Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horror. Show all posts

Saturday, October 31, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Craft Legacy (2020)

Managed to get one last one in for October 2020.  And this one is rather perfect for this week.

The Craft: Legacy (2020)

This one was released to much fanfare online on Wednesday.

The movie begins with three witches, Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Franky (Gideon Adlon), and Tabby (Lovie Simone) trying to get their magic to work.  They lament the lack of their "fourth."

Enter Lily (newcomer Cailee Spaeny) and her mother Helen (the always wonderful Michelle Monaghan) moving to a new town and home to live with Helen's new boyfriend Adam (David Duchovny) and his three sons.   

From here the movie follows the same trajectory as the first Craft movie.  This is not an accident, nor is it sloppy writing.  There are a lot callbacks to the previous movie and a lot of nods.  When this movie comes to the point of climax of the previous movie it takes a turn. 

Spoilers follow.

The coven turns against Lily, not because they are abusing their power, but because she is.  They blame her for the death of Timmy. So the other members of the coven bind her and all of their powers.  

Before Timmy's funeral, Lily learns that she was adopted and she begins to suspect that Adam is not what he says he is.  We learn that Adam is some sort of warlock himself. He takes on Helen's form to get Lily to give him her powers.  When she refuses he decides to kill her.  While fighting she manages to freeze him revealing her powers were back and the other members of her coven were there.  Together they all manage to subdue and then eliminate Adam. 

The coven reconstituted Lily is taken to an institute to meet her biological mother, Nancy Downs from the first movie.  Yes, Fairuza Balk makes a cameo as Nancy. 

So. Yeah not quite as scary as the first, but it also keeps it open for future sequels.  There is the question of Adam and what he was doing all over the world.  There was certainly a vibe of "Warlocks vs. Witches" implied here.  I was expecting more horror given this is a Blumehouse flick. 

In truth, I rather enjoyed it even with its lack of real horror.  Nice nod to the first while moving ahead on its own path.

NIGHT SHIFT Content:  My NIGHT SHIFT co-author Jason Vey also watched this movie a couple of days ago and agrees it would make for a very fun NIGHT SHIFT setting. So expect to see some more from either or both of us on this. 

Watched: 60
New: 41


And that is it. Another October Horror Challenge in the bag. 60 total movies, 41 new. I am already looking at the movies for next year.

Friday, October 30, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Witchcraft of the 70s

I want to get in some Witchcraft documentaries from the 70s.  These really cover what formed some of my earliest thoughts on witchcraft and the occult.

These movies are not really horror, but they good supporting movies for all the horror movies I typically watch. All these titles received an X rating when they were released but are really all pretty tame.  

An interesting note that all these films feature Alex Sanders and Maxine Sanders.

Legend of the Witches bluray cover
Legend of the Witches (1970)

This is a nice weird one and It is part of a larger DVD/Blu-Collection I grabbed from Amazon.  The first part is a slow narration over scenes of the moon and sun rising and setting in glorious black & white.  It reminds me a little of the start of Aradia, Gospel of the Witches.  We get to the creation of man and we see a number of neolithic shamanistic cave paintings. 
We get to the part about witches with prerequisite naked dancing under the moon.

We get to see a witchcraft initiation, which looks a bit Gardenarian or Alexandrian (checked it is Alex Sanders, so Alexandrian). We get some history of England including the notion that William the Conqueror was the son of a Witch, and Robin Hood had a coven. This leads to a bunch of material about witches including the witch hunts. 

Different witch rituals are shown from wicca to Luciferian with copious amounts of nudity (likely the source for the X ratings) but nothing even remotely shocking really.

Secret Rites (1971)

This one starts off with a "witches orgy" and a woman being dragged to "unspeakable obscenities" but fear not! Her lover "John Goodfellow" has come to rescue her brandishing a cross and rebuke witches as if they were vampires.  The scene freezes and our narrator continues in saying that this has been the perception of witches for years.  We cut to Alex Sanders who tells us it is complete rubbish. 

This covers the initiation of a new witch into Alex's coven. As well as a very brief look at his discussion group (likely brief since there is no nudity), a Wiccan handfasting, and even a Great Rite.

The following were included on the same DVD. 

The Witch's Fiddle (1924)
A man gets a fiddle from a witch that can make anyone dance. 

Out of Step (1957)
A documentary series that covers witchcraft in this episode.  Interviewed are Margaret Murry, Gerald Gardner, and Alastair Crowley's friend, Louis Wilkinson. 

The Judgement of Albion (1968)
From Robert Wynne-Simmons, the director of Blood on Satan's Claw.  Based on the poems of William Blake. It is a trippy little flick where faeries, in the guise of young college students, still roam "A Green and Pleasant Land" amid modern troubles.  Completely experimental and yet so utterly British. 

All of these movies and shorts reveal an interesting look at Britain at the end of the 60's.  While in the US we were moving headlong into the excess of the 70s and "left-over hippie shit", England seemed to be two different places at the same time. A country aware that it is slowing down even as new prospects are on the horizon and a country whose Pagan past was just a little bit below the surface. These two are likely related to each other.

Witchcraft 70 poster
Witchcraft '70 (1970)

This Italian "documentary" follows the lives of various real witches in England. I say "documentary" because it only details the most salacious elements of the neo-pagan movement in England.  It also conflates all witchcraft with satanism.  Now a few of the people they profile like Alex Sanders dabbled in "the Left-Hand Path" decades before and Anton LeVey who was a Satanist, others like Eleanor Bone and Maxine Sanders were Wiccans.  The Sanders in fact developed the Alexandrian Tradition of Wicca.  In fact, there are many times that what is depicted on screen and what the narrator is telling us is happening are complete conflict.   There is a hand-fasting between Alex and Maxine Sanders which is described as Maxine marrying the Devil in the guise of Alex.  They imply that in all of these "Satanic Weddings" that Alex, as the Devil, gets to have sex with the women first.  A lot of criticism has been laid at the feet of Alex Sanders and Alexandrian Wicca, but this is not one of them. 

Oh there is the implication too that Brazilian witches engage in incest.  If that feels like it came out of nowhere then yeah, I thought so too. In the middle of talking about proper British witchcraft we get this side trip to Brazil. 

Another unforgivable sin (if that word can be used) is that the Narrator (Alberto Bevilacqua) quotes Jacob Sprenger of the Malleus Maleficarum as an authority. 

Finnish witchcraft is shown to have a nubile nude witch submit to a cult leader as her future husband, chosen by the high priestess. 

