Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

The Hero Is Sick, He Should Be

Cleveland Press 1966

About 15 minutes before this movie, "Night Games" is over, the camera graphically records the protagonist as he vomits, not once but several times.

Viewers who have managed to sit through this film thus far will probably have experienced some nausea of their own far earlier.

Actress Mai Zetterling is the director and co-author of this grotesque shocker and her efforts are unlikely to advance the cause of female film directors.

"NIGHT GAMES" IS A STUDY of a man's sexual inhibitions brought on by a perverted mother love. This moody young man wanders around the massive castle of a home in which he grew up and to which he has brought his fiancee. They are about to be married but he doesn't seem much interested in her, and instead conjures up memories of his childhood.

Flashbacks show the lad wandering around through a series of orgies, witnessing perversions, surrounded with licentiousness.

Miss Zetterling dips heavily -- like with a shovel -- into Freud and Krafft-Ebing for one of the unsubtlest symbolic dramas ever put together.

THIS OVERLY DETAILED PORTRAYAL of decadence is more likely to be sickening than enlightening. With a mother like his it's a wonder the boy managed to reach adulthood without being locked away. Her idea of fun and games at a party is to give birth to a still-born infant in full view of her guests. The boy wanders in and out of episodes such as this, meets his mother's lovers, and assorted perverts.

The man's solution to his problem is to blow up the house which is what somebody should have done to the studio before the film was completed.

The shame of all this is the waste of effort and talent, for "Night Games" is no cheapie. Technically the movie is good and the acting ranks with the best in Swedish movies.

A few avant garde critics have described "Night Games" as art and they see all sorts of meaning in it. Nuts. It is obvious and depressing and when not depressing it is unintentionally funny.

This is lechery and perversion in all of their pristine ugliness and I say to hell with it.