Occult Zombie Murder is all the Fashion in Forgettable Euro-horror Film.
DIRECTED BY GEORGES GIGO (aka JORDI GIGO) /REDEMPTION
BLU-RAY STREET DATE: JUNE 11, 2019/REDEMPTION
If being dull is the worst sin a movie can commit, then Devil’s Kiss is truly Satanic.
Considering that the film opens with an out-there disco fashion show quickly followed by a controversial séance, all taking place in an old Gothic castle, one is justified in one’s bewilderment at how simply boring and embarrassing the whole thing is. Amid the unflattering, ill-placed camera angles (a small stone castle location with low ceilings has ways of limiting a director’s options) and strange onesies being paraded on the nonexistent catwalk, in comes the mysterious and obviously conniving Countess Clair (Sylvia Solar) and her strangely silent partner, Professor Gruber (Olivier Mathot).
We soon learn, she’s the occult backbone of their twisted revenge scheme on the owner of this place; he’s the scientific genius, and also a telepath. (You know this by his cold, blank starrrrrrres). Together, they roughly equal one forth-rate, low-ambition Doctor Doom. Depending on his angle, lighting, and day of the week, the professor has a tendency of looking like old Kurt Russell, old Henry Winkler, or my sixth grade science teacher. She has a way of looking like every Vampira-wannabe late-night TV hostess; a Dick Giordano drawing come to life. That alone makes this movie sound about one-hundred times more interesting than it really is.
Once these two dastardly fiends get their weird, shirtless five-foot-something zombie up and running, castle occupants start turning up murdered left and right. That is, after uncomfortably protracted love scenes between these future victims whom we’ve barely met. These scenes, intended as erotic, are instead completely unintentionally clumsy; every bit as awkward as Woody Allen renders lovemaking in Take the Money and Run, but without the glasses. If this was supposed to be an alluring selling point, time for a return.
Why the Countess and the Professor feel the need to move and then murder everyone via their telepathically controlled undead pauper-ghoul is as clear as mud. So too, is everything else. Essentially, the events of the whole movie could be chalked up to “a bunch of dire stuff that happens”, but barely happens, at that. The only tension in the entire matter hails from the professor’s bum ticker, itself a loudly and often verbalized doomsday clock for him. Every time the poor weirdo uses his homicidal telepathic monster-controlling abilities (or tries to lift any heavy, or stands up too fast), he’s clutching his heart and reminding his uncaring Countess gal-pal that he’s giving it all he’s got, and can’t take much more!
Those accustomed to equating the term “Blu-ray release” with high quality audio and video will also be disappointed. Granted, it’s entirely likely that Devil’s Kiss was a washed-out degraded mess upon release, as it does sport every indication that its shot on mismatched short-ends that turned up in a decades-old Transylvanian freezer. (Occasional blue-tinted dream sequences lend it fleeting moments of European blue tinting). And it’s also therefore likely that this is indeed the best that this movie has ever looked or sounded- even with its reoccurring audible static. Those who prefer that their grindhouse movies to look and sound as degraded as the films are in other ways will, however, be very satisfied.
But honestly, it’s hard to care about any of it. There’s nothing about Devil’s Kiss that begs for continued attention. Redemption, the boutique label known for their loving treatment towards all manner of beloved old horror schlock, even seems to understand that this is a title that’s worthy being spared the celluloid death sentence, and nothing more. Basically, here it is- no extras, no booklet, no nothing- take it or leave it. The wild cover of this new high-definition release is its most attractive aspect.
There are two separate post-synchronized audio tracks, the default one being English, the other being French (with English subtitles on the menu). The availability of these options are very much to Redemption’s credit, as each is comparable in sound quality. It is strange, though, that Devil’s Kiss itself being a Spanish/French co-production (it took two major countries to make this??), has no Spanish language representation. But, oh well. Call it the Devil in those details.
Suffice to say, there’s no devil nor much in the way of any earnest kissing in Devil’s Kiss. All the more misleading is the far more ridiculous original title, La perversa caricia de Satán, meaning, “The Perverse Caresses of Satan”. Why anyone felt the need to change it at all, much less change it to the tamer and shorter title it now bears, is a mystery. After all, if you must polish a turd, you might as well pour the wax on thick, right?
Nope. Even that logic eludes this film, even after its release. But, then again, the global market for crummy Eurohorror had a way of being a grossly practical and unforgiving terrain. Movies like this could be kicked around, cut apart, and re-branded to the hearts content of any number of barely interested parties. (On account of, there were no interested parties- including the people who made it. Need proof? Watch this movie). It’s some kind of perverse miracle, then, that the zombified remains of Devil’s Kiss have staggered back into the land of the living. For the surely rare interested parties in this digital day and age, here is the fruit of whatever thoroughly wasted request they’ve made of their Satanic majesty.