It is all very Mondo with plenty of blood sacrifices.  There is a bit on Ted Serios and his psychic photography.  Mediums. Krishna Consciousness (which is entrapping all of America's youth!) and some more on Brazil.  Oh. and they spend some time on LaVey.  Plenty of nude women hanging around including LaVey's own daughter and future high priestess of her own sect. There are a few scenes in the LaVey piece that I am sure got in front of some of the artists of White Dwarf

And it ends with Cryonics, or the freezing your body after death.  Cause why not.  Even the start of the 70s was weird.  I guess their issue was the artificial extension of life. 
It feels like some Christian scare tract/documentary.  Better watch out those English witches will get you!

It has an X rating, but there is nothing here that I have not seen in a "TV-MA" series on Amazon or Netflix. 

Reading other reviews online I just watched the Italian version "Angeli Bianchi... Angeli Neri" (White Angel ...Black Angel), not the redubbed, re-edited "American" version. 

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  A few notes.

I have had this game idea for a while now, Spirit of '76, that takes place in the summer of 1976.  It has a solid Americana feel to it and it is inspired as much by movies like "Smokey and the Bandit" and "Convoy" as it is "The Omen" and "It's Alive".  But this got me thinking of a similar idea, only maybe set in England during the end of the 60s, 1968 to 1972 in particular.  Something very Mod but with horror and supernatural elements.   I'd love to set it in London. 

Watched: 55
New: 39



Thursday, October 29, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Demon Witch Child (1975)

Demon Witch Child (1975)
Demon Witch Child (1975)

Another one that has been on my list for a while now.  I had it on tap for 2018, but for some reason, I never got around to it.  I think I just forgot about it. Actually, it is perfect for this year and right now.

Before I get into the plot, such that it is, I want to talk about what this movie represents.  All month long I have been focused on the time period in Europe, and mostly Italian and Spanish cinema, just right before the Exorcist hit.  The sweet spot for me has been 1971 to 1973.  Now maybe someday I'll do a post Exorcist run of movies, but until then this is the film that I will hold up as Exhibit A as to the effect the Exorcist had on filmmaking. 

Demon Witch Child, aka The Possessed and La Endemoniada, has a pedigree of sorts.  Marián Salgado who plays Susan, the titular "Demon Witch Child," was the Spanish voice actress for Linda Blair's Regan in the Exorcist.  So she was handpicked by director Amando de Ossorio for his Exorcist rip-off, er, homage.   The fact that she also bears some similar facial features to the old witch played by Tota Alba helps.

The Exorcist influences are all over this movie.  Susan crawls around, her body (not just head) spins around 180 degrees. She swears, she makes rude sexual comments all the time, she speaks in different languages (though we never hear them).  And it is all a little weird. I honestly got the feeling that the movie was written one way, but when the Exorcist hit more was added. 

An old witch desecrates a church and is arrested.  She is suspected of kidnapping a baby, but instead of talking she throws herself out of a window.  Her daughter (played by Kali Hansa who also spent some of time working with Jess Franco, including one of his hardcore outings, Weiße Haut und schwarze Schenkel, 1976) witnesses this and decides to curse the daughter of a local politician, Susan. 

Susan it seems is now possessed by the spirit of the dead old witch. The make-up effects are pretty good and do a good job of making Marián Salgado look like Tota Alba.  

Sadly the movie goes nowhere really.  Susan sacrifices babies, eats them,  gets people killed, murders a reporter, and comments on how well hung he is before castrating him. But there is also a surprising lack of gore or nudity for the time.  There is a subplot with a priest, our would-be exorcist, how before he became a priest he was engaged.  It is all very random in places. 

This is not the only movie I have seen from the time that suffers a lot from comparisons to The Exorcist, but this one of the most glaring ones. 

Watched: 52
New: 36

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Possession is always fun in a game. Unless you happen to be the one possessed.  While this movie was obviously about demonic possession they can be other types.  Based on similar tales, I posted about the Eretica Vampire a few years back.  I even used a still from this movie.

Eretica (Vampire)
Eretica (Vampire)
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 6
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 7
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Mind control, Strong and Fast, Witch spells, blood drain.
XP VALUE: 750 

Eretica are the spirits of dead witches who possess the living, turning them into a sort of living vampire.

Unlike the typical Vampire, these creatures cannot Polymorph and cannot create new vampires.  In their host form, they can also move about during the day and are immune to holy items.  In their "possessed" form they have all the standard weaknesses of vampires. 
They can witch spells at the 4th level of experience.



Wednesday, October 28, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Baba Yaga (1973, 1975)

Baba Yaga (1975)

I started watching this one a couple of years ago, but for some reason, I never finished it.  I kept meaning to come back to it but never did.  Next thing I knew Amazon Prime no longer listed it.  So I picked up the Blue Underground BluRay of it.  I always enjoy Blue Underground's DVDs and BluRays, so when I saw they had this one I knew I better jump on it.  

So glad I did.  Blue Underground is now listing it as Out of Print.  If the years of doing this October Challenge has taught me anything it is to jump on the movie when you can, I have lost track of all the ones that have gone out of print or have become unavailable over the years. 

Carroll Baker plays a very haunting version of Baba Yaga, one is immediately reminded of Delphine Seyrig's Elizabeth Báthory from "Daughters of Darkness".  Isabelle De Funès plays Valentina, a photographer in Milan. They meet when Baba Yaga's car nearly hits Valentina while she is petting a stray dog.

After Baba Yaga takes a clip from Valentina's garter belt some strange things start to happen.   
Valentina goes to Baba Yaga's home and it is wonderfully creepy. Full of strange antiques, seemingly bottomless wholes, and a doll wearing S&M gear. Though when photographed it is wearing a normal doll's dress.   There are times too when the doll seems to come to life (played by Ely Galleani).  

There is also a clear plastic phone that I am sure was the coolest thing ever in 1975.

When Valentina's models start to get hurt or die she begins to suspect that Baba Yaga might be a witch. 

The movie is slow. No doubt. And it tries to be experimental in places, various hallucinations or visions of fascism or even silent German horror films. But it does have a nice creepy vibe and you never really know what is real or not. 

The story is based on the Italian comic, or fumetti, Valentina by Guido Crepax.  The movie even features some of the art from the comics in the credits and the actors can be seen paging through some of the comics.  Isabelle De Funès certainly has the look of Valentina down.  She looks like she walked right off the page, to be honest. 

