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The House by the Edge of the Lake (1979)

Sensività (original title)
A young woman returns to the country château where her mother drowned years ago. There is something haunting about the place, a supernatural ambiance.


Enzo G. Castellari


Leila Buongiorno (screenplay) (as Lella Buongiorno), José María Nunes (screenplay) | 1 more credit »


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Complete credited cast:
Vincent Gardenia ... Old Painter
Leonora Fani ... Lilian - college researcher
Wolfango Soldati Wolfango Soldati ... Edoardo - Lillian's boyfriend
Patricia Adriani ... Lilith - paranormal viewer
Massimo Vanni ... Manuel
Marta Flores Marta Flores ... Marta - Lillian's aunt
Antonio Mayans ... Man #1
José Sánchez José Sánchez ... Man #2
Luis Induni ... Lillian's father
Caterina Boratto ... Kira - witch by the lake
Alberto Squillante Alberto Squillante ... Julien
Enzo G. Castellari ... Detective
Bernard Seray ... Carlos


A young woman returns to the country château where her mother drowned years ago. There is something haunting about the place, a supernatural ambiance.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Italy | Spain



Release Date:

28 September 1979 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Devil's Encounter See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Este Films, Cinezeta See more »
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Technical Specs


| (Full)

Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?

Alternate Versions

The original Castellari version, "Sensitività", ran around 100'. The most seen version is one cut for home video, which edited plenty of atmospheric and erotic material out and added new scenes (by 'Alfonso Brescia'), often recognizable by the presence of stand-ins for lead Leonora Fani. See more »

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User Reviews

Not Castellari (or Leanora Fani's) best, but it's not terrible
26 December 2009 | by lazarilloSee all my reviews

Italian horror films are generally well known for preferring visual style and atmosphere over logical plotting and realistic dialogue, but in the 1970's these films became increasingly over-the-top stylistically and often downright nonsensical. Of course, they also tended to paper over all the gaping plot holes with copious, and often even ridiculous, amounts of sex and nudity. (But I didn't mind as much here as the latter was all provided by the very lovely Leonora Fani).

A young university student "Lillian" (Fani) returns to her family's country villa near a lake where years earlier had mother drowned. She is supposedly researching a local legend, a witch called Kira and strange symbol associated with her. But she seems to spend a lot less time at the library "researching" than she does flat on her back giving it up to all local guys. Whenever she reaches orgasm, however, she falls into a weird death trance and some horrible fate befalls her sex partner (a car accident, a drowning etc.) Naturally, there's a lot of talk in the town about this strange, slutty girl (but she still never seems to lack for willing sex partners). "Lillian" also seems to have some kind of weird relationship with a local mentally retarded girl name "Lilith", who is always spying on "Lilian" and masturbating whenever she has sex (which makes for quite a rigorous masturbation schedule). Meanwhile, the witch "Kira" (who looks kind of like the Italian fumetti comic-strip villainess "Baba Yagi") also seems to be hanging around. And "Lillian's"own mother, though generally unseen except in the prologue, is referred to by the locals as the "lady in the lake". And if four weird women isn't enough, there's also a little, local blind girl who tears the heads off her dolls and says a lot of cryptic things.

This is not Enzo Castellari's best film by a long-shot (and he claims he didn't actually direct most of it). But any strengths it does have are owing to his visual style. He makes this nonsense as spooky as possible, and despite the numerous sex scenes, he maintains an atmosphere more of Gothic horror than of softcore pornography. With the possible exception of "Pension Paura", this is probably Leanora Fani's classiest film. But this might not be saying much for an actress who starred in a movie with the self-explanatory title "Naked Massacre", in the uber-scummy "Giallo in Venice" (a flick for those who enjoy some very graphic softcore pornography with their bloody dismemberment), in the deranged "Beastialita" (where her love interest is a big dog), and even in some hardcore porn films (although she was not actually a hardcore actress). Fani is actually pretty good here, but Italian-American character actor Vincent Gardenia is completely wasted as a local yokel. This kind of reminded me of the movie version of "Babi Yaga" with Carroll Baker, but it isn't as good as that one. It's not terrible though.

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