Monday, 19 November 2007

The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

The Devil's Nightmare is a 1971 Belgian-Italian co-production, and it’s actually a rather little gothic horror flick. A busload of travellers find themselves forced to spend the night in a gothic castle. We’ve already seen their host, in the opening scene, a flashback to World War 2 in which we see him killing his infant daughter. Now we find out the reason for his appalling action – there is a curse on the family, a curse that causes the eldest daughter in each generation to become a succubus. The baron thinks he’s managed to evade the curse, but he’s made a miscalculation. There is an unexpected guest in the castle, and she is indeed a succubus. She sets out to destroy the other seven guests, and to destroy each of them in an appropriate way – with each guest representing one of the seven deadly sins. The movie is actually considerably better than it sounds. Erika Blanc makes a wonderfully creepy and mysterious succubus, the killings are handled with a small amount of gore and a much larger amount of imagination, there’s plenty of gothic atmosphere, and there are a plethora of ingenious plot twists. The baron also dabbles in alchemy, which is always fun. The devil puts in an appearance, and a delightfully sinister devil he is, and there’s a young priest-in-training who finds himself exposed to temptations of both the flesh and the spirit. An unexpectedly proficient slice of eurohorror, and all highly entertaining.

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