The movie is listed as 91 minutes on IMDB, but my BluRay is 83 minutes.  There are some cut scenes on the BluRay that add up to the missing time.  But I am not sure if they are the same missing minutes or not.   They don't really add anything to the movie really. 

Watched: 51
New: 35

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Movies about Baba Yaga in English are so rare. This one was dubbed into English from Italian, so rarer still.  This is not your Russian Grandmother's Baba Yaga. This Baba Yaga drives Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud not a mortar and pestle.  The ancient myths of Baba Yaga were about an old witch that devoured or sometimes protected young girls.  The Swinging 70s Baba Yaga is an older woman that preys on younger women in a carnal way. What would a 21st Century Baba Yaga be like?  Maybe a powerful businesswoman, who employs a number of young beautiful women. Likely models or maybe webcam girls.  In the modern retelling, she is not a predator that eats or seduces the young women, but rather uses them up in other ways. Maybe something like I did with Willow & Tara: Web of Lies.


Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blood Sabbath (1972)

Staying in the 70s tonight. In fact, I seem to be stuck in 1971-1973, but that is fine really.  I had seen this one before but I realized I had never reviewed it for my October Horror Movie marathon. 

Well, there is not a lot to recommend here. A very young Anthony Geary stars as a Vietnam Vet and a bunch of women run around completely naked.   How much of the movie is that? I have an edited for TV version that is only about an hour-long, so at least 20 mins were cut.  He meets up with a woman, Yyala, but he can't find her later. 

It does have Dyanne Thorne as Alotta, Queen of Witches.  So there is that I guess. The biggest issue is that the movie is so slow. 

I remember first wanting to see this for the overt association with hippie culture and witchcraft and it certainly has that.  Alotta makes for a good if somewhat stereotypical 70s-era witch. But that doesn't make her less fun.  Susan Damante as the water nymph/witch Yyala is less entertaining, but I think it is because her lines are so bad.  

So to love Yyala, David has to get rid of his soul. A bargain the Witch Queen is happy to oblige him with. Then of course the horror ensues. 

It is pretty typical of the Occult 70s right before the Exorcist hit the theatres. Lots of jumbled up occult ideas, lots of weird filming, and plenty of soft-core nudity.  It also pretty much typifies what I call the "leftover hippie shit" of the 60 going into the 70s.

There is a pretty good review of it (with plenty of screencaps) at the Grind House Database.

Watched: 50
New: 34

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
So one idea I had based on this one and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf last night is the PCs find a group of hippies, yes in 2020, but these hippies seem a bit stranger than most. That is because they are all Fey or nymphs and satyrs. Maybe even Dionysis is still with them but instead of wine he the god of drugs. 

The characters run into problems when these fey want them to "Tune in, Turn on, and Drop Out" with them for the rest of eternity.


Monday, October 26, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Blair Witch 2 Book of Shadows (2000)

So this one has been on my list for some time now.  I have hesitated because of all the really negative reviews I have read about it.  But I figure I need to get to it sooner or later and today is that day.

Truth be told I loved the original Blair Witch Project. Such a fun film really. This one had some promise; well...at least promise in my mind.  Mix a goth girl and a Wiccan in the Blair Witch mix? That should have been a hit for me.  And there is the seed of a good movie here, but it got lost somewhere.

Many of the actors are not great, but thankfully many of them got better. Jeffrey Donovan for example moved on to much bigger and better things. 

The beginning starts promisingly enough and then the middle drags a bit.  Again, there are all the elements of a good movie here, just not put together well.  Like getting some furniture from Ikea, but not having the instructions. 

I kinda like the mystery, reminds me of the first movie in that respect, but none of the claustrophobia. 

While it didn't live up to its predecessor it was not as bad as I was lead to believe. Oh it was bad, just not awful. 

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  So the Blair Witch Project, in any form, is great for a Modern Supernatural game. An ancient witch coming back to haunt people? That is great stuff.

The memory blackout is a good plot point and easy to do in a game, even if it can be a bit cliched. 

Watched: 49
New: 33


Sunday, October 25, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Satanic Sunday

We are in the last week of October. I am sad to see it go.  But we still have the whole week and I am going to watch as much as I can.  I had some movies still on BluRay so I thought I'd make a theme weekend of it. 

Inquisition (1976)

Another Mondo Macabro purchase.  This is Paul Naschy's first directorial effort. The Blu Ray is quite nice, you could almost believe it was originally filmed in HD. The transfer is very good. Naschy is his best leering self and chews up scenery like no one's business. 

It's the 16th century and witches, warlocks and the devil is everywhere.  At least that is what Benard de Fossey thinks.  One by one all the beautiful women in the village are accused of witchcraft and find themselves at the mercy of de Fossey. 

It is largely an excuse to have a bunch of naked women getting tortured. Even so a lot of effort went into this one. There is the witchhunter's manual that is as nicely illustrated as any Monster Manual.  I'd love to get some art like that for a monster book. 

There is a witch, of sorts, and she recruits our star, Catherine (Daniela Giordano).  The scenes of the witches' sabbat are trippy and Naschy pulls double duty as Satan.  Triple duty really since he also plays the Grim Reaper. 

The ending is not entirely unexpected but still, there is a nice twist ar the end. 


The Demons (1973)

Jess Franco is as notorious as Paul Naschy.  But in some ways I like Franco better. It's nothing I can put my finger on, I have just seemed to like his movies a little more. This movie though is a touch sleazier than his others.  This one also reunites Britt Nichols and Anne Libert with Jess Franco. Their last outing together was La fille de Dracula in 1972. Though this time Brit Nichols and Anne Libert play sisters and not cousins. 

This one begins with the trial and burning of a suspected witch.  She curses all who are there, by saying her daughters will avenge her. 

We switch to a convent where two orphans have been raise. One Margaret (Carmen Yazalde appearing as Britt Nichols) is good and pure, but Kathleen (Anne Libert) daydreams (a sure sign of sin) and moans and writhes in her sleep at night.  So she is obviously possessed by the devil.  Sure enough, these two girls are the daughters of the witch.  We are treated with not one, but two scenes of Katheleen being "seduced" by the devil.  

Lady de Winter (Karin Field), an eyewitness to the execution of the witch arrives at the convent. We discover that Kathleen, unlike her good sister, is no longer a virgin.   She is taken, strung up on a wrack, and tortured.  Lady De Winter seems to get off on the torture. While Lord De Winter pities the poor girl.  She is found guilty of witchcraft, of course, and sentenced to be burned.  But Lord De Winter sets her free in the night.  She finds the home of a painter where she stays. 

