Friday, October 09, 2009

Halloween Horrors 9 - Devil's Kiss

One of the very first things I did on the web was create a little free server site praising the films of Eurocine, and I'm sure I would have lost my mind if I'd had the DVD of DEVIL'S KISS on hand at the time. While the company is best known for releasing some of my favorite Jess Franco films and the international hit Zombie Lake (seriously, how much money do you think that film made in licensing rights alone??)...I'm totally taken by the other films they had their hands in, such as Orloff Against The Invisible Man, Maniac Killer and Men For Rent. Devil's Kiss is now added to that list and unearths one obscure bit of French trash cinema that I'll be hard pressed to forget. With an outstanding cast, a crazy mixture of super science and satanic shenanigans and a monster you'll gawk at with genuine awe the first time he S L O W L Y goes in to "action" this is an uneven but enjoyable film that battles any doldrums with monster madness.

Claire Grandier (Silvia Solar) and Professor Gruber (Olivier Mathot) attend a completely ridiculous fashion show at a villa owned by the De Hassenmont family-though each for their own obscure reasons. Claire is working as a medium and is there to entertain the show goers with a seance. Of course, things go wrong and the host steps in. He knows that Ms. Grandier is ticked off, because she can't let go of the fact that her husband committed suicide-and she blames the De Hassenmonts. Luckily, Baron De Hassenmont is interested not only in the occult, but also in the psuedo necroscience that Doctor Gruber is an expert in...and he also specializes in Telepathy. I'd love to see his degree!

Now that they are in, the master plans unfold. After Claire recruits a sex mad dwarf, of course) the dynamic duo use some mystic mumbo jumbo ("Lucibel"?) and the telepathic powers of the doctor to construct a Frankenstein Mosiac Man that makes Frankenstein '80 look good. The doctor must control the creature, but unfortunately he has a bad heart.... Random violence occurs as neither the doctor nor the medium seem to have any villainous competence at all. Luckily for us, the gentle viewer, the plot serves no purpose as the monster strides about killing everyone he can. The doctor tries his best to conquer the creature telepathically, but it doesn't work out. Ah well...better for us monster fans.

Sure it isn't much, but Devil's Kiss is an entertaining film for fans of EurObscure films if for no other reason than to watch the cast try to salvage what they can. Mathot is one of my favorite faces in all of Eurocine and he is great as he huffs and puffs his way through the role of Professor Gruber. He acts menacing. He acts exhausted. He rubs his head and does telepathic battle with the soul of a freakish stitched together maniac! Silvia Solar is also charming as the dressed in black medium on a mission of vengeance. I've never found her particularly attractive, but her face has a lot of expression and she really does try her best in every role I've seen her take on. But the fun doesn't stop there. Of special note is Evelyne Scott's chest which has a co-starring role as the pretty maid Loretta. Things don't go well for her character, but she is good at appearing frightened and wearing a very low cut top. Also making the time go by is an appearance by Naschy/Ossorio alumni Maria Silva as a fashion model that ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Carlos Otero, a familiar actor from spaghetti westerns and notably Crimson with Paul Naschy is GREAT as the creepy butler as well. But the most amusing appearance is by Victor Isreal (who recently passed away). He shows up at the bizarre fashion show and says "Spiritism in this day and age? I prefer the fashion show!" And then he vanishes from the rest of the movie. Weird, but perfectly Eurocine.

A strange little film, Devil's Kiss is exactly what this Eurocine fan enjoys about the studio films. It is cheap, but shot in that specific style I love-one that seems to leak out of the Franco productions and in to these quick and naughty films. Crusty castle walls, cheap monsters and rampant nudity are all the production values you could ask for. A nifty music score of bleeping booping sounds and lilting symphonic sounds pushe things along nicely as well. If you venture into this film, I can not recommend the amazing English language dub of this film more. It is a must for anyone that likes wacked out dialogue. You can pick a great line out of every 5 I'd wager. It is just weird how many bizarre concepts are smashed in to this dub script...too many is never enough really.

This is a film I would have wondered about for many years if I'd only seen the title and artwork-the original "Perverse Carresses of Satan" is just the kind of thing that makes me get all heated up and ready to pounce on damn near any film really. Thankfully, it did not disappoint! Special credit must be given to one time director Jordi Gigo who not only brought this oddity to life, but also plays "The Annunciator" according to the credits. It took me a while to figure out that meant The Announcer and he is presenting the bizarre fashion show in the opening sequence. WOW...what a credit!!

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