Macabre (Macabro) AKA Frozen Terror (1980)

Once she kept a lover on the side. But that's nothing compared to what she's keeping in the freezer.
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Macabre (Macabro) - Once she kept a lover on the side. But that's nothing compared to what she's keeping in the freezer.

Lamberto Bava's directorial debut, Macabre (Macabro) AKA Frozen Terror, is a beautiful romance story about illicit love affairs, unrequited devotion, tragedy, child murder, child murderers, necrophilia, and blind people dropping the soap. It would be impossible to do this work of perverse sinister art justice without giving away the surprise so if you are not a fan of spoilers then maybe come back later when you have seen it.

Bava takes a plot full of romantic struggles and a sordid, passionate love triangle and combines it with the personal struggles of a blind man, then dusts the top with a heavy layer of twisted morbidity which allows a literal redefinition of the concept of a head fuck in a truly Jane Austen-esque interpretation of the phrase. A prevalent concept in Italian horror is murderous and remorseless children and murderous and remorseless murder of children and Macabre has them both plus the addition of the murderous child being too cleverly demented for her own good and totally unable to cope with living within a broken family unit.

Surprisingly the child kills and killers take second fiddle to the main plot which revolves around an adulterous Jane Baker (played by Bernice Stegers, a British actress more famous for her role in Xtro and as stunt double for Cherie Blair's) and her inability to cope with the loss of her forbidden love in a random and bloody car accident and the loss of her son in a bathtub non-accident on the same day. Undeterred by the death she leaves her husband and continues her affair in the lodgings of her ex-current-lover. Fortunately she shares these lodgings with a blind landlord who repairs trumpets and doesn't believe in freezing food, unfortunately said landlord is looking for love and he only has fingers for Jane.. but she only has eyes for Fred "The Head" Kellerman.

Things get further complicated when the landlord, Robert Duval (Stanko Molnar) gets suspicious of Jane's late night orgasms and tries to find her porno stash, when he discoverers that his freezer compartment has been padlocked for the last year he gets a raging clue about the gruesome happenings in the apartment up his stairs. Time for kiddie killer Lucy to fuck up her mother's hopes getting any more head from Fred as she overhears Robert trying to explain what he thinks is going on to Jane's ex-husband. Jane's former lover doesn't want to hear but Lucy does and she concocts a cunning plan to expose her mother's morbid fascination with Fred's icy tongue.

Macabre is a very twisted concept portrayed in a wholly believable manner with convincing portrayals of the perverse characters in a perverted situation, well, convincing until the last few seconds. The even more perverted twist to the story is that it is based on a true story found in a newspaper clipping by the movies producer. The movie is set in New Orleans, filmed in the most part in Italy with the lead role being played by a British actress with a rather convincing Southern drawl, these factors combined with the overuse of porno music and the interspersing of sex acts with murder acts makes for a captivating oddity of cinema and is a more than valiant debut for Lamberto Bava.

This movie is a hidden gem that was not even popular enough to be banned in the UK during the Video Nasties fiasco but would have sat nicely alongside many other titles in the list. Many aspects of the movie are worthy of it being noticed, apart from some of the usual flaws found in Italian horror of the era, flaws which usually add to the charm and the quaintness of depictions of murder and necrophilia.
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