While that is happening Margaret is back at the coven praying when she is visited by the ghost of her mother and then by a servant of Satan to "initiate" her.  And no Margaret, putting your cross between your legs won't help.  Now a full bride of Satan Margaret starts in on the convent. First by seducing another nun and then getting her to commit suicide.  She soon finds Kiru "Satan's Favorite Wife."

Kathleen is recaptured, but her captor falls in love with her and wants to escape to England with her. But she manages to escape again and is recaptured.

Margaret finds her way to Lady De Winter's home where she seduces her.  But now she has the cool power of being able to kill anyone she has sex with.  I guess we see that again in American Horror Story Coven. 


Margaret and Kathleen escape, but when Margaret uses her sex magic on Kathleen's lover (who had hunted their mother) she turns Margaret in.

On the pyre, Margret requests a last kiss from the Lord Justice and she kills him.  She laughs while she burns.  In the end, Kathleen finds Kiru.

Not a bad flick, but a little all over the place. The BluRay has a couple of nice features, but not a lot. 

Britt Nichols and Anne Lipert would also later go on to be in A Virgin Among the Living Dead (1973), another Franco movie.  Between 1972 and 1973 they would appear in six movies together. They stopped filming with Franco also at the same time that Lina Romay started.  I am going to try not to read too much into that.


Mark of the Devil (1970)

Also known as "Hexen bis aufs Blut gequält", or "Witches Tortured till They Bleed."

Bleed is appropriate here since this movie is overflowing with blood.   

This features a young Udo Kier as a magistrate over the European Witch Trials in Austria. Naturally, he falls in love with a woman accused of witchcraft.   There is some goings on with the local witch-finder and his gang and church appointed witchfinder.  But honestly, it is just an excuse to make a torture-porn movie. 

The torture is vivid and done well with the effects of the time, but after an hour or so it gets routine.  Starting off the movie with the rape of some nuns sets the desensitizing dial pretty high, everything after is just more brutality.  Or maybe since this is the third movie of roughly the same subject I am getting burned out.

I guess the film was fairly notorious back in the day. I have seen copies of this go for really ridiculous amounts. Not as much "sexploitation" in this as "tortureploitation" as some of the other movies about this time. 

The highlight of this one is Udo Kier, who even then, showed a great talent for acting. 

I looked for "Mark of the Devil Part II" since it featured Erika Blanc, but all I found was a really terrible copy on YouTube.

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-school Content:  A few notes.

A tortured innocent will say many names, but a real witch will never reveal who her sisters are. 
I also need more prophetic dreams for my witches.

Lady De Winter looks like she could be part of the Winters family of witches. She enjoys the torture of the other witches a little too much. But the deviousness with the blonde hair and blue eyes almost makes her a family member by defualt.

Margaret's death by sex is a cool Occult power (for one of my Old-School witches) but it has limited utility in a game.

Nuns and witch covens have a lot in common. 

I also need more witch hunts in my games.  Something for my witches to act against. Especially skeezy ones like from Mark of the Devil.

Watched: 48
New: 32



Thursday, October 22, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: La Fille de Dracula (1972)

While watching Vampire Ecstacy I recalled there were a lot of similarities to this movie.  I ordered it then and thanks to Prime got it this morning.   

I watched this one back in 2013 but the copy I had was a really terrible VHS to DVD transfer.  

There is no comparison between the two.  After watching the BluRay I might pop in my DVD just to see if there are a lot of differences.   This one is in French with English subtitles. 

One thing I didn't cover with my last watching was the Karlstein/Karnstein issue.  The castle is called Castle Karlstein but given the time when it was filmed, I can't imagine they didn't mean Karnstien as in Carmilla. 

The story fits the Karnsteins better than the Draculas any way.

Britt Nichols plays Luisa Karlstein and Anne Libert plays Karine, Luisa's cousin, and lover.  And of course, Franco appears playing a creepy dude.  I mean if you are going to cast yourself in a role you should get your choice right?  

Throughout the movie women are attacked and drained of blood.

Luisa returns home to her dying mother and learns the family secret. Their ancestor, Count Karlstein, was a vampire and mom has been keeping him in the crypt.  Luisa goes to the crypt wakes up great-granddad.  Next time we see her she has fangs and begins to seduce her cousin Karine.  Though from the looks of it, Karine is a willing convert. 

There are some issues with this movie.  Luisa and Karine in their first scene act like they have just met, but later on, Karine tells Luisa about how she always loved her and they were "best friends" growing up.  They even relate a scene where Luisa plucked the eyes out of a bird and Karine cried in her arms. 

And the movie goes downhill, or rather, nowhere from there.  In fact the Luisa/Karine story seems completely disconnected from the Vampire killing plot.  If you assume that it was Luisa doing it then she was a vampire before she encountered the count (and it was the actress, if not the character). If it is the count doing the killings then what exactly is Luisa doing in the movie? Other than to lay in bed with Karine all day.

I learned while doing some preliminary research on this before tonight that this movie is part of a loose trilogy from Franco.  Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972) features Howard Vernon as Dracula, the same role he is playing in Daughter of Dracula.   It occurs before this movie.  Daughter is followed by The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973).  This movie also has  Britt Nichols and Anne Libert, though in different roles than in this one. The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein is also the film debut of frequent Franco star Lina Romay. She would go on to appear in 100 of his movies and they eventually married in 2008, four years before her death. They had been a couple though for 40 years. I forget which DVD commentary it was on, but Franco, in his 80s, still spoke of her very warmly and lovingly.  He would later go on to die a year after.

I think at this point I am a little burned out on Franco. I have another one for the weekend, also with Britt Nichols and Anne Libert, playing sisters this time instead of cousins.  I might save them for another year, but likely not. 

My original, bad VHS to DVD edit, ran 78 mins, the BluRay is 82 mins. The BluRay also has an edited "clean" version.

Watched: 39
New: 26

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
How about this. I have seen a few movies about Dracula's family and a few more about the Karnsteins and their family.  I have done some work on witch families. What about two warring families who patriarch/matriarchs are both ancient and powerful vampires. The descendants can be living, but living under a curse that when they die they become the undead.  The two family leaders have some sort of relation; say like cousins or half-siblings.  A good example would be the historical Dracula and Bathory clans. They shared a relationship by blood and other ties. Or the literary one of Dracula and the Karnsteins; we know that Stoker was a fan of Le Fanu's work and in the Hammer Karnsteins, Dracula is often in the background.

