Compared are the International Version and the Italian Version (both available on the German Blu-ray by Subkultur).
Journalist Hans von Arnim travels to a secluded mill near Amsterdam in order to write an article about Professor Gregorius Wahl's wax museum. During his research, he meets Elfie, the Professor's daughter, and falls for her. Since Elfie is suffering from some mysterious desease, her doctor (Dr. Loren Bohlem) is living there as well. Hans quickly realizes he made a mistake and tries to cut ties but Elfie is convinced that he is the one. Professor Wahl warns Hans that Elfie is in frail health and that she is not supposed to get upset in any way. When Hans tells her the truth, they fight and it seems as if Elfie dies. Hans feels guily about it but when he returns to the mill to tell the Professor, Elfie is alive. Hans can't seperate dream from reality anymore and has a meltdown. When one of the girls from the town disappears after seeing her tied up in the mill and when his girlfriend Liselotte also vanishes, he and his friend Ralf get to the mill and they intend to figure out whatever is going on there.
"Mill of the Stone Women" was the first Italian horror flick in color and it was released the same year Mario Bava's "Blasck Sunday" came out. Director Giorgio Ferroni made many westerns and sword and sandal films and except for his "Night of the Devils" from 1972, this is his only horror film. Kind of sad because both are quite suspenseful and because of the delusions that turn out to be real also connected in some way. A young Pierre Brice ends up in the mill - a unreal world of Professor Wahl and his wax museum which also happens to be in the mill. Ferroni takes advantage of this scenery and any time the wax figures are doing their thing, accompanied by a very fitting Carlo Innocenzi score I might add, the audience has the creeping horrors. Betraying his girlfriend Liselotte has consequences for Hans and Elfie's jealousy and alleged death temporarily drive him to insanity. The finale during which both Elfie's secret and the secret regarding the wax museum secret are being revealed is quite memorable.
The Italian Version is the version director Giorgio Ferroni originally intended. And considering its length, it is also the longest version. The French Version contains a scene the French producers insisted on having in the film which also explains why the Italian Version lacks that very scene.
Basically edited for the US and UK market, the International Version differs from the Italian Version. For instance, te International Version contains the art school sign in order to clear up the transition from the mill to that scene. The dream sequence showing Hans wandering around inside the mill, which by the way is also in the Italian Version, is shown at an earlier point here. Also, during the conversation with Dr. Bohlem, the image gets blurry to illustrate the influence of the meds Hans took. In the finale, several shots of the mill contains additional fog in order to make the scenery appear more suspenseful. Quite interesting is the fact that the scene that shows Liselotte getting gagged by Dr. Bohlem is a little shorter because one could partially see her breast. Elfie's letter has been replaced by an alternate shot that shows the letter written in English.
The French Version is based on the Italian Version. However, several minutes of plot are missing - probably for pace reasons. What makes the French Version unique is the new scene particularly added for the French market. After class, Ralf and Liselotte are walking across a bridge with a barrel organ on it. Liselotte talks about her feelings for Hans and they both decide to pay Hans a visit at one of the shows at the wax museum inside the mill. Elfie's letter and Ralf's piece of art have been replaced by alternate footage with French texts.
German Theatrical Version:
The German Theatrical Version is probably just something for grindhouse fans. Based on the Italian Version, it is approx. 2 minutes shorter due to numerous jumpc-cuts and a shorter ending. The image has not been restored and that is quite obvious. Also, the opening credits and title are in German.
Mondo Macabro DVD (USA)
The US DVD by Mondo Macabro was the first DVD release worldwide. It is based on the International Version but the dream sequence has been reconstructed. The nipple scene when Liselotte gets gagged by Dr. Bohlem is in it as well. Both the scene from the French Version with Ralf and Liselotte on the bridge and the alternate dream sequence of the US Version are available in the bonus section.
NEW DVD (Germany)
The German DVD by NEW is also based on the International Version but contrary to the Mondo Macabro DVD, the dream sequence has not been changed. The nipple scene has been reconstructed though. The scene with Ralf and Liselotte on the bridge and the dream sequence from the Italian Version are both available in the bonus section of the DVD.
Subkultur Blu-ray (Germany)
The German Blu-ray by Subkultur contains the Italian, International, French and German Version. In other words, this is the first release ever with all the main versions being available which makes this Blu-ray highly recommendable. This is also the first time that the Italian Version has been released at all.
Italian Version: 95:42 min
International Version: 94:32 min
French Version: 89:51 min
German Theatrical Version: 92:48 min
The International Version fades out sooner and a sign that reads "Academy of Fine Arts" pops up. Then a transition to Professor Wahl and the students.
The Italian Version contains a longer shot of Professor Wahl leaving the room. Then Wahl and the students.
Italian Version: 5 sec
International Version: 5 sec
In the Italian Version, Elfie writes the letter in Italian. The International Version contains alternate footage of Elfie writing the letter in English.
Italian Version: 23 sec
International Version: 23 sec
The Italian Version pans to the skull, followed by a transition to Hans's den.
In the International Version, the image gets blurry and a dream sequence with Hans putting Elfie's body on her bed follows. She comes back to life, gets in an upright position and reaches frontwards before she and the bed vanish. Hans seems distraught by that.
Italian Version: 6 sec
International Version: 40 sec
In the International Version, the image gets blurry when Dr. Bohlem takes a step back.
7 sec each
Hans gets in the room and has a vision of putting Elfie's body on a bed. She comes back to life and he comes closer. She reaches frontwards and she and the bed vanish. Hans seems distraught by that. He rushes down the stairs. The subsequent shot of him entering the room starts earlier as well.
Italian Version: 1:34 min
This is probably the exact same shot of the mill but there is much more fog in the International Version which is also the case in the subsequent shot.
21 sec each
Again, more fog in the International Version.
3 sec each
And again, there is fog in the International Version during the shot of the wind mill.
3 sec each
The shot of Dr. Bohlem gagging Liselotte starts earlier. As a result, one can see her nipple.
Italian Version: 10 sec
Alternate shot of the burning mill.
9 sec each