Walter von Ravensbruck (Sergio Doria) and his wife Eva (Angela Bo) are having tea on the front lawn of their estate when a carriage crashes on the road at their front gate. The driver was impaled by a broken carriage part. Inside the carriage they find an unconscious woman. Walter has her taken into the house. Inspector Dannick (Attilio Dottesio) and Dr. Sturges (Klaus Kinski) are called. Dannick wants to make a report on the accident, but Dr. Sturges says the girl has amnesia amd can not be questioned.
Sturges finds a charm around her neck. On one side is the name Greta 1906, on the other are some unusual symbols. Sturges recognizes the symbols as the formula to bring the dead back to life. Sturges uses the information on the charm in an experiment to restore life to a corpse (Tony Askin). His experiment is a success; however, someone kills Sturges, the animated corpse and Sturges’ mute assistant (Pietro Torrisi).
Greta (Ewa Aulin) is welcomed into the Ravensbruck household. Both Walter and Eva fall in love with her. First Greta has sex with Walter and then with Eva. When Eva discovers that Greta is also having an affair with Walter, she gets jealous and walls Greta up alive in room in the bowels of the estate leaving her there to die. But Eva is already dead and looking for revenge.
“Death Smiles on a Murderer” AKA “La morte ha sorriso all'assassino” was released in 1973 and was directed by Joe D’Amato. It is an Italian horror mystery and a giallo.
The plot of the movie is very confusing, and it may take more than one viewing to get most of it. There are small snippets of scenes, mostly in the beginning, that reveal Greta’s incestuous relationship with her brother, Franz von Holstein (Luciano Rossi) and that he is the one who, using an Incan formula, brought Greta back to life, after she died from a miscarriage. Greta had been impregnated by her lover, and Walter’s father, Dr. Herbert von Ravensbruck (Giacomo Rossi Stuart). The Ravensbruck servant Simeon (Marco Mariani) also plays a part in helping Greta with her revenge. Tossed in is a subplot with Dr. Sturges using the formula to raise the dead.
The film incorporates many giallo themes including rape, incest, infidelity, gore, lesbianism, murder, brief nudity and whatever else I missed. Also incorporated are some Edgar Allan Poe touches. There’s enough going on that it could become a little overwhelming. If that happens it could hamper some of the enjoyment of watching the movie.
The coachman’s guts were actually veal intestine.