The war between rival families of vampires might sound a little World of Darkness, but it is something that could work well for both an Old-School game and Night Shift. 


Monday, October 19, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)

After watching the "Werewolf Vs. the Vampire Woman" I remembered an old flick from the 70s called "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)."  The werewolf reminded a bit of this flick so I thought I'd dig it up. I had not seen it in years.  

The movie feels like a "Hardy Boys" episode to be honest. Maybe it is how it is filmed.  The acting is not great.  At least Kerwin Mathews ("Robert") is good, but the kid Richie, played by Scott Sealey, isn't.  He has not been in anything else.  George Gaynes makes a cameo as a psychiatrist but is still a decade away from his role in Police Academy.

The movie is a bit slow really.  The only interesting thing about it is some of the werewolf bits (the extended forefinger was very memorable) and the hippie commune.  Now I had memories of these groups. They are obviously Christian of some sort, but they also have some odd things about them, belief in reincarnation and five-pointed stars (not exactly a pentagram, though that is what they call it) on their cross.  I distinctly recall them being more pagan than they are here.  It was the 70s and all sorts of freaky weird shit happened then.  Bob Homel, looking like a hippie John Goodman, delivers a memorable performance as Brother Christopher is what was going to be one of his last roles.   Actually, Brother Christopher is my favorite character. 

The werewolf transformations are pretty good for 1973, we are still a decade away from the genre-defining "American Werewolf in London."

Oh, and since it was the 70s cars explode the second they go off the road.

So the father is bit by a werewolf and now is one.  The only one that knows is the kid. 

What follows is fairly typical werewolf mayhem.

This one makes the connection between werewolf and Satanism more explicit. The scene where the hippies create a circle and Robert can't enter is an interesting one. I am not sure if it is interesting because it keeps the werewolf out or because of the combination of Christian and New Age beliefs.  

The movie is not exactly as I remember it, but it was better than I had hoped for.

Watched: 35
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT and Old-School Content
Werewolves are easy enough, it's the group of Christian Pagans that has me the most intrigued.  I'd likely give Druids the same chance to turn lycanthropes like Clerics do undead.  Though I would make them a little more effective than Brother Christopher was.

Maybe include a sect of Theosophists that are Christopagan
So it's nearly 50 years later, Brother Christopher has passed, but he trained an elite force of Christo-pagan-hippies that travel the remote areas of the West Coast to the Rockies protecting the unwary from monsters like werewolves and sasquatches.  They seem like a group of burnouts, but really they are an effective group.  

Richie though has passed the curse on...

Sunday, October 18, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Patty Shepard Night

I have this disc with a bunch of movies on it. The first one The Witches Mountain I started and stopped a couple of times. I noticed the other movie on the disc, The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman, also featured Patty Shepard in it. So let's make it a movie marathon.  I might have asked for too much in one night!

The Witches Mountain (1972)

Ok. I can certainly be excused for falling asleep during this one. I had to rewind it to rewatch it a bit and I still had no idea what was going on.  I looked it up, turns out, nope. The movie just doesn't make any sense.

This movie starts with a scene of a woman, a little girl, a dead cat, a snake, and a gasoline fire. That in of itself makes no sense but it has nothing to do with the rest of the movie.  

In the next scene a photographer, Mario (John Caffari), breaks up with his girlfriend by canceling his vacation and taking the next job his publisher gives him.  Was the girlfriend the same woman in the first scene? I thought so, but now I am not sure.  The photographer goes to the Pyrenees mountains to take pictures.  He takes some of a woman undressing (Delia played by Patty Shepard) and decides to talk to her.  Sure. Why not. It's 1973 Italy. They decide to travel together, stay at an inn (with the creepiest innkeeper played by the ubiquitous Víctor Israel, who had been in a ton of Spanish horror films) and they hear about a witch's coven in the mountains.  

They find the witches of course and they induct Delia into their coven.  Oh, there is a little more than that, but not by much. In the end, Delia runs off a cliff.

The original title was El monte de las brujas. It was advertised in some of the other reviews I read as a "lost classic of Italian horror" or as an "occult thriller", well it had a solid 70s vibe to it, but that is about it. 

The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)

Also known as "La noche de Walpurgis" or "the night of Walpurgis." 

This one opens with a bit more promise. Two doctors are performing an autopsy on a supposed werewolf and mocking the "stupid superstitions" the whole time.  They remove the silver bullets and the full moon comes out.  The man (none other than Paul Naschy himself) gets up off the table, turns into a werewolf. He kills the doctors and the first woman he sees.

Next, we switch over to Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) and Genevieve (Barbara Capell) driving through the countryside. They are looking for the tomb of Countess Wandessa (Patty Shepard), a Medieval witch, a murderess, and a suspected Vampire.  Instead, they find Waldemar Daninsky (our werewolf Naschy).

We encounter his sister Elizabeth (Yelena Samarina) who seems really weird. Elvira takes an interest in Waldemar after initially not wanting to stay.  But Genevieve wants to leave after being attacked by Elizabeth. 

They do find the tomb, but Elvira doesn't want to open the coffin. Genevieve cuts herself and gets her blood on the corpse of the countess (of course).  Elvira is attacked by a zombie/revenant in the church and this doesn't seem to raise much of an alarm.  Night comes and the Countess rises and starts preying on Genevieve. She is killed and the countess turns her attention to Elvira. 

Waldemar keeps doing his werewolfing, but keeping away from Elvira while he does it. 

Patty Shepard is really channeling Barbara Steele in this as the vampire Duchess.  This was the point.

The movie has it's climactic battle between the werewolf and vampire. With both dying in the end and Elvira walking out into the sunrise with her otherwise useless boyfriend from the second scene. 

This one was a fun romp and really woke me back up from the earlier snooze fest.

Glad I started early, I also found this one.

Crypt of the Living Dead (1973)

Also known as Hannah, Queen of the Vampires and La tumba de la isla maldita.  The set up of this movie sounded so much like the setup of the Palace of the Vampire Queen that I HAD to check it out. 

This one has Andrew Prine (Chris) a couple of years after his bit in Simon King of Witches.  So a Witch King vs. a Vampire Queen.  I can do something with that!  

Chris is here on the island to retrieve the body of his father.  In the process, he manages to set Hannah free. The natives begin to tell tales of how this island used to be known as Vampire Island it will be again.  Hannah tries to spread terror, but she is a rather slow-moving vampire to be honest. She has a helper who appears to be some sort of primitive man; I decided he was some sort of half-turned werewolf.  She is also getting help from Peter (Mark Damon), Chris' father's friend and brother to Mary (Patty Shepard).  

