Tragic Ceremony Riccardo Freda

Tragic Ceremony Riccardo Freda
Note to travellers: never trust a prospective host who’s backlit. This is the lesson learned the hard way by some hapless young people who take shelter in an enormous mansion only to find themselves at the centre of devil worship and worse. The foursome (including I Spit on Your Grave’s Camille Keaton) enter the Euro-Horror canon by first engaging in frolicsome foreshadowing that can only be shattered by tragedy, then fleeing the house before Keaton can be sacrificed, then getting fingered for the Manson-esque massacre that inexplicably erupts upon their departure. That last bit is a nice touch, narratively speaking, but too much of Tragic Kingdom is silly: that massacre truly is one for the books, the casual nudity of the lone female lead is not at all integrated into the narrative and the mysterious deaths after our heroes’ flight are just as ludicrous as the nightmare from which they’ve escaped. Keaton is surprisingly intense (or as surprisingly intense as one can be while dubbed in Italian) and the cinematography is certainly up to scratch, but that’s all that can be said for it. Apparently, this is one of those grindhouse gems that have long circulated in bad dupes across the cult community, and perhaps its triumphant debut on DVD will cause rejoicing in certain quarters. But its removal from "damned film” status might also take the air out of finding it and watching it; the movie is a little gimmicky, slightly doom-laden and mostly nothing special. The only extras are an interview with Keaton, who proves very enthusiastic about her career in schlock, and the trailer. (Dark Sky)