In ‘Family Tradition’, an old family secret emerges to wreak its vengeance, whilst ‘The 7 Doors’ sees a corporate worker explore the dark recesses of her mind. ‘Hexit Strategy’ is an hilarious, if very short, examination of our seeming inability to follow instructions and ‘Light Signs’ delivers a straight-up alien invasion story. With ‘The Inferno’ finishing us off with the tale of a man who faces the seven deadly sins in his attempt to overcome the guilt of his girlfriend's suicide.
The performances – much like the characters – are a bit of a mixed bag: some are good, others are a little underwhelming, rarely are they great. Funnily enough, thanks to the tongue-in-cheek nature of the film, this inconsistency seldom had the negative effect it should have had. I simply found myself going along with it and enjoying its quirky characters. And, perhaps, that’s the point?
But whilst consistency isn’t the film’s strongest feature, it’s interesting to note the one consistent element in it is also one of the best. I’m talking, of course, about the frame narrative element.
Tawnya Bass’ brilliantly entertaining turn as Lady Belladonna is aptly supported by Donny Prosise’s overtly camp minion, Hitler or Addy; while Rafael Medina appears in a wonderfully funny parody of director #EdWood, who shows up completely in drag and bemoaning the work of film #critics. These characters, the dialogue shared between them and the subtle nods and jokes to their real, historic selves had me grinning and laughing far more than I care to admit.
Clunky editing (particularly during the frame story section) and a flawed script (except during the frame story section) only serve to highlight the film’s other irregularities; ultimately, imparting an amateurish look and feel and occasionally causing the delivery of some pretty awkward lines. By contrast, Enrique Ponce’s score is a mood-setting wonder which remains solid throughout.
Themes of #grief, #regret, #consumerism, #traditionalism and more underlie the #supernatural facets of the film’s five tales. And while those more profound ideas are there, the way in which they are arrived at isn’t always clear. Still, the filmmakers deserve due praise for having that ambition and refusing to simply regurgitate the same tired and overused stories we’ve seen a hundred times before.
Lady Belladonna’s Tale From the Inferno certainly has its fair share problems. However, there are still buckets full of entertainment value here. It’s fresh enough to arouse the interest of die-hard fans of the #horror #anthology genre and even has enough appeal to titillate some of the sceptics out there. But moreover, Lady Belladonna is just a marvellous piece of #escapism.