Tower of Screaming Virgins

Sometimes the movies just come to you…after a batch of my best Eurotrash buddies attended this years Exhumed 24 Halloween Marathon in Philly I was certainly envious of a few selections, but Bruce Holecheck pointing out something called TOWER OF SCREAMING VIRGINS that featured a Crimson Executioner hood wearing topless woman with a bow? I needed it fast and watched it the same night!
Hey Bruce, those screaming virgins are all they guys by the way, but the film is a lot of fun never the less. Action, adventure, nudity and yes…one scene of a topless woman with a bow and arrow and an incredible costume that is one of the best single images I’ve seen with that weapon since Alice Arno stalked the dunes in The Perverse Countess.

When the film opens we see a group of men running through a tower being stalked by Crimson masked executioners-they don’t get very far before getting chopped down and promptly dumped out of the titular mysterious tower. One poor guy almost makes it before being cut down with an arrow from a nude huntress-not a good day for him. The executioners quickly unmask and seem more nervous than dastardly however, and they hastily realize that they had better be careful in how they dispose of these guys. Well, turns out that the locals think the tower holds a witch that is sacrificing young men. Nope. It is a nasty sexed up queen and her two handmaidens instead. They just love to get their freak on in that tower, using it for their own debauched ends. The young men don’t realize what kind of rough trade they are really in for. Thankfully, the naughty Queen, played with a lot of gusto by Teri Tordai, is gorgeous and her evil associates almost match up. And they do love to get naked…

Enter the gallant Buridan (Jean Piat) who is out to set things straight. Top it off with his interest in the (again with the beautiful women) Blanche du Bois (Uschi Glas) and now he has a reason to fight. But as with all good heroes-our man has a strong arm, a quick tongue and yes-a dark secret reason to oppose the Queen and her Happy Harlots. And well…in this naughty musketeer movie, that is about all the plot you get minus a few character bits. I have to say though, I was blown away by the big revelations at the end. I’ll spoil it here, so skip down to the next picture break if you are dying to keep it a secret and want to see the film.
Having Buridan be the father to The Queen’s secret (and thought dead) kids is fine, but having mom actually have sex with and KILL her son??? Woah. All that, mixed with the “witch” angle sets in motion a stunning final ten minutes.

So really, you have a great opening scene-an adventure film that feels like it could have been made in 1960, with lots of spicy inserts, and then a fantastic finale worth the entire effort of finding the film!
I really enjoyed it I must admit, but my current Peplum mood helps, because I am all about Italian Adventure films these days. The Tower of Screaming Virgins is completely successful as a raunchy period action movie, but there is a limited amount of screaming, a trailer that is most likely cut from the very opening and final minutes to be had. If you want a groovy musketeer time though, this is a great 90 minutes.

In the notes I was jotting down I kept thinking of this as an Italian Musketeer film, and then I see that it is “based on a novel by Alexandre Dumas” and I just can’t believe it! Well, it is a play called La Tour de Nesle and if you translate that I guess the tower is there, minus the screaming virgins. What is most interesting to me is that Abel Gance did a filmed adaptation of the same story two years before this film-and I would not be shocked to see that they are quite close, swapping nudity and sword play for melodrama. The synopsis I read for La tour de Nesle and this film are almost exactly the same! I’ll stick to the Eurotrash variant though….


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