Monday, July 19, 2010

Honourable Mention: The Devil’s Lover

I call, as you know, this section honourable mention but that does not mean that every piece of media included is good. In truth the Paolo Lombardo directed, 1972 flick, L'amante del demonio. Is a bit of a snooze fest in the main. It does, however, have a fleeting vampiric visitation.

The basic story is that three girls turn up at a castle a little too late to get the guided tour. Not to worry, they’ll bribe the guide. As it is he has left for the night but the curator (for want of a better description) offers to show them round himself.

It quickly becomes apparent that the lead girl (unnamed in this section but later referred to as Helga (Rosalba Neri, The Devil’s Wedding Night)) is not interested in history, she has come to debunk the idea that the castle is owned by Satan. They ask for hospitality and are fed and given rooms for the night.

finding the portrait
The girl wanders off during the night and finds a portrait of a woman in flames that she recognises to be herself. She exclaims that she is burning and passes out. She awakens in a field, wearing a peasant dress and is now Helga. The rest of the film is about her and her wedding, and the appearance of the Devil into her life. So, where are the vampires?

masked man
During the film, because a man (the devil in a red hood it turns out) saw her wedding dress, she believes herself cursed. A witch suggests that she must invoke an old pagan goddess up on the hill, whilst two virgins are with her, to break the spell. The two virgins, her friends Eva and Wilma, become nervous, wander off and get lost. Thy meet the witch who offers to lead them to the village but two men in masks watch them.

the vampire
Despite the fangs on the mask this is not quite our vampire moment. The men grab the girls and drag them to a cave where a group of men and women indulge in an orgy. It would seem they are to be raped but quickly become willing participants with each other. Then a blonde woman, holding a cloak over her face ala Lugosi, enters the cave. She bites the girls on the neck – this, it would appear, is our vampire.

sallow with bite marks
Helga wakes up – was it just a dream within a dream? She goes outside and sees Eva and Wanda who come towards her. She is so relieved that, at first, she doesn’t notice that they are grey and sallow of skin and have punctures in their necks. They go for Helga… who screams and then suddenly is in an abandoned building with a man (Edmund Purdom, Nightmare City) who turns out to be the devil, but that is another, rather languidly paced, story.

Not a great example of Italian horror but a fleeting visitation of a vampire. The imdb page is here.

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