Execrable: Tragic Ceremony

Tragic Ceremony (1972)
Directed by Riccardo Freda
Written by Mario Bianchi, José Gutiérrez Maesso, Leonardo Martín
Produced by José Gutiérrez Maesso
Starring Camille Keaton, Tony Isbert, Máximo Valverde, Luigi Pistilli, Luciana Paluzzi, Irina Demick, José Calvo, Giovanni Petrucci
Veteran genre director Freda despised the incumbrance of helming this dismal, fifth-rate horror trash as much as any sensible audience would its screening. Four vacationing layabouts seek shelter from a shopworn nocturnal downpour at a patrician's estate, where one of them (Keaton) is rescued by her companions from a ritual sacrifice during the householder's black mass, after which its participants inexplicably massacre one another. The quartet's escape can't shake a possessive malediction that ensures their doom and any viewer's supreme boredom. Shoddily shot by a filmmaker who didn't care to and starring a photogenic cast who apply their minimal effort, this poky, pontifical pablum wallows in stark illogic its every minute with a plot distinguished primarily by its innumerable holes and asinine circuity, and plentiful vacuous prattle that only substantiates the protagonists' niggling idiocy. Keaton and Paluzzi were seldom so ravishing before or since, but they're squandered in prototypic capacities as Haunted Victim and Preternatural Malfeasant, respectively. Even Stelvio Cipriani's soppy score and Carlo Rambaldi's amateurish effects are among the worst of their otherwise brilliant careers. This picture's a choice selection for amateur riffing, but represents a glaring nadir for all involved...and none so much as the genre of gothic horror.

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