Friday, 27 July 2012

Devil’s Kiss (1976)

Devil’s Kiss (1976)Devil’s Kiss (La perversa caricia de Satán) is one of a handful of films directed by Jordi Gigó. Or at least it’s one of the handful of films for which he got a director’s credit - there seems to be considerable doubt as to whether he ever actually finished a movie. The assistant director on this one claims to have done most of the directing.

Gigó came from Andorra, one of those postage stamp-sized European countries that no-one has heard of, and he had a dream of launching an Andorran film industry. It was not to be. This particular movie was a Spanish-French-Andorran co-production.

Claire Grandie (Silvia Solar) is actually a countess. Her husband died a violent death in mysterious circumstances and various members of the family apparently helped themselves to his estate, leaving her with nothing. Now she works as a spiritualist and dreams of revenge.

But she does more than just dream. She has a plan. She has hooked up with an eccentric medical researcher named Professor Gruber (Olivier Mathot). He’s working on the regeneration of dead tissue. She dabbles in satanism. Between them they intend to create a kind of Frankenstein’s monster to carry out her vengeance. Gruber seems to have been her lover at one time but now he has a bad heart which has put paid to their sex life. Gruber’s motives are partly loyalty to Claire and partly that urge that all horror movie scientists have to dabble in forbidden areas of scientific research.

Devil’s Kiss (1976)

Claire manages to attract the interest of the Duc de Haussemont, one of the men against whom she has a grudge. She conducts a séance for him with results that are interesting enough to persuade him to allow Claire and Professor Gruber to move into his chateau to conduct their experiments.

They create a zombie monster from a dead body which Claire endows with a demonic life-force. As you might expect the monster proves impossible to control and considerable mayhem ensues.

Devil’s Kiss (1976)

Gigó certainly assembles all the ingredients you could possibly ask for - a zombie monster, a mad scientist, satan-worship, murder, voodoo, a sexually deranged dwarf and gratuitous nudity. Having assembled all the ingredients he’s not quite sure what to do with them. His lack of experience coupled with the movie’s apparently chaotic production history certainly has its effect. There’s a lack of any real style here. Moments that should have been highlights are handled a little clumsily.

He was also unlucky in having some key cast members dropping out. The professor was to have been played by Howard Vernon who would have had a great time with the part.

Devil’s Kiss (1976)

Silvia Solar though is perfect as the mysterious, obsessed and dangerously sexy Claire.

There were also problems at times with the special effects, when those responsible for them simply didn’t turn up and things had to be improvised at the last moment.

Devil’s Kiss (1976)

While the end result is a rather clunky movie it’s not without entertainment value and it does include every conceivable exploitation element and there’s plenty of gothic atmosphere. Not one of the masterpieces of 70s eurohorror but still an enjoyable romp.

The Arrowdrome region-free DVD is a reasonably good if not outstanding widescreen print and the liner notes by Stephen Thrower are illuminating and useful.

Worth a rental at least.

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