Including child murder, grisly accidents, necrophilia and the aforementioned severed head in the kitchen, the film follows a middle aged woman who moves into a boarding house after the death of her young son and her lover, whose head ends up on ice (and in her bed on multiple occasions).
The, erm, macabre aspects of the film work very well, and some shots are deeply unsettling (the sex scene with the severed head is particularly weird), but a tiresome dub and some cumbersome scenes rob it of much tension outside of those scenes. The woman's psychotic daughter is a high point of a wooden cast, and she gets some very creepy scenes indeed, not least the shocking murder of her brother.
There is an air of taboo about the film, which itself creates the atmosphere rather than the actual plot, and the strong climax rounds it off nicely, leaving you with a more positive opinion of the flick than the other eighty minutes. It's based on supposed real events, which adds a bit more authority, but not much.
One aspect of the movie that is noticeably good is the cinematography, much of which is quite beautifully framed. Beyond the shocks and the look of the film, there's not a great deal to recommend Macabre with, but it is worth watching as a curiosity of an earlier style of moviemaking and the burgeoning style of Bava.