La frusta e il corpo (1963)

# 15770 IMDb Not Rated 

La frusta e il corpo (1963

(The Whip and the Body)

taglineThe most deliriously romantic horror picture ever made!

Director: Mario Bava (as John M. Old)

Stars: Christopher Lee, Evelyn Stewart, Carolyn De Fonseca, Luciano Pigozzi, Gustavo De Nardo

Horror, Romance (1h 31min)

Italy Italy, France France

Rated 6.9 after 2,897 votes on 25-May-19.


The ghost of a sadistic nobleman attempts to rekindle his romance with his terrorized, masochistic ex-lover, who is unwillingly engaged to his brother.


Mario Bava (director) Daliah Lavi Christopher Lee Tony Kendall Evelyn Stewart Harriet Medin Gustavo De Nardo

Daliah Lavi (Nevenka), Christopher Lee (Kurt Menliff), Tony Kendall (Christian Menliff), Evelyn Stewart (Katia (as Isli Oberon)), Harriet Medin (Giorgia (as Harriet White)), Gustavo De Nardo (Count Vladimir Menliff (as Dean Ardow)), Jacques Herlin (Priest), Luciano Pigozzi (Losat (as Alan Collins)), Carolyn De Fonseca (Nevenka (voice) (uncredited)), Ted Rusoff (Christian Menliff (voice) (uncredited)), Dan Sturkie (Kurt Menliff (voice) (uncredited)), Mel Welles (Count Vladimir Menliff (voice) (uncredited))

From the same director


Ernesto Gastaldi (story and screenplay) (as Julian Berry), Ugo Guerra (story and screenplay) (as Robert Hugo), Luciano Martino (story and screenplay) (as Martin Hardy)

Produced by

Ferdinando Baldi (associate producer (uncredited)), Joël Lifschutz (co-producer (uncredited)), Federico Magnaghi (producer (uncredited)), Luciano Martino (producer (uncredited)), Elio Scardamaglia (producer (uncredited)), René Thévenet (co-producer (uncredited))



Irresistible and genuine Gothic scares, combined with atmospheric camera-work and breath-taking scenery… Welcome to yet another visual masterpiece directed by the greatest horror genius of all time: Mario Bava! "The Whip and the Body" isn't the man's most mentioned achievement, it's not even in my personal Bava-top 3 and yet I still rated it a solid 9 out of 10. That should give you somewhat an idea of how excellent his total repertoire in fact is. "The Whip and the Body" is a unique film in many ways, but particularly because of the controversial substance it dared to bring forward. Don't forget that the year of release was 1963 and Mario Bava unscrupulously introduces characters with taboo-fetishes like S & M. The story is terrifically set in the 19th century, where Kurt Menliff returns to his eminent family after being banished for several years. The family's hate towards Kurt's vile behavior is only surpassed by their fear and only the gorgeous Nevenka has a secret desire towards his wicked sexual preferences. In a particularly astonishing sequence, he whips her repeatedly (and roughly...) before continuing with making love. Terror overcomes the Menliff family when Kurt is found murdered in his room and when the tormented Nevenka begins to see his appearance in nearly every chamber of the castle. As it usually is the case in Bava's films, the plot contains quite a few holes and illogical moments, but they're totally forgivable if you acknowledge the intensity and power of the wholesome. Especially praiseworthy is Mario Bava's unequaled talent to turn totally natural things into terrifying atmosphere-elements… Blowing wind, pouring rain, footprints covered in mud...all these ordinary things turn into suspicious omens in the hands of this masterful filmmaker. With his skilled cinematographic eye, Bava perfectly knows how to raise an unbearable tension that grabs you by the neck immediately and it doesn't let go until the very last scene fades away. All the other typical Bava-trademarks are clearly present as well, namely an authentically creepy score, a minimum of stylish gore (burning, rotting corpses!!) and – last but not least – a stunning use of color shades. Mario plays with colors like he invented them and this emphasizes the spook-effect even more. "The Whip and the Body" is a more than just a shocking horror film. It's an offbeat love-story, a Gothic poem AND an unsettling horror tale all in one! If you love beautiful cinema, don't miss "The Whip and the Body".

Memorable quotes

Kurt Menliff: [to Nevenka] You haven't changed, I see. You've always loved violence.

2 total 


Most of the cast and crew were required to use English pseudonyms because the producers hoped to fool the intended Italian audience into thinking this movie was produced incognito by a British or American studio, such as Hammer Film Productions or American International Pictures. When Mario Bava was asked by Luciano Martino to use "an old American name", he jokingly took the suggestion to a literal degree by creating his alias "John M. Old".

3 total 



Other titles

La frusta e il corpo ((original title); Spain (DVD title)) • El cuerpo y el látigo (Argentina; Spain) • Der Dämon und die Jungfrau (Austria; West Germany) • Het gegeseld lichaam (Belgium (Flemish title)) • Rêves macabres (Belgium (French title) (video title)) • Drácula, o Vampiro do Sexo (Brazil) • O Chicote e o Corpo (Brazil; Portugal) • The Whip and the Flesh (Canada (English title); USA (alternative title)) • Pisken og kroppen (Denmark) • Le corps et le fouet (France) • Sarka kai mastigio (Greece (transliterated ISO-LATIN-1 title)) • A hús és a test (Hungary) • Night Is the Phantom (Ireland (English title); UK (dubbed version)) • Bicz i cialo (Poland) • Плеть и тело (Soviet Union (Russian title)) • What! (USA (alternative spelling)) • The Whip and the Body (USA; World-wide (English title)) • What (USA (alternative title)) • Der Mörder von Schloß Menliff (West Germany) • Son of Satan • The Body and the Whip



Argentina:16 / Australia:MA15+ / France:18 / France:Unrated / Germany:16 / Germany:12 / Italy:VM18 / Italy:VM14 / United Kingdom:X / United Kingdom:15 / United States:Not Rated / West Germany:18


Vox Films S.p.a. (co-production) (as Vox Film), Leone Film (co-production), Francinor (co-production), Paris Interproductions (PIP) (co-production) (as P.I.P.)


Added on


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