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A French-Spanish co-production released by trash film mavens Eurocine in 1976, Devil's Kiss (which is also known as The Wicked Caress Of Satan, the title that appeared on the print used for Something Weird Video's VHS release from back in the day) is, in a word, goofy.
Essentially what was, when it was made, an attempt to update the classic Italian gothic horror films that proved popular in the sixties, the film takes place, of course, at an old ornate castle conventionally located in the middle of nowhere. Duke de Haussemont (José Nieto), the man who owns the joint, brings in a medium named Claire Grandier (Silvia Solar) to hold a séance in the old building as part of the entertainment required for a fashion show that he's involved with. She arrives with Professor Gruber (Olivier Mathot), a scientist involved in some bizarre experiments who also happens to be telepathic, in tow.
Claire, however, is not who she seems. She is, in fact, an aristocratic woman who believes the Duke de Haussemont and his family drove her husband to kill himself in an attempt to swindle his land. The Duke allows her to basically setup shop in the basement, where she and Gruber work with a dwarf named (Ronnie Harp) to resurrect a corpse and exact her plan for revenge! Not surprisingly, things quickly go away…
A reasonably nonsensical film, Devil's Kiss isn't very good, but it is goofy enough to at least entertain in the way that unintentionally goofy films can. Director Jordi Gigó, credited as Georges Gigo, doesn't seem all that sure what to do here, placing completely gratuitous scenes of sex and nudity throughout the film seemingly at random. This results in some pretty drastic tonal shifts on a frequent enough basis that the film never really feels like it has gelled the way it should have. The castle locations are pretty neat, there's a bit of atmosphere here and there thanks to the creaky old building used for most of the film, while the score from Alberto Argudo (who did the score for Naschy's Exorcismo) isn't half bad at all. The effects? Well, the effects are less than perfect but they have their own sort of primitive charm.
Silvia Solar (of Cannibal Terror and Eyeball) is very striking in all of her seventies work. She really stands out here, she's attractive in an interesting way and not a bad choice for the part, doing the best she can with some pretty questionable script choices. She and Olivier Mathot make for an amusing team, though not always for the right reasons. José Nieto is pretty decent in his role, rising above the bad writing and sloppy direction to occasionally deliver some good acting. Jess Franco fans will recognize Evelyn Scott in a supporting role, while Maria Silva (of the Naschy film Curse Of The Devil shows up here too… as does the one and only Victor Israel!
Devil's Kiss arrives on Blu-ray from Redemption Films framed at 1.78.1 widescreen using an AVC encode in 1080p on a 25GB disc. The older DVD release from Image was framed at 1.66.1. the 1.78.1 image shows a bit more information on the left and right sides of the picture but also appears to be squeezed a bit as well. The image shows minor print damage throughout, mostly in the form of small white specks rather than giant scratches or emulsion marks (though some mild vertical scratches do show up here and there). Detail rises above the old DVD and colors look better, more natural. There aren't any problems with compression artifacts nor are there any problems with noise reduction or edge enhancement. Some more cleanup work would have helped here but overall this looks okay.
Audio options are provided in English LPCM 2.0 Mono and French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. Optional subtitles are provided in English. The English track is hurt a bit by some of the print damage when it occurs but otherwise it sounds okay, even if the dubbing is really silly. The French track sounds noticeably thinner and at times the dubbing doesn't match the lip movements of the performers very well at all.
There are no extras here at all, just a static menu screen.
Devil's Kiss was clearly made fast and cheap with exploitation in mind. It has its moments, and fans of Eurocine's typically absurd trash pictures will get a kick out of it, but anyone looking for a serious slice of gothic horror will likely be left wanting. Redemption's Blu-ray looks okay if never amazing, but the barebones presentation is disappointing. Eurocine completists will want this, everyone else should rent it first.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.