Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Devil's Nightmare Review: A Tale of Three Hot Chicks

Ah, 1971's The Devil's Nightmare, or La plus longue nuit du diable, or La terrificante notte del demonio, or Vampire Playgirls,, there are too many titles for this movie for my lazy fingeres to type them all.

Anyways, I discovered this little Belgian/Italian gem on a cool Autumn day when I was searching, back when the site was up, for something new to watch. I've never shied away from Italian horror, especially those that were produced in the 1970's, and after a quick lookup on the semi-trusty IMDB, I decided to give it a go.

I read the synopsis, which basically stated that 7 tourists are in need of shelter for a night after they miss their ferry, and the road is blocked denying their tour bus from advancing in a rural area. They are told by an extremely emo-ish looking man in black that is burning sticks that they may be able to stay in the Castle Rhoneberg  for the night. Each tourist represents one of the seven deadly sins. A succubus is in the castle that they are staying in taking each one out according to their sins. Ok, sounds good to me.

So, the movies begins with what appears to be stock footage of WWII, and a title card that says 1945. It's not what I expected, but if I wanted obscenely predictable movies, I'd watch some of the millions of remakes that are put out every year. This is European horror, and if history has taught me anything, it's that 1970's European horror is hardly ever predictable. We get some basic backstory that in the 12th century Sigfried von Rhoneberg made a pact with the devil, and that every first born daughter of each generation would serve him as a succubus. As is turns out the 1945 Baron von Rhoneberg's wife has just had their first baby...a girl. Oh no, the curse continues! So the good Baron does what any repectable father would do, and stabs his baby daughter (on camera no less). Those Germans are all business. (As a little FYI, the Baron rocked his maid who had his daughter, but he is unaware. This daughter would be the first born, and would ultimately be the cursed daughter).  
Next scene = opening credits with some P.I.M.P.-ASS music by Italy's own Alessandro Alessandroni! Pictures of castles with Alessandroni's music is the stuff dreams are made. Well, that and boobies, I suppose. We eventually get some of those too, so this film truly has it all!
So, next it's 1971, and the Baron who killed his daughter, and doesn't seem to have aged since 1945, is speaking to a reporter about a curse that has been placed on his family, but he doesn't want articles written on the family curse. Hmm, you're cursed, and don't want anybody to know, but you're going to tell a reporter and then tell her that she can't write an article with that information in it? Sounds logical to me! Anyways, she then asks to take pictures of the castle, which again the Baron tells her that she's not allowed. Why did he even have her over? She can't report, can't take pictures. What the hell is she even there for? Being a reporter, and a women (bring it feminists), she ignores his requests and takes pictures anyways. Then a trident looking pole stabs her tire, at which point she runs, and is murdered by a camera. Goodbye unimportant character.
Now that that's over with we get to meet our tourists! Lets see, we have a priest- Father Alvin Sorel, an old curmudgeon- Mason, an overweight bus driver- Max Ducha, a jealous wife-Nancy, an aldulterous husband- Howard, a hot blond- Regine, and a hotter brunette- Corrine. So, they end up at Castle von Rhoneberg, and it turns out to be pretty creepy. The usual stuff, doors that open and close by themselves, rain, and a strange staff running the place. It may give them the creeps, but as long as they don't try to take pictures, the camera may spare them.
The butler tells them that their rooms are ready because somebody phoned the castle to let them know that the tourists were coming...but who?! As he shows them their rooms we learn that Father Sorel is in fact not a Father, but is in training. He just like to wear the outfit to trick people I guess. We also learn that the mark of the devil is on the floor of the falso preists floor. The butler just kind of gives this piece of information away. The residents of the castle seem adamant about keeping this curse a secret, but at the same time they tell anybody that they come in contact with about it. On to more interesting topics. The two hot characters are both scared, and decide to room together. Oh dear! Two women sharing a room in 1970s Euro-sleaze? Some craziness will ensue.
Ah-ha, Baron von Rhoneberg is alchemist. I knew it! We get a view of his impressive 1930s-ish Universal horror lab, complete with boiling beakers and sparks flying. You know, I had a feeling that the Baron maintined his wealth with the help of mysticism. More time than not, European nobility will ensure the continuous growth of their wealth with...whoa lesbianism!
