Carola and I sometimes buy boxes full of DVDs , we keep what we like and sell the rest of them. Some time ago we found a nice collection of horror and cult films. There were some great titles in there and quite a bunch I had never heard of. The Devil’s Nightmare being of one of those, a cult/horror movie from 1971. For some reason the DVD had just been standing on our shelve and it never really interested me. I always thought It’d be a film in the vein of some of the Jesse Franco movies, which basically means soft porn (don’t get me wrong Jesse Franco made some great films). But last week I was just browsing through our collection. I didn’t know what to watch and I grabbed this one. I read the back cover and it says: “This DVD version contains the lost lesbian scene as well as the famous dead Nazi-baby scene”. Hmmm okay dead Nazi-baby scene? I thought. I mean the lesbian scene kind of confirmed my prejudice but the dead Nazi-baby scene made very interested. I don’t know why, but it did. So I decided to give this one a go.
The film starts off with a scene taking place in Berlin 1945. A woman gives birth to a child, the father of this child is a Nazi general called Baron Von Rohneberg. Von Rohneberg immediately needs to know the gender of the baby. It turns out to be a girl. And there it is….when he finds out it is a girl, von Rohneberg stabs the baby to death with a knife. Jep, you actually get to see him stab a baby. Holy shit I never saw that before in a movie, that camera doesn’t cut away either. You actually see him stab the baby. But now to the rest of the plot. After this the movie takes you to present day. A group of tourists is on a bus, but the bus can’t go one because they have to cross a river with a ferry. And the ferry isn’t going until the next day. They ask a (creeoy) man where they can spend the night. He points them out to a nearby castle. This happens to be Baron Von Rohneberg’s castle. Von Rohneberg lets them in and allows them to spend the night at his castle. There we also get to meet his servant. Who is very strange and creepy in his own way. In each of the guest rooms he has some horrific story to tell what happened in the room years ago. Later on when everyone is having dinner together Von Rohneberg tells the group about his family curse. His ancestors made a pact with the devil and sold their souls in exchange of his services. Each of the eldest daughters born in his family turns into a succubus. For those who don’t know a succubus is a demon in a (beautiful) woman’s form. They seduce men and in this case kill them. A woman named Lisa (played by Erika Blanc) also came to the castle to spend the night. And she later turns out to be a succubus. She starts to kill of the tourists one by one.
The movie starts of very slow. It takes a while before the killing starts. But there actually is a lot of character building which all falls into place later in the movie. Each of tourists represent one of the seven deadly sins. This is something that made the film very interesting to me. I think they did a good job of adding that extra layer to it. The movie is very suspenseful and has a great atmosphere. Even though the baby stabbing scene was very disturbing and only seemed to be there for shock value in the beginning, later in the story it makes a lot more sense. And when you find out what’s the truth behind that stabbing it makes it even worse and thus the impact even bigger. The only thing that felt a bit out of place was the lesbian scene. It was very early in the movie and I thought there would be a lot more of these sex scenes. But there weren’t. Which I don’t mind, in this case it doesn’t add to much to the story.
The movie is an Italian/Belgian production. The whole movie is dubbed in English. I don’t know if there is a version without the dubbing. But most of the European films from this era are dubbed and I don’t mind actually. I think the dubbing was done well and isn’t in any way annoying, which it can be sometimes. Again I have to mention the atmosphere. The castle, the music and Erika Blanc they all make for a perfect horror setting. And that’s also where the strength of this films lays in my opinion. The death scenes are pretty tame, there is some blood but it’s not extremely gory.
This DVD is the Dutch version and is released by So Demented Cinema. The picture and audio quality are just awesome. A lot of these more obscure films didn’t get a good treatment and were slapped from a VHS onto a DVD and sold like that. But not this one. I have seen a couple of other releases by So Demented Cinema and they all look great. The DVD has optional Dutch and French subtitles, the original trailer, a slideshow and a couple of other trailers of So Demented Cinema releases. I always love it when they put some trailers of other releases on there as well. It’s a great way to get to know some films you never heard of, or maybe have heard of but don’t know if they are any good.
I’d definitely recommend this DVD , if you are into 1970’s euro thrash films you need to have this one in your collection. Of course if you are into classic horror/cult movies, I’d say give it a go as well. You won’t be disappointed.
This film is released with different titles. So if you are looking for this film and not this DVD in particular here are some titles you might find the film under (and yes I just copy/pasted this part from Wikipedia haha):
· Au service du diable
· Castle of Death
· O Demonio Sai a Meia-Noite (Brazil)
· Nightmare of Terror
· La Notte piu lunga del diavolo (Italy)
· La Nuit des pétrifiés
· La Terrificante notte del demonio
· The Devil Walks at Midnight
· The Devil's Longest Night
· Devil's Nightmare (USA)
· Vampire Playgirls (USA)
· Yö paholaisen linnassa (Finland)
· Самая длинная ночь дьявола (Russia)