Friday, May 20, 2016

Honourable Mention: Curse of the Devil

Regular readers will know that we do like a Paul Naschy film here at TMtV, so when friend of the blog Ville contacted me and suggested I looked at this 1973 Carlos Aured directed movie starring the Spanish horror movie great I was a tad confused as to why I hadn’t already looked at it.

Checking it made it very clear that I had seen the film and, as Ville points out, it does feature María Silva as Elizabeth Báthory and that would normally guarantee a feature. All I can think is that her role was so very small in the film that I then overlooked posting – a terrible omission and one that is being rectified with this post.

Bathory's head
It begins with two knights facing off, one a Báthory and the other Irineus Daninsky (Paul Naschy). Irineus states that the magic that Báthory is known for will not aid him against Daninsky’s sword and this proves to be true. Watched in secret by Elizabeth and her companion, Daninsky fairly and squarely beats Báthory and then cuts off his head. Elizabeth heads back to the castle, though she knows that Daninsky will come for her.

Drinking blood
At the castle she indulges in a black magic rite that involves blood sacrifice and drinking of said blood. Just as she’s taking a gulp from the goblet one of her guards comes in, an arrow in his back, closely followed by Daninsky and his men. The companion escapes but Báthory and her handmaidens are captured and executed – they by hanging, her by being burnt at the stake. Before she dies she offers one of those convoluted curses to the effect that when one of Daninsky’s descendants draws blood from the firstborn of one of her descendants then that Daninsky and all his issue will be cursed.

The wolfman
That is the last we see of Báthory but when, centuries later, Waldemar Daninsky (also Paul Naschy) shoots at a wolf (with a silver cartridge his servant puts into the gun) but finds the body of a gypsy, he sets the curse into motion. The gypsies ensure that Waldemar is cursed to live the living death of the werewolf. However we don’t get the ghost or revenant of Báthory showing up and hence she has only a fleeting visitation in the film and this is the honourable mention of that visitation.

The Borgo Pass
is another aspect that genre fans will like, however, and that is the proximity of Daninsky’s estate, in this, to the Borgo Pass – highlighted only by a road sign to that effect. There is also a scene of the corpses of victims being treated and about to be cremated to prevent a possible return – but they don’t return and so whether this would have been as werewolves, vampires or zombies is not actually touched upon in any meaningful way. However, standard werewolf myth be that only survivors become werewolves in turn.

The imdb page is here.

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