Halloween Horrors 50 for 31: The Devil’s Nightmare

October 19, 2011 at 11:53 pm Leave a comment

The Pure Terror box set could just as easily be called the Italian/Spanish horror box set. That is what half the movies I end up watching seem to  be. The Devil’s Nightmare is from the Italian’s. Funny thing is, all of the Italian movies want to pretend they are taking place somewhere other than Italy. Today, it seems like they want us to believe this is Germany. Why not!

The story is pretty simple on this one. Seven tourist representing the seven deadly sins end up at a castle and have to spend the night. They are told about a succubus in the area whom occasionally haunts the castle and kills people. The Baron of the castle has a curse on his family that the oldest daughter will always be a succubus. The Baron thought he took care of that problem when he stabbed his infant daughter fresh out of the womb in the opening scene. So the succubus picks off each of the avatars of deadly sin until she is left only with the, presumably, prideful priest. For him she needs to call in the close, El Diablo. The priest gets trapped in a church by The Devil. Since living there for the rest of his life, never leaving, doesn’t seem too appealing, the priest makes a deal with the devil to free the other six. Arguably, The Devil doesn’t keep his end of the bargain. I would have a lawyer look over the contract if it hadn’t burst into flames upon signing.

The Devil’s Nightmare is only a kind of clever idea, poorly paced, and kind of dull. Only a few of the people representing the seven deadly sins are obvious. Like the bus driver whom resembles Joe Don Baker’s Mitchell, always munching on chicken legs and whole salamis, even while driving the bus. Sloth is a very lazy lesbian girl who sleepwalks her way through the movie. I don’t know if she just wasn’t a very good actress or really good in the role. There is a grouchy old fella who I think is Wrath. The greed girl gets buried alive in gold dust. After that, it gets kind of murky as to who is who around here. While the action picks up when the succubus is killing people, for most of the movie just features a lot of padding. Either the villagers and house hold help are explaining all the back story or the tourist are bickering with each other.  People don’t start dying until the 45 minute point.  It’s not like they spent that time developing the stock characters. They try to develop them but it’s as simple as each one of them represents a deadly sin.

Which brings me to my real problem with the movie. It’s a world without heroes. With the characters sins so obvious, its hard to get too invested in any of them. They aren’t brashly unlikable but they do come off as straw-men for sin. We aren’t cheering of the succubus, even though she is brilliantly played. I hope we aren’t cheering for The Devil, who is always played extremely well. The priest ends up as the de facto hero. While he does make a sacrifice for the good of the team, his sacrifice is rendered moot by the twist ending. He seemed way too willing to bargain with the devil too.

The Devil’s Nightmare has some interesting parts and performances but really it takes too long to get to any of them. The movie starts strong then drags on for the next half hour or so then picks up again. A lot of the reviews I read get excited over the brief lesbian scene in the movie but that is so standard for Italian horror, I’d be shocked if there wasn’t a scene like that in the movie. It’s nothing I haven’t seen before in all these movies. I can’t recommend this movie to anyone. I don’t think it left much of an impression on me.

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