1968, Roger Vadim, Louis Malle, Frederico Fellini, 121 mins.
Three Poe stories by three directors.
Spirits of the Dead was made towards the end of the 1960s vogue for multi-part films from voguish directors. It collects together three Edgar Allen Poe stories with varying degrees of success. Roger Vadim turns Metzergerstein , Poe’s first published story, into a highly amusing riot of Freudian symbolism featuring the leather clad Fonda siblings and a big black stallion. Louis Malle demonstrates a Sadean bent in William Wilson as Alain Delon, plagued by his seemingly omnipresent and omniscient double, subjects Brigitte Bardot to a whipping which is not in the original story. Finally, and most satisfyingly, Fellini offers us Toby Dammit, a funny and deeply disturbing fantasia set in 1960s Rome during which an alcoholic Shakesperean actor, memorably played by Terence Stamp, makes a decidedly unwise wager with the Devil – the patter personified as an unforgettably creepy little girl.