Hannah is played by Teresa Gimpera, though she has no lines.  Between Pine, Damon and Shepard there is an impressive list of movies and TV shows.  Soon after this Mark Damon would go on to become one of the biggest producers in Hollywood.  So the cast is no lacking.  

Sadly the story is slow and Hannah the Vampire never really lives up to her reputation.

Watched: 34
New: 24

NIGHT SHIFT Content
I love the idea of a coven of witches meeting on a mountain top. Maybe to combine the first two movies here, cause they are going to blur anyway, the witches meet over the tomb of their founding coven member, a witch who had been suspected of vampirism.  They are threatened, and this how the PCs learn of them, from the outside by a small pack of werewolves.  To add in elements of the third movie I would set it all on a remote island. Maybe in the Aegean sea.



Friday, October 16, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Frankenstein Night

Frankenstein Conquers the World (1965)

I talked about this movie back in 2015 when I watched War of the Gargantuas. I mentioned then I need to see this movie. Finally got around to it.  

The premise is cool. In 1945 Nazi doctors find the heart of Frankenstein's Monster.  The SS comes and takes the heart and sends it to Japan. They are about ready to study it when the atomic bomb is dropped.

Fast forward 20 years and there are strange things going on. Stranger than the radiation sickness still affecting people.  An odd boy is running through the streets eating dogs and other animals.   The boy seems to be impervious to pain and can heal.  After a bit of back and forth with capturing the child he is discovered not only to be European, but Frankenstein's monster regenerated whole from just the heart.  
Ok, that is cool enough on its own.  Also, the boy is growing bigger all the time.

The movie soon becomes a standard Toho Kaiju movie with giant Frankenstein battling Baragon. Oh yeah, Baragon is in this too, because Japan is just overrun with monsters. This gives us the English title, Frankenstein vs. Baragon.

Lady Frankenstein (1971)

Some more Italian fare tonight.  This one was a total stab in the dark. I wanted another Frankenstein film and this one meets all my other criteria in a movie, especially since I have been on an Italian horror kick this year.  So let's see how it is. It is described as Hammer Films meets Italian Giallo horror.

This is a surprisingly forward-thinking movie for 1971.  Tania Frankenstein wants to be treated as an equal Doctor and Surgeon in her father's eyes.  Sadly though the movie is about as predictable as you think.  The Hammer parts come in with sketchy looking assistants to get the body parts, a monster on the loose, an angry mob,  and lots of death.  The Italian Giallo parts are random nudity and the monster always seeming to catch people having sex.

Tania manages to up her father one by creating a creature that is both strong and intelligent. So both monsters have to fight it out. 

The angry mob comes to burn down the castle (Hammer) while Tania Frankenstein and her monster have sex while it burns (Giallo).  Well. That is not something you see in every Frankenstein movie that is for sure.

Watched: 29
New: 18

NIGHT SHIFT content

Frankenstein's story is a fantastic one and one that we can go back too time and again.  I think if I ever were to use the Frankenstein story in a game it would have to borrow elements from "Young Frankenstein" and the bits on Frankenstein from Supernatural.  The current heir of the family name has found his ancestor's old notes and has begun his own experiments.   Meanwhile the original creature, still "alive" is out there and is drawn to this new Frankenstein to destroy him and his works. 

OR better yet make this Dr. Frankenstein a young woman to honor Frankenstein's original author Mary Shelly.  Yeah. "Lady Frankenstein Conquers the World."


Thursday, October 15, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: Night of the Devils (1972) and Vamps (2017)

I swear with all the Italian horror Giallo movies from the 70s I have seen I should be able to speak Italian. 

Night of the Devils (1972)
A man stumbles and faints in the countryside.
Next, see him hooked up to a bunch of machines in a hospital setting. We assume the images we see of torture and murder are all going on in his mind.  The doctor working on him makes the claim that the patient has no memory of his previous days and no ID.

A woman claiming to know him shows up, but this only sends him into a panic. We later see in flashback what happened.  

Nicola (the man) crashes his car while avoiding hitting a woman (Sdenka, from above) but when he looks she is nowhere to be seen.  We see some locals burying a body (later we learn it was the old man's brother). They are acting like the person needed to be killed. Nicola finds the home of the locals along with Sdenka (played by the lovely Agostina Belli) and they reluctantly take him in for the night. The locals are very rustic, Sdenka even mentions she has never seen a television. 

We soon discover that the family is under a witch's curse. They will become undead after they die.  Said witch is later seen running in the dark and digs up the idol from the dead brother's grave. 

The movie is actually fairly good. Tension is built, there is a lot of mystery with this creepy family. The vampire decay is also pretty cool for 1972.  

Like "Black Sabbath" this movie is based on the Tolstoy novella, The Family of the Vourdalak. Doing a little reading led me to my next film.

Vamps (2017)
Also, known as "Ghouls," but more importantly, "Vurdalaki"

The copy I had access too (Amazon Prime) was originally in Russian and then dubbed and subtitled.  It looked slick but I kept feeling that the voice actors were not doing their characters justice really.

This one deals with the Moyori, or a race of half-human/half-vampires and the six clans of vampires. So a little of Dracula meets Vampire the Masquerade or Vampire Dark Ages. 

Like the original, this one has vampires coming back from the dead to haunt their own families and draw them out for feeding.

Our story focuses around Milena (played by Aglaya Shilovskaya) she is target of affection by both our hero Andrey (Konstantin Kryukov who looks like a young Lindsey Buckingham) and our Vampire Lord who needs her Moyori blood to become a day walking vampire. 

The movie's biggest issue though is the pacing. It is just so slow in places. But it is a good looking movie all the same. 

Watched: 27
New: 17

NIGHT SHIFT content
I did the Vourdalak, or rather, Wurdalak a while back as a vampire that is formed under a witch's curse. I made stats for both OSR games and Ghosts of Albion.  So one for NIGHT SHIFT is certainly in order.

Vourdalak
The Vourdalak or Wurdalak is created by a family curse.  Typically one laid down by a powerful witch on an entire line. When a member dies they will return as a vourdalak to feed on members of their own family.  Sometimes a vourdalak will also spontaneously arise when a member of the family disgraces their family name or when a member (typically a daughter) goes against the wishes of a recently deceased member (such as her father or uncle).