Now we move to Howard and Nancy having a lovers quarrle. Nancy believes that Howard is trying to get up in Corrine. You know, all relationships take effort from both parties involved. It is often difficult for one to place absolute trust in another. This lack of trust can cause the jealous partner to see things that in a light that may not be correct, causing much pain to that of their lover who....whao more lesbianism already!
Dinner time. The Baron takes time to make small talk with all of his guest before dinner. We get to learn more about each of the characters. For instance, Mason is a prick to virtually everybody that he comes into contact with, Max really likes food, and Corrine is a huge whooo-ore. She claims to collect men, especially married men. Everybody needs a hobby.
This is all fun and everything, but something is missing. I don't know what, but it seems like there is an element that isn't present. What could it be? Oh, I know...the succubus!
Enter the succubus- Lisa (Erica Blanc). On first appearance Lisa appears to be nothing more than a woman in need of shelter. She enjoys the post dinner festivities with the guests, and gets to know them. Meanwhile Howards is making plans with Corrine to get to know each other a little better behind the staricase to the attic at midnight. I personally couldn't think of a more appropriate place or time, and I would challange you to.
We continue on with strange things happening, such as doors that will not open and blood dripping from the ceiling (which turns out to be a cat impaled on spikes). The entire attic is filled with torture devices. Not uncommon for most German households from what I hear. Also, Lisa keeps appearing in the not-priest's room wearing sexually arousing clothing. He eventually has enough, and moves to the library to keep from thinking of the hot ho that keeps appearing on his bed. Uh-oh, here she comes to the library. The seduction continues, though the quasi-priest stays strong, and does not succumb to Lisa's tactics. You're safe for now Senore Falso.
But guess who isn't safe. The man who likes to eat. Lisa shows her true colors starting with this poor sap. Oh, what's that? You like to eat? And eat you shall. Seriously, watching this man eat is one of the most difficult things that I've ever had to watch. And that includes the abortion video that I was forced to bear witness to in my health class in High School.
Next is Nancy. She loves-a the gold. Don't worry Nancy, Lisa will help you find the Baron's gold. In all seriousness, Old Jack Plissken has always considered himself a greedy fellow, I'd bang a goat in front of a group of Japanese business men for $5, but this stronza makes me look like the most ethical and generous mofo on the planet. She is pissed at her husband for trying to bang Corrine, but is cool with it if she can find the Baron's gold and steal it. You get what you deserve "Nancy the Greedy."
Poor Howard and Corrine. Howard is stuck in a loveless marriage, while possessing and insatiable appetite for vagina. Corrine is a whoo-ore. With todays slutty standards, I'm sure that most of us know people like these anways, but this is the 1970s kids. (I don't know what that's supposed to mean). 
Moving on. (about) Time for Mr. Mason. I hate this character. He reminds me of a boss I once had. Dude was a prick everybody, but for some reason the company wouldn't fire him. I mean seriously, if a person is having conflicts with everybody within an organization, then it is the responsibility of the company to intervene. I mean you can't just allow this to continue! It isn't fair that everybody else has to succumb to this bastard, and nothing is done! I mean what the fu...I'm sorry, I'm still a little passionate about that subject.
So, it's time for the sloth AKA Regine. I'm sorry everybody, but this one hits a little close to home. She likes to sleep. Is that a reason to kill her? That's just mean.

Not-Father Alvin time! Lisa can't take Alvin, so Skinny Devil has to make another appearance. Honestly, he's not a very impressive devil. He looks more like a pedo than a devil, but I have a feeling the producers didn't have the cash to find somebody more devilish. Sean Connery must have asked for too much.

Finally! The showdown between almost good and kind of evil! Time to bargin with the devil. Wouldn't somebody who is training as a priest know that the devil is a trickster that will not live up to end of the deal? I mean, the Prete Falso even mentions that he will go on to save many souls, and thus rob the devil of them. So, wouldn't that make more sense from an efficiency stand point? Jack Plissken understands that these were people that the man had developed a quasi relationship with, but what about all of the others? I don't know, I just seems kind of strange to make a weird deal like that.
All in all this is a good movie, with a great soundtrack. If you haven't seen it, but like 1970s European horror and exploitation, then you will probably find something enjoyable with this movie. Erika Blanc is great. Alessandro Alessandroni delivers. And I would recommend this to fans of atmospheric horror.   

Wow! The Devil's Nightmare and Messiah of Evil on 1 two feature set?! That 100% deal.

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