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Lamberto Bava's Directorial Debut Macabre (1980)

So after my kind words before about Lamberto Bava not being properly recognized as a director, I may have to retract.

Not really, but his movie Macabre – his directorial debut – is less than thrilling to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie itself is odd and deals with a very weird, somewhat true if the credits are correct, story of a woman who experiences some major traumas in her life that lead her to be less than stable in the mental department.

Sounds better than it is.

Let me back this up a bit.

At the beginning of the movie we are introduced to Jane Baker, a married woman with two children who has taken up having an affair while her husband works during the day.

Jane’s son is oblivious to this but her daughter, Lucy, is obviously aware or at least suspicious of her mother’s whereabouts during the day when their father works.

One day after Jane’s husband leaves for the day, she decides to meet her lover for a morning rendezvous leaving the children to be attended by the yard man or whoever else may be present.

Jane arrives at an apartment she is renting in a house run by a lady and her blind son.

When she gets there we are treated to the most awkward scene of the old lady trying to bathe her blind son.

Seriously, this fella is like 35.

Jane doesn’t even think much of this when she sees it.

The day I see a woman scrubbing her 35 year old son in the tub…well…I donno…I’ll get put off I guess…I got nothing else really." class="photoborder" />

So once in her apartment, (they call them apartments in the movie but it’s just rooms in a masve house) Jane is getting all ready for her man to show up and she receives a call.

It’s her daughter mentioning how the meetings are going.

Jane says never to call her here and hangs up.

A few scenes later and we see Lucy eyeing up her poor bother outde.

I must mention, Lucy has the makings of a masterful uni-brow.

Jesus, her two eyes brows look like a sock on her forehead.

So anyway, Lucy runs the bath and calls her little brother up to play with a toy boat.

Once he’s there Lucy throws her brother into the tub and drowns him.

It can only be speculated that she did this to get back at her mother and maybe defend her father.


Jane’s later mental deterioration proves that it must run in the family.

So after receiving the news that her son has drowned, Jane has a freak out and gets her lover to rush her home.

During the trip, the car loses control and a metal beam smashes into the car and removing her lovers head in the meantime. Jane ends up in a mental hospital as a result.

I guess those two events happening in the span of a few minutes would make me lose my mind too.

Released a year later, Jane returns to the house with her apartment as she’s no longer allowed to see her husband or daughter.

Doesn’t seem like she wants to anyway as later when her husband and daughter vit, she’s less than enthused.

The blind son now runs the house.

Thankfully his creepy mom is dead.

Damn, did I just approve of someone’s mom being dead?

Yep that’s how I am.

Jane carries on living in the apartment with some strange behavior.

She seems to be carrying on as if her lover was still alive.

She starts being overly strange and even goes so far as to put a lock on her fridge.

Robert, the blind boy….man I guess, is becoming infatuated to the uninterested Jane.

Jane is busy pretending everything is normal and her lover still vits daily.

At this point of the movie I was a little confused.

It was anything but a horror, more of a character study.

A character’s decent into madness I guess.

This is milar to maybe a Polanski movie.

Generally, his movies aren’t really horror movies but they are strange character studies.

Speaking of Polanski, I’m generally not a fan.

I felt very let down by Rosemary’s Baby when I finally saw it but I’ve been keen on seeing it again.

I’ve warmed up to the “it’s not the outcome but the ride getting there” motif that Polanski uses.

I just remember being really bored by Rosemary’s Baby but I’m going to give it another shot soon.

I’ve also picked up Repulon recently which I’ve yet to see.

Maybe that will be next on my radar.

Like anyone cares about my radar….

Anyway, I must mention here that other than a bit of gore-ish scenes at the start, there’s nothing here in the direction category that is a stand out.

It’s all mediocre at best.

There’s no personal touch or creative feel to it.

It’s all mple sets and mple shots .

But I won’t get too down on Bava, this was his directorial debut after all.

Although it’s true, he never became a vionary, he just made some awesome movies like the first two Demons and A Blade In The Dark.

The whole mid-section of this movie is so clunky and boring.

The big reveal isn’t that big of a reveal.

If you didn’t clue in by now what was going on then maybe you should stick to low brow movies.

Bacally, Jane has somehow got her lovers decapitated head and is keeping it in her freezer and carrying on a relationship with it.

milar to Psycho but much less entertaining.

Robert is the first to catch on.

Yes the blind guy figures out she is having a relationship with a decapitated.

Robert calls Jane’s ex-husband and tells him what’s going on but he’s apathetic to the tuation.

Hearing in on the phone call is Jane’s daughter Lucy.

Lucy goes to her mother’s place and tricks Robert into thinking she’s not there.

She sees the head and decides to play a trick on her mother.

The next night her, Jane and Robert have supper together where Lucy slips the severed ear of her lover into Jane’s soup.

This sets off a chain of events that leads Jane to drowning her daughter and attacking Robert.

Robert attacks Jane and pushes her into an oven where she is badly burned.

Robert then goes and tries to find the head of her lover only to be....get ready for it....attacked by the severed head.

Yep that’s how this pile of shit ends.

It gives some stupid description at the end saying that when Robert was found no cause of death could be determined.

Come.... the fuck.... on.

That’s the best you guys could come up with?


Wrap Up: Being a fan of Italian cinema I was assuming this would be good.

Especially being based on real events.

This movie is so slow and lumbering.

It would have fit a 30 minute format much better. Like an episode of Tales From The Darkde or something.

All the scenes outde of the first and last 5 minutes are dreadfully boring.

If you didn’t see what was coming then again, you shouldn’t watch good movies.

Stick to Transformers.

Stuff that you don’t need to think about to figure out.

Everything in this movie pretty much amounts to nothing.

I won’t be watching this one again anytime soon.

Direction - 3/10 - So much more could have been done here.

I felt like I was watching a bad TV movie.

Nothing inspiring at all. Pacing: - 2/10 - This one clunks like a square wheel.

Everything is so boring after the 5 minute mark.

At 87 minutes, it’s way too long. Effects - 4/10 - Nothing big.

Amateur but I’ve seen way worse. Performances - 7/10 - The guy playing Robert, the blind guy, did a great job.

He never once seems like he’s breaking character.

I even felt bad for him several times.

Bernice Stegers was really good in the role.

Her decent in insanity was well portrayed.

Surpring she didn’t do much with her career. Script - 3/10 - So boring.

Might have been entertaining in a 30 minute format but still, probably not.

Overall - 3.5 / 10 - Skip it.

Alternate artwork:

Asmodeus Friday 9/28/2012 at 01:57 PM | 96728
This movie sounds ok..but I am confung this movie with another movie, also called Macabre...and that plot is even cker...a woman gets stalked and chased by a cut off hand..yes's like Thing from the Adams Family had it's own story here. It's a B-movie from the early 80's and the hand is very laughable to see jumping through a window or out of a box. The Macabre movie mentioned here above, sounds more interesting.
UberJason78 Friday 9/28/2012 at 07:40 PM | 96731
It sounds way more interesting than it is.

Although, I'm now intrigued by the movie you mentioned.

Do you have a link or anything to some info about it.

I searched but can't seem to turn anything up.
Asmodeus Monday 10/01/2012 at 11:44 AM | 96775