Vourdalak, Master
No. Appearing: 1
AC: 2
Move: 40ft.
Hit Dice: 9
Special: 4 attacks (claw, bite, 2 weapon), vampire abilities (Feed on Blood, Immune to Normal Damage, Mind Control, Regenerate, Repulsed by Holy Items, Spawn, Strong and Fast), Vampire Vulnerabilities (Stake Throw the Heart, Holy Water, Cannot Polymorph)
XP VALUE: 1,400

This is usually the one cursed by the witch and the one that will turn all the other family members.

Vourdalak, Spawn
No. Appearing: 1-6
AC: 6
Move: 30ft.
Hit Dice: 5
Special: 2 attacks (claws, bite), Cannot mind control. Cannot Polymorph. Cannot create new vampires.
XP VALUE: 200 

These are the other family members. Unlike the Vampire Spawn, these creatures are Strong and Fast.

No Vourdalak can polymorph into animals.

 


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Unholy (1988)

This one came up while I was doing some reading up on The Devil's Nightmare.  On the surface, it has a lot going for it.  I liked the recently passed Ben Cross as an actor. Nicole Fortier (who never really appeared in anything else before or since) makes for a very attractive Demon. And the story sounds like it has some potential. 

The movie opens with a priest confessing before the altar.  While he prays a nude redhead woman shows up.  She caresses him and then rips out his throat.  

Later, a priest, Father Michael (Ben Cross) arrives to administer the last rites to another murder victim. He is warned that she is coming for him.  Three years later Father Michael is attempting to talk down an attempted suicide when he is pulled out a window and falls 17 floors to the ground.  He wakes up in the hospital with hardly a scratch on him.  Hal Holbrook, playing Archbishop Mosely, decides that Micheal is ready to run his own parish, but there is more to it than that. Michael is getting the church where the priest was murdered three years ago.

We learn from Ned Beaty that not one, but two priests were murdered in the church. One other a year before Father Dennis.   We learn a bit more about the case including meeting Millie (Jill Caroll), a girl Father Dennis tried to save from her job in a local "satanic" themed club.

Father Michael starts seeing some strange happenings and even a dog gets sacrificed on the altar. 

The movie starts to drag at the half-way point, never really going anywhere.  In fact, we don't even learn the demon's name, Desiderius (Latin, "ardent desire"), until about 1 and 20mins into the movie. The final battle doesn't get started until an hour and 25 mins in. 

Nicole Fortier makes for a very fetching demon, even if she never has any lines.  


I also find it a little interesting that I never saw this one when it was out.  I mean this was at the prime of my Horror VHS renting time.  But I was also in college so cash was not a luxury item.  

At this time I also had a red-headed girl-friend and I can assure you that their reported demonic powers are an exaggeration.  But only by a little. 


There is a great scene at the very end of what can only be described as Clerical Turning.  It works here. 

Make no mistake. This is not an Oscar-caliber movie and Ben Cross acts circles around everyone else.  But it is a fun little romp.  Ben Cross would right after this star as Barnabas Collins in the NBC mini-series remake of Dark Shadows. I have been meaning to rewatch it someday.

Watched: 23
New: 15

NIGHT SHIFT Content.
Ben Cross' Father Michael makes a great Theosophist/Chosen One multiclass in Night Shift.   I might have an older, now semi-retired, Father Michaels show up in a game one day, playing the role that Trevor Howard as Father Silva played in this movie.  I also just learned that this was the last movie that Trevor Howard was in. 

I am also thinking that a Cinematic Horror New Orleans. This movie, Cat People, maybe even the Interview with a Vampire and The Vampire Lestat among others. 




Monday, October 12, 2020

Monstrous Monday: Monsters of the Basque

“El sueño de la razon produce monstruos” - Francisco Goya

The sleep of reason produces monsters. Or in my case right now the lack of sleep produces monsters.


Yesterday I watched The Baztán Trilogy and it featured, or least talked about, three monsters from the Basque region of Spain. 

While I have seen variations of these creatures from other myths and regions, this was the first time I had seen them under these names. So let's give them a bit love.

Basajaun
Large Monstrous Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral [Neutral Good]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 4 [15]
Hit Dice: 5d8+10* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam
Damage: 1d6+3, 1d6+3
Special: Stay hidden 95%.
Size: Large
Save: Monster 5
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: None
XP: 525

The Basajaun is a type of large wild man of the forests similar in many respects to the Sasquatch and Yeti.  It also has commonalities with the Wood Wose due to it's more benign and protective nature. They are tall (9') humanoids covered in course black and brown hair. 

The name Basajaun means "Lord of the Woods". The plural is basajaunak and the female of the species is a basander.  They are suspected of building megaliths with their immense strength and keep flocks of sheep.  They are a shy and reclusive species, speaking only their own language, although a few know the local languages.  They are averse to fighting but will protect their lands if necessary. 

They can avoid being spotted 95% of the time. Often they are just confused for a large bear.  They can be recognized though by the whistling they do to communicate with others of it's kind.


By Luistxo eta Marije
originally posted to Flickr as
Izenaduba-Olentzeroren etxea
CC BY-SA 2.0

Tartalo
Large Fiendish Humanoid
Frequency: Very Rare
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 120' (40') [12"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 6d8+12* (32 hp)
Attacks: 2 fist slam or by weapon
Damage: 1d6+4, 1d6+4 or 1d10
Special: Magic required to hit, evil eye
Size: Large
Save: Monster 6
Morale: 6 (6)
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 660

The tartalo is another large creature found in the Basque region of Northern Spain. It appears as a cyclops or as a one-eyed ogre. It has a fiendish glint in it's one large eye.  Many scholars of the occult believe they are connected to demons, either by birth or by actions.

The tartalo lives alone in caves. They are 10' tall and only speak in simple grunts. They do seem to be intelligent, it is just speech is beyond them. Only males have ever been spotted leading scholars to conclude they seek out young maidens as their "wives."  

Anyone wandering into the cave of the tartalo runs the danger of becoming the monster's next meal.  They prefer the taste of young men and women, especially ones that have not been baptized (or dedicated to a god).  Their tactic is to use their "evil eye" to stun (treat as a Hold Person spell) their victims. They will kill and eat any young men and anyone over marriage age.  They will keep the young unmarried women to birth their monstrous sons.  These women when then also be killed and eaten.

The only treasure a tartalo has is a fine wrought golden ring.  The ring is a curse and anyone wearing it will be known to any other tartalo in the region and they will seek the wearer out to kill them. 


