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Film Review: The Devil’s Nightmare (1971)

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SYNOPSIS:

Seven tourists are stranded in an old European castle for the night when they realize that that are soon going to have their souls offered up to Satan himself.

REVIEW:

Director: Jean Brismee
Starring: Erika Blanc, Jean Sevais, Daniel Emilfork

Our movie begins during World War II where Officer Baron von Rhoneberg (Jean Servais) is about to become a father. He soon finds out that his wife has died during childbirth, which doesn’t disturb him nearly as much as the fact that she gave birth to a girl when it’s obvious that he wanted a boy. His corporal, Hans, escorts the midwife down stairs and we then see Rhoneberg pull a bayonet from its sheath and he disturbingly and slowly sinks the blade into the chest of his baby daughter. This scene alone would never have been allowed in an American film.

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Flash-forward some 20 years or so and we find our beloved Baron nestled cozy in his castle being interviewed by a nosy reporter. Afterward, and being told strictly NOT to take photographs of the castle, our reports does just that and starts clicking away. She learns to regret that as we see her expression as “something” attacks and kills her.

The locals find her and state that she appears to have been scared to death. The only odd thing is a mark on her wrist.

We then meet our seven “heroes” of the story. A group of tourists who have apparently have a bus driver who isn’t quite sure where he’s going. After stopping to ask directions from a creepy old man (Daniel Emilfork), they realize that they will not make the ferry in time and their best course of action is to stay in a local castle where they may find a warm place for the night.

As the group mingle in the castle we are then introduced to Lisa Muller (Erika Blanc), a beautiful young woman who has a secret that she isn’t quite willing to let out quite yet, but as the night goes on, each member of the group find out that they are all in danger of losing their souls to Satan and must fight to save their very souls and lives to get out of the castle.

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This Belgian film from the 70’s has a lot of what I loved to watch in these older horror films. There’s a dark foreboding wood, a creepy cold dark castle, a maniacal bad guy, and a drop dead gorgeous woman who is usually a vampire, witch, or in the case of The Devi’s Nightmare, a succubus. This movie has everything that you would want in an old horror movie. The sets are beautiful, the choreography is amazing, the music is just right, there’s death, sex, and nudity.

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Now the seven tourists are the big downfall of this movie. They each are supposed to represent the seven deadly sins, but what they manage to be is duller than anything. They are very one dimensional with almost no passion in their acting. The Baron and Lisa are both great on screen. They keep up the evil creepiness that makes them great bad guys.

This movie, for its time did manage to surprise me with some of the scenes. First and foremost, the death of the infant, which normally you would see the Baron pull the bayonet out and the camera would pan up to his face and it would “allude” to the fact that he killed the infant. Not in this movie though. Here we see, not only the blade go into the infant, but blood come out. The sex scenes are also very bold for this time frame. I think this movie would have turned out much different if it were made in the USA at the time.

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The Devil’s Nightmare is a good movie if you know going into it that the majority of the characters are not worth watching. Honestly though, you watch this movie to see Erika Blanc and that’s about it.

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