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December 8, 2011

Movie Review: Devil’s Kiss (aka The Wicked Caresses of Satan, La perversa caricia de Satán, 1975)

Directed by Georges Gigo

Reviewed by Greg Goodsell

Medium Claire Grandler (Elvira lookalike Silvia Solar) harbors a longtime grudge against the De Hassenmont family for driving her husband Philip to suicide. Accompanied by her mad scientist friend, Professor Gruber (as Oliver Matthau) she befriends the Baron De Hassenmont by holding a séance at one of his many deliciously dull castle soirees.

Buy The Devil's Kiss on DVD from Amazon UK!

The Baron invites the pair to stay on at the castle to continue their research into the black arts and telepathy, rent free. Huh? De Hassenmont can’t be all that bad, but Claire as we shall soon learn is a vindictive little minx. Befriending a perverted dwarf, Claire and the professor reanimate a mutilated corpse – a skinny chap with facial scars – who strangles the baron. Very shortsighted, Claire and the professor now face the prospect of sleeping under bridges without their benevolent host, but never fear – the baron’s cheesecake photographer nephew steps in and allows them to stay on anyway. The hulking monster comes back to life to strangle the castle’s frequently naked chambermaid, in addition to a few other hapless souls who stumble into the castle at the wrong time before the cops arrive.

This opus is a good as explanation as any as to why they call it “Eurotrash.” Very little in the harebrained story makes ANY sense, and there is a lot of unintentional humor to be found along the way. Professor Gruber has a bad ticker and melodramatically clutches his chest at every opportunity, in the manner of Red Foxx on TV’s “Stepford and Son.” “It's the big one, Elizabeth! ....” Claire has the poor infirm man haul heavy caskets around, so you know later on that this will become a major plot point. When her faithful dwarf sidekick kicks the bucket later on, Claire dismissively call shim “Just another grave in the churchyard who was soon be forgotten!” In one scene that echoes the excesses of Paul Morrisey’s Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (1974), the promiscuous maid, resurrected from her strangulation death at the hands of the monster provides some unknowing necrophilia to her amorous boyfriend who invades her bedroom!

Devil’s Kiss was the work of four-time director Georges Gigo (discounting porn), who would later helm Paul Naschy’s Exorcismo. Gigo puts in a cameo as the announcer of a fashion show with a total of eight models attired in the worst glam-rock fashions imaginable. Eagle-eyed viewers will also recognize Jose Ruiz Lifante, most famous for portraying Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue's creepy photographer, but he is given very little to do here.

If you have an unquenchable hunger for all things greasy and bad for you, Devil’s Kiss is just what the mad doctor ordered. Seen in countless versions under countless names, the film is available on DVD courtesy Arrow Video. Other than chapter stops, the only real extra is a Eurocine trailer reel.

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