Inguma
Small Fiend (Demon)
Frequency: Unique
Number Appearing: 1 (1)
Alignment: Chaotic [Chaotic Evil]
Movement: 180' (60') [18"]
Armor Class: 2 [17]
Hit Dice: 12d8+12* (66 hp)
Attacks: 2 claws, nightmares
Damage: 1d4, 1d4 or 1d10
Special: Magic or +2 weapons required to hit, cause fear, nightmares, ability drain
Size: Small*
Save: Monster 12
Morale: 10
Treasure Hoard Class: See below
XP: 1,900

Inguma is a demonic lord of sleep and dreams. He is believed to create incubi and can give his followers riches if they give him his preferred sacrifices, that of baby girls before two years of age.  He commands a small sect of Mara Witches.

Though small, he is a powerful demonic lord.  He can cast Fear and Nightmare three times per night. His physical attacks are weak, but he can gain entrance into the minds of sleepers, save vs. death to avoid. Once there he will invade the dreams and learn all the victim's secrets. Their sleep is disrupted so they can't heal normally nor will spellcaster regain their spells. By the third night of the invasion, the victim begins to lose Constitution points at the rate of 1 per night.  Only an exorcism (cleric) or cleanse (witch) spell will remove the influence of Inguma.  Often Inguma forces his victims into suicide long before they succumb to his draining effects. Each night the victim must make a save vs. death. A failed save means they will kill themselves.

Inguma rarely takes physical form. When he does magic is required to attack him. When he does manifest it is always as what the viewer fears the most.

It is believed that Inguma is the father, or at least the ancestor and patron, of the Tartalo and possibly the Imps of the Perverse. Some incubi revere him as their lord. 

Basque Mara witches see him as their lord and patron and will offer sacrifices to him. He rewards them with riches.

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

Note: I had this one for another night, so I pulled the post to rewatch the HD 106-minute version.  Other than being much nicer to watch I can't really tell where the differences are. I figure I can have an Erika Blanc double feature! 

This movie is known by a lot of different titles.  The original title, La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba, and the title I am currently watching it under, The Night She Arose from the Tomb. 

The version I have is 99 minutes. So not the 88-minute cut version or even the full 103-minute version. Not sure where that rates this one.  

So crazy Lord Alan Cunningham picks up women that look like his presumed dead wife. He seduces them, tortures them and kills them.  All because he thought his wife was having an affair.

The biggest issue I am having with my version of this video is that the copy is so washed out.

Here is a picture of Polly, played by Maria Teresa Tofano, Alan's first victim, and I had to dig it up to see why she supposedly looked like his dead wife or how Erika Blanc featured into it.

Note: On the HD version I rewatched is much nicer and Maria Tofano is quite adorable.


and Erika Blanc,


vs the version on my screen:


Yeah. Less than optimal.  This is from the same DVD collection that my original copy of The Devil's Nightmare came from. So I should not be surprised.

In fact, some scenes are really screwed up. Split screens, bad color correction, and generally bad lighting.
Note: I am glad I rewatched the HD version.

Eventually, Alan meets a woman he falls in love with, but then all sorts of strange things start happening.  Is the ghost of Evelyn back?

Now I swear I have seen this movie. There is a scene where Alan is talking to all the blonde maids that is just too familiar and the ending.  I must have seen the shorter version under yet another name.  But I recall so little of the rest of it.  And I certainly would have remembered Erika Blanc in this. The music though sounds familiar, but I have heard the same music used in lots of different movies, so that is nothing really.

I was hoping for a supernatural element to this one, but no such luck.

Going to call this one as "Watched Previously" though for the life of me I can't recall when or where.  I even went through all my old October Horror movies but no luck.

I am going to be dragging tomorrow..er today.

Watched: 20
New: 13

NIGHT SHIFT Content
Throwing in another one. I had a lot of caffeine tonight. I'll come up with something.



Sunday, October 11, 2020

October Horror Movie Challenge: The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

This is the movie I thought I was going to watch earlier tonight.

This is an older one and one I had seen before, but have had a difficult time finding it.   When I first saw it, years ago, it was under the title "The Succubus".  This BluRay transfer is a bit better than a copy I saw just a couple years ago.  I noticed I have talked about it, but never gave it a proper review.  I did give it a brief review while watching some 70s horror films a few years back. I figure I should pop it in.  Plus it is a "Succubus Sunday" so let's have it.

The DVD transfer I had is good, but not great, transfer.  Still a lot of hisses and pops from the source. But still viewable. It does seem to have some material cut from it, or I am remembering it wrong.

The Blu-Ray is fantastic. Also, it has all the scenes I remembered.

We start the movie with a woman giving birth in Nazi Germany near the end of WWII.  The woman's father is a Nazi officer and wants to know if the child is a boy or a girl.  The woman dies in childbirth but the baby survives...until the Nazi officer stabs and kills the baby.

The story follows a group of seven tourists as they become waylaid in a creepy German castle.  Turns out the Baron of the castle is the same Nazi officer from the beginning.

The guests gather and we begin to learn a little about each one.  As they begin to talk about the family curse the Baron is under, another guest, Lisa Müller, arrives.  One known to the housekeeper, Martha.  In pure succubus fashion, she is a beautiful redhead with blue eyes.  I'll be honest, I watched this movie for the first time early in my D&D years so a lot of what a succubus *is* for me comes from this movie. Or. Rather, my memory of this movie.

Each guest is revealed to represent each of the seven deadly sins. The deaths are really what makes this movie fun.  Seven Deadly sins deaths years before Brad Pitt screamed: "What's in the box!"  Makes it worth seeing again.

As soon as six of the guests die, the remaining living guest, the seminarian, Alvin Sorelle, trades his own soul to Satan to bring the other guests back to life.  There is a nice twist at the end which really makes the movie memorable.

The succubus, Lisa, was played by cult horror figure Erika Blanc.  Her demonic make-up effects are both understated and extremely effective.  While I know others could see them as cheap, I rather liked it.  Plus regardless, Erika Blanc is great to look at.  It is no shock looking back on this that I have had so many witchy characters with red hair and blue eyes.


The BluRay is so much better than the old VHS I watched back in the 80s and the DVD copy I watched just a couple of years back.  Well worth getting. Mondo Macabro really puts out a great disc.

I was doing a bit of reading before posting and I noticed that "The Unholy" with Ben Cross is a similar themed movie. I will have to check it out.

Watched: 21
New: 13

Ok. Now I am dragging.  Succubi are a fantastic choice in NIGHT SHIFT.  So much so I am planning on posting more about them.  But later.



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