Directed by Paul Wendkos
Starring Alan Alda Barbara Parkins
Unjustly forgotten and underrated occult horror film that reminds me a lot of some of the work of Clive Barker. Bisset becomes troubled when her journalist husband (Alda) befriends a famous international pianist (played with gusto by Curt Jurgen) who seems unusually interested in the size and shape of the writer's hands.
When the famous piano player dies and suddenly Alda transforms into a world-class player, she becomes suspicious: Could her husband's body have been taken over by the late maestro's soul? A brilliant score by Jerry Goldsmith, wild dream sequences and bizarre rituals all add up to a rather kick-ass occult film that's way better than most of the crap being cranked out today. At times the story comes across as a little soap opera-ish, but there are genuinely scary moments throughout the movie, much of it revolving around blue oil lamp that satanists use in their rituals, and which seems to show up mysteriously whenever someone dies. The film also has a surprisingly nihilistic ending.
Any movie that features an evil dog wearing a human mask is pretty damn original. Produced in a "golden age" of occult horror that ushered in such movies as "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Exorcist," "Mephisto Waltz" is a well-made and upscale gem. Look out for this one.
Director Wendkos also directed the eerie and unforgettable TV movie "The Legend of Lizzie Borden."
-- Review by Lucius Gore