Blu-ray Review: Mill of the Stone Women


When you see programmes charting the history of horror cinema, all too often they concentrate almost exclusively on films emanating from the English-speaking world. Take Italy, for instance. A country which has been responsible for some of the most iconic and memorable moments in genre cinema. The likes of Dario Argento’s Supsiria, Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and Mario Bava’s Blood and Black Lace are all eye-catching and unforgettable. The first Italian horror filmed is colour was Mill of the Stone Women.

Hans von Arnam (Pierre Brice), a young inquisitive art student, arrives at a pier on a remote island in Holland. He’s here to write an academic thesis on the work of Professor Wahl (Herbert Böhme). The eminent and mysterious art scholar and sculpture has created a carousel of women in the throes of death. The young man becomes fascinated by his subject and particularly his beautiful and strange daughter, Elfie (Scilla Gabel).

Mill of the Stone Women is an eerie and unnerving gothic fantasy which toys with the inevitability of life and death. The cast do a great job of maintaining a tense and febrile atmosphere. We’re kept on our toes by Giorgio Ferroni’s assured direction and a cast who all play their part. The narrative device is unusual but slowly reveals its true horror. Mill of the Stone Woman is a tense period shocker which looks great here in a new restoration.

Limited edition contents:

  • New 2K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films
  • 1080p Blu-ray™ presentations of four different versions of the film: the original 96-minute Italian and English export versions, the 90-minute French version, containing exclusive footage, and the 95-minute US version, containing alternate dubbing, re-ordered scenes and added visual effects
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais
  • Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Roberto Curti, an in-depth comparison of the different versions by Brad Stevens, and a selection of contemporary reviews
  • Fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Adam Rabalais
  • Six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproduction artcards

Disc 1:

  • Restored original lossless mono Italian and English soundtracks
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark
  • Mill of the Stone Women & The Gothic Body, a new visual essay on the trope of the wax/statue woman in Gothic horror by author and critic Kat Ellinger
  • Turned to Stone, a newly edited featurette containing archival interviews with actress Liana Orfei and film historian Fabio Melelli
  • A Little Chat with Dr. Mabuse, an archival interview with actor Wolfgang Preiss
  • Rare opening titles from the UK release, re-titled “Drops of Blood”
  • German opening titles
  • US and German theatrical trailers
  • Image galleries

Disc 2:

  • Restored original lossless mono French soundtrack for the French version
  • Restored original lossless mono English soundtrack for the US version
  • Newly translated English subtitles for the French soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack

Mill of the Stone Women is released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video on 29 November.

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