02 August 2014

The House That Screamed (1969)
99 min.
Directed by Chicho Ibáñez-Serrador.
With Lilli Palmer, Cristina Galbó, John Moulder-Brown, Mary Maude, Cándida Losada, Tomás Blanco, María Elena Arpón, Juana Azorín.
Outstanding on every level, this Spanish slasher is a must see.

A stern disciplinarian, Mme Fourneau (Palmer) heads a boarding school for troubled girls ages 15-21.

So it's really nothing out of the ordinary when 18 year-old Teresa (Galbó) arrives on campus and enrolls as a new pupil.

But Teresa soon discovers that something is wrong at the college - lately, several girls have disappeared attempting to 'escape.'

Consequently, the place is locked down like a prison ward.

Yet, inexplicably, girls continue to go missing...permanently.

Originally titled La Residencia, this exceptional horror hails from the same director as Who Can Kill a Child? (1975) - and the results here are no less amazing.

An early slasher-mystery hybrid (which hints at such later classics as Bob Clark's Black Christmas and Dario Argento's Suspiria), this schoolgirl splatter is everything terror filmmaking should be: stylishly directed, leanly plotted and disturbingly secretive.

Buoyed by a commanding performance from Palmer, supported by beautiful cinematography and featuring a lush score from Waldo de los Ríos, this is required viewing.

Kudos for good performances should also go to Galbó (who appeared in 1972's Solange) and Maude as the ultra bitch Irene.

Highlights include Isabel's slow motion murder in the greenhouse...and that oh-so-powerful grindhouse climax.

Also known as The Finishing School.

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