Compared are the International Version and the US DVD by Mondo Macabro.
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 he 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
German DVD (NEW): 90:47 min (runs with more fps)
US DVD (Mondo Macabro): 95:38 min
In the International Version, the image gets blurry after Hans drinks the medicine. The US DVD does not have that effect.
6 sec each
On the US DVD, the camera keeps panning to the skull and then to Hans. (Compared to the Italian Version, a few seconds are missing though.)
In the International Version, the image gets blurry and a dream sequence with Hans putting Elfie's body on her bed follows. She wakes up, sits up straight and reaches forward before she and the bed disappear. Hans seems distraught by that. Then Hans's den.
International Version: 42 sec
US DVD: 3 sec
In the International Version, the image gets blurry when Dr. Bohlem makes a step backwards.
7 sec each
Hans runs in the room and has a vision of Elfie lying on a bed. She wakes up and he rushes over. She reaches forward and she and the bed disappear. Hans seems distraugt by that. He runs downstairs. (In the Italian Version, he enters the room earlier.)
US DVD: 1:27 min
The shot of Dr. Bohlem gagging Liselotte starts earlier. Her nipple is visible in that scene.
US DVD: 10 sec