Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"La terrificante notte del demonio"(1971)d/Jean Brismée

The subject of tonight's fully-focused foray into film deals with sins; in particular, the seven capital vices, most objectionable to those looking to conduct their lives in a christian manner, or the seven top whoppers on my weekend "to do" checklist come most Fridays.Of course, I'm joking here.Why wait until Friday when you've got five perfectly good weekdays to get your balls-out sinnin' in?Seriously.
Tonight's Belgian-Italian co-production is a vintage hunk o' gruesome gothic goodness that I first bumped into on late night tv when I were a younger Wop, much younger than today.Although I heavily dug the lighter television edit of the movie back in the 'footie pajamas on the living room couch' era, I much prefer the unedited and gloriously sleazy print of this throwback Eurotrash that's readily available on disc from a number of companies these days.This one has enough going for it to keep you entertained the whole way through, I'd surmise:A foreboding castle,red-headed succubi(if her carpet doesn't match her drapes, at least the castle wallpaper matches the bedspread),mysterious Barons who dabble in alchemy(for the philosophy, not the gold) and the dent-headed fish-eyed servants who answer to them, skeletally creepy balding Frenchmen who dress like the Grim Reaper, libidinous Euro sex kittens, guillotines and iron maidens, and even a tour guide whose on camera eating habits just might put you off of food altogether, not to mention an appropriately groovy, fuzztone guitar-heavy soundtrack from Alessandro Alessandroni, who you might remember as the whistler from
Ennio Morricone's spaghetti western scorework.Lovers of this sort of thing(you know who you are) should already be hunting a good print down as we speak...
I've got an SS ceremonial dagger just like this one, and I've only stabbed several babies...a few?None!Never stabbed one baby with it at all!Haha.
It is Berlin, 1945, and as stock footage of allied air raids lay siege to the sepia-toned flashback castle and its goose-stepping German inhabitants, a high-ranking officer(whose uniform is conspicuously missing the tell-tale armband with the big black spider of racial superiority on it.You know, the swasti-something-or-other...)waits impatiently as his wife dies in childbirth, giving him a daughter.Unacceptable for whatever reason, this leads him to clear out the place, and hastily baptize the baby before labonza-shanking it with his SS dagger(!).Whoa, heavy.In present day 1971, a tour bus carrying seven querulous sinner-types finds itself at said German castle after taking directions from a wisp of a French creep burning things on the roadside.There's the guide, who's a lip-smacking glutton, a money-mad married Mädchen, her adulterous spouse, a cantakerous old coot, a sex-charged brunette, a blonde that's as hot as she is lazy, and a would-be priest in training, all looking for a night's lodging within the Castle Rhoneberg walls.The Baron(same baby-stabbing nazi from the intro)welcomes them in and allows his divot-grilled manservant, Hans, to show them to their rooms, which he does, never forgetting to relate each room's bloody history to its occupant beforehand.Their dinner, already peppered with the Baron's gruesome family history(the first-born daughter of each generation must be given over to the dark lord and master for services rendered to a Rhoneberg ancestor),denying ever having had a daughter himself.Then Lisa(Erika Blanc) shows up.With her flame-hued locks and skimpy outfit that'd have Vampirella telling the bitch to cover up a bit, this chick could just be the murderous succubus we've been waiting for.
"If I showed you one of my oatmeal cookie-sized aereolas, would you think I was a succubus then?"
Like a greased pig over slippery nipples, the guests fall prey one by one to their respective trademark vices;a cat is found impaled on a torture device in the attic(thou shalt not be finnicky, Morris)while the Baron shows the greedy Mrs. Foster his nifty basement alchemy lab.Meanwhile Mr. F takes on the lustful Corinne(who's already eaten at Regine's Y before dinner)in the attic, and the adulterous duo's fuck noises rouse the crotchety Mason from the confines of his room.Lisa, on the other hand, sets her Satanic sights on Father Sorel, pondering her succubusness while flashing her nipples at the chaste young man, who resists.She then teleports herself into the kitchen where the guide overindulges himself and vomits up some poisoned wine as he dies.Next is Mrs. Foster, whose desire for gold gets her buried in a small mountain of precious flake.Corrine finds herself inside an iron maiden while Mr. Foster loses his head to the guillotine.Old Mason, she shoves out an upstairs window onto a bed of knives.Regine gets squeezed by a rather puny looking costrictor in bed, leaving only the would-be priest still breathing.Sorel plants his rosary on Lisa's grill, leaving a holy open sore that buys him enough time to hightail it out of the castle, only to run into the devil himself(Daniel Emilfork).He strikes a bargain with the gaunt-looking fellow, trading his soul, a tough one to come by, indeed, for the six that he's already collected.The priest awakens the next morning to find all the guests alive and ready to depart for less-gloomy climes.Remembering his pact, he stays behind with Lisa,and watches from the top of the castle as the tour bus swerves to avoid an oncoming truck on a narrow road down the mountain, plummetting off the sheer cliff and exploding on impact.Oh, sweet irony.
Mr. Foster(Lorenzo Terzon) momentarily marvels at the weaving skill with which the head basket was made.
The deliciously diabolic Blanc appeared in Mario Bava's Kill, Baby, Kill(1966), as well as Lenzi's Così dolce... così perversa(1969), La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba(1971), and even Lamberto Bava's Body Puzzle(1992), in her storied career in genre films.The wafer-thin Daniel Emilfork will probably be best remembered as Krank in The City of Lost Children(1995), although I also recall him in Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe(1978), a movie I found myself watching a lot, strangely enough, as a kid.Tonight's review, with no less than fourteen alternate titles(!), found it's way into my collection as half of a double-bill release from Tgg Direct, though I hear the Image "Redemption" disc intro full of fake guts and bloody boobs is something of a hoot.On the scale it scores a solid three big ones, and provides the perfect gothic puzzle piece on genre movie night.Check it out.
"We couldn't even afford sturdy spikes to get impaled upon when we were your age!"

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