “The Pupillo Tapes” Featurette
• Original Cineromanzo
• Trailer
• Image Gallery


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Lady Morgan's Vengeance [Blu-Ray] (1965)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 21, 2022)

While Hammer in England and AIP in the US cranked out Gothic horror flicks in the 1960s, they didn’t function in a vacuum. Italian filmmakers followed the same paths, and 1965’s Lady Morgan’s Vengeance offers an example.

Wealthy Lady Susan Blackhouse (Barbara Nelli) loves Pierre Brissac (Michel Forain), but Lord Harold Morgan (Paul Muller) wants her for himself. When Pierre gets thrown overboard on a ship and presumed dead, Susan feels she lacks options other than to marry Harold.

Now Lady Morgan, this doesn’t go well for Susan, as after a prolonged gaslighting campaign, Harold and his faithful servants provoke her to kill herself. Death doesn’t end Susan’s existence, though, and she returns as a ghost to punish Harold and Lillian.

There’s your vengeance! At least no one can accuse the film of false advertising.

Though viewers might feel tempted to go down that path, as Vengeance takes its own sweet time to get there. Even at a mere 86 minutes, the film seems awfully drawn-out and without the content it needs to adequately fill that running time.

At its core, Vengeance tells a simple and straightforward narrative with obvious nods to 1944’s Gaslight. However, Vengeance muddies the waters with an awkward story and clumsy execution.

Part of the problem stems from the manner in which it telegraphs too many beats. The film lacks tension because it makes too much too obvious.

A better-constructed film would leave some question about the goals/motives of Harold and company, and it might lead us to think Susan suffered from mental illness. However, Vengeance gives us a strictly black and white plot without any nuance, and it becomes less compelling as a result.

This leads us into a slow movie, but not one that uses its time to build tension. We simply await the inevitable with impatience.

Don’t expect much payoff when the plot does finally thicken, though. Some predictable segments ensue and the whole shebang ends with a whimper.

We can find the bones of a good horror-thriller here. Unfortunately, Vengeance fails to find the terror at its heart so it winds up as sluggish and dull.

The Disc Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus B

Lady Morgan’s Vengeance appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect an erratic presentation.

Print flaws turned into the biggest issue here, as I saw more than a few instances of specks, spots, blotches, lines, tears and marks. However, these didn’t impact the film on a relentless basis, so plenty of scenes emerged unscathed.

Nonetheless, the prevalence of source defects in general created distractions. At least I saw no issues with jagged edges, moiré effects or edge haloes, and grain felt natural.

Sharpness usually worked fine. Some softness crept in at times, but most of the film offered reasonable to good delineation.

Blacks occasionally felt a bit crushed, but they usually offered appealing depth, and low-light shots provided generally positive clarity. The print flaws made this a “C” image but it wasn’t a washout.

No one should anticipate much from a nearly 60-year-old Italian soundtrack. Indeed, the movie’s LPCM monaural audio seemed acceptable but no better.

Like virtually all Italian films of this era, the actors looped the dialogue, and that meant the lines tended to sound stiff and somewhat unnatural. Nonetheless, speech remained intelligible and without major issues.

Music and effects suffered from tinny, shrill qualities at times but nonetheless seemed adequate given the material’s age and origins. Again, this mix didn’t do much right, but it also didn’t flop.

We find a mix of extras here, and these open with an audio commentary from film historian Alexandra Heller-Nicholas. She provides a running, screen-specific look at cast and crew, themes and interpretation, genre history and connections, and related domains.

While Heller-Nicholas offers some good background for the history of Italian Gothic films, we don't get a lot of insights about Vengeance itself. Add a surprising amount of dead air and this becomes a spotty commentary.

Called Vengeance From Beyond, “Italian film devotee” Mark Thompson Ashworth delivers a four-minute, 38-second introduction to the film. He gives us basics about the movie in what seems more like a brief overview than a true “introduction” – especially since he includes some spoilers - but he adds a few decent notes.

A visual essay entitled The Grudge spans 21 minutes, 29 seconds and brings notes from film historian Kat Ellinger. She discusses the Italian horror genre and its cousins as well as Gothic domains and female-centered stories. Ellinger bites off a lot for a fairly short piece, but she adds some good insights.

When We Were Vampires gives us a 24-minute, four-second interview with actor Erika Blanc. She covers her experiences on the Vengeance shoot and other aspects of her career. Blanc provides some good notes for much of the piece but she tends to go off-topic in less than fascinating ways toward the end.

Via Born to Be a Villain, we find a 20-minute, three-second chat with actor Paul Morgan. He looks at his childhood interest in acting and his pursuit of that career and some experiences.

The Vengeance shoot doesn’t become part of those recollections, though, as Morgan admits he remembers literally nothing about that production. Morgan’s inability to discuss the film at hand limits the utility of this chat, but I admire his honestly, and some of his other stories bring value.

The Pupillo Tapes provides a 20-minute, 16-second audio interview with director Massimo Pupillo. Recorded in 1993, the filmmaker tells us about some of his cinematic works.

Literally none of these comments relate to Vengeance. However, Pupillo proves frank and interesting as he covers his time as a filmmaker.

With The Complete Cineromanzo, we get a comic book-style adaptation of Vengeance. This uses stills from the film along with speech bubbles to cover the story. Given it’s all in Italian, it becomes less than useful for English speakers, but it acts as a cool addition nonetheless.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the disc concludes with an image gallery. It presents eight advertising elements.

As a mix of Gaslight and Gothic horror, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance comes with a potentially involving mix of elements. However, the final product lacks tension or drama. The Blu-ray comes with erratic but generally acceptable picture and audio as well as a mix of bonus materials. Aspects of the film threaten to ignite but the end result lacks heft.

Note that as of September 2022, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance can be found only as part of a four-film “Gothic Fantastico” collection. The set also includes The Blancheville Monster, The Third Eye and The Witch.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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