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November 13, 2012

Movie Review:The Night Of The Devils (Blu-ray,1972)

Since Raro Video branched out with their American releases over the past couple years, many of their titles (much of them quite obscure) have caught this reviewer by surprise. Whether it’s Plot of Fear or one of my personal favorites, Murder Obsession, I’ve been able to enjoy some movies I knew nothing about from Italian filmmakers. Now, we have Giorgio Ferroni’s Night of the Devils to peak my interest. The movie’s story sounds fun and its available now for the first time on DVD and Blu-ray from Raro, so could it be yet another diamond in the rough?
Most European cult cinema fans will know Ferroni from his excellent feature Mill of the Stone Women. The Night of the Devils was produced several years later and involves a man named Nicola (Gianni Garko, The Psychic) who’s been admitted to a mental hospital where he has some horrific dreams. Rotting bodies, naked women, heat-ripping, faces exploding are all a part of these dreams. Why is he having these crazy visions? After watching Nicola shift and twitch in his bed with his doctors overlooking him, we are shown exactly what made him goofy.
During a drive in the woods Nicola accidentally drives his car off the road, making it all but useless. He hobbles along until he spots two children in a window. It looks safe enough so Nicola enters and finds shelter and help with his car from this seemingly normal family. What he doesn’t know (I know, here it comes) is that the family is being terrorized by a witch living in the village.

As unlucky as he is with crashing his car, shit just got worse as the family starts turning into murderous monsters thanks to a spell from the broom-straddling skag. The mood of the film is great. The score by Giorgio Gaslini is pretty off the wall especially with the fairly serious tone of the movie. Somehow it works and adds a quirky charm to some of the scenes. I did laugh a few times thanks to his score.
For a 1972 film, The Night of the Devils is pretty heavy on the gore. It’s almost on par with another movie made at around the same time called Bay of Blood from maestro, Mario Bava. The FX are some early examples of the great Carlo Rambaldi (E.T, Lizard in Woman’s Skin) and their pretty consistent and explicit in spots. He does a nice job overall.
Raro Video has added a few extras that include a very nice booklet of liners, an interview with composer Gaslini and an introduction by Fangoria’s Chris Alexander. Alexander really knows his stuff when it pertains to Euro-cult cinema. Here he does an interesting, energetic and detailed intro on the movie pointing out other examples from the era when not talking The Night of the Devils .
The quality of the Blu-ray is solid. The colors are sharp and the materials used are thankfully in very good condition. I had a lot of fun with this one.  Anyone interested in Italian horror or some pre-Suspiria witch  horror needs to check The Night of the Devils out. Highly Recommended.

                        Screencaps Courtesy Of Rock! Shock! Pop!

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