The Whip and the Body

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The Whip and the Body
The- Whip-and-the-Body-poster.jpg
Directed by Mario Bava
Produced by Ferdinando Baldi (as Free Baldwin)
Federico Magnaghi (as Tom Rhodes)
Elio Scardamaglia (as John Oscar)
Written by Ernesto Gastaldi (as Julian Berry)
Ugo Guerra (as Robert Hugo)
Luciano Martino (as Martin Hardy)
Starring Daliah Lavi
Christopher Lee
Tony Kendall
Ida Galli (as Isli Oberon)
Harriet Medin
Music by Carlo Rustichelli (as Jim Murphy)
Cinematography Ubaldo Terzano (as David Hamilton)Mario Bava (uncredited)
Edited by Renato Cinquini (as Rob King)
Leone Film
Release dates
29 August 1963
Running time
91 min. (Italy)
85 min. (France)
Country Italy
Language Italian
Budget $66,500 (estimated)
Box office ITL 72,000,000 (Italy)

The Whip and the Body (Italian: La frusta e il corpo; UK title: Night is the Phantom) is a 1963 Italian gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava.


An isolated castle on the Eastern European coast. Kurt (Christopher Lee), the older son of Count Menliff (Gustavo De Nardo), was in marriage preparations with Nevenka (Daliah Lavi). However, Kurt had an affair with Tania, the daughter of Menliffs' servant Giorgia (Harriet Medin), and Tania committed suicide because of Kurt's prospective marriage. Count Menliff rejected Kurt and he left the castle. Meanwhile, Nevenka married Cristiano (Tony Kendall), Kurt's younger brother.

One day, Kurt arrives at the castle, superficially to celebrate Cristiano and Nevenka but in fact he is to reclaim his title and fortune, which supposedly also includes Nevenka. During an evening on the beach and following a session of flogging and sex, masochistic Nevenka understands that she is still in love with Kurt. Frustrated, she does not return to the castle and is eventually found unconscious by the butler Losat (Luciano Pigozzi). At the same night, Kurt is killed under curious circumstances, with the same dagger Tania had committed suicide with. Now, Kurt is dead but a series of events hints that his ghost has started to haunt the castle for revenge.



The film was shot for about $66.000 in Lazio and Rome. All of Christopher Lee's dialogue was dubbed by another actor.[1]


Alternate titles include The Way of the Body and Son of Satan. A shorter version entitled What! was released in the United States.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The film is well received by contemporary critics. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% approval rating, based on seven reviews, and is certified "fresh".[3]


  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0. 


  1. ^ Hughes, p.81
  2. ^ "Release dates for The Whip and the Flesh". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "La frusta e il corpo (The Whip and The Body) (1963)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 

External links[edit]