Devils Of Darkness - Devils Of Darkness(DVD) [Artus Films - 2019]From the mid-1960’s Devils Of Darkness(or as it’s sold here under it's French title Orgie satanique) is a prime shot of over-the-top, often highly campy, and at times silly shot of British gothic horror- the films often labelled as a Hammer Horror knock-off, so this will give you an idea of what to expect. This DVD release appeared on French horror & cult film company Artus Films- it comes presented in a colorful poster/stills filled DVD digipak- which gives the release quite a stand-out look.
Devils Of Darkness( aka Talisman, Orgie noire, Diavoloi tou skotous) appeared in 1965- it was the thirty-ninth, and last film directed Londoner Lance Comfort. Over his career he helmed period dramas, 1940’s British comedy, and one other horror film in the shape of gothic psycho-drama Daughter Of Darkness. On the whole Devils Of Darkness is competently enough scoped- though it features rubbery bats, naff looking graveyard & cave set- but I’m guessing you’ll be expecting such with this type of film.Roger Batty
The picture opens with flash-back to a group of gypsies gathering for a wedding near an ancient graveyard- somehow a nearby crypt is cracked, and out flies a huge bat- this, with a flash knocks over the bride- she falls, and then is buried in a wooded grave. Fairly soon a wind rises, and suave cane carrying & cape wearing Frenchman Count Sinistre(Hubert Noël) pulls the bride from her grave, bites her & announcers she is now his thrall. Then we fast forward to the 1960s where we find a group of British cavers who are visiting a small French village, where on the outskirts our a network of abandoned caves. Fairly soon in said caves they uncover the coffins of both the count and his thrall- then the help of the count- the townspeople are gathering wearing red caps, and worshipping Satan trying to rise him. The films a scatterbrain mix of vampires & satanic horror- and really you have everything you’d hope & expect from such a euro gothic blend- we have a grand gothic house with underground cave network, lots of dusty coffins, the count stalking then digging his fangs into victims, villages praise stone effigies of satan in woodland groves, ropy and cheapy looking graveyards, etc. The films spell is broken slightly when the characters return to the Uk- but they do return to the village relatively soon, as the film moves towards its clichéd vampire movie ending.
On the whole, like many euro gothic films of the ’60s, there’s nothing terribly scary here- it’s more about campy horror atmospherics, over acted villains, and amusing dialogue. If you enjoy Hammer films, and like the idea of a wacky blend of Vamps ‘n’ satanist- I know you’ll have some fun with Devils Of Darkness.
Moving onto this recent DVD- and the new print looks nicely crisp, clear and bright- which does have a slight downside, as it does make the cheap effects look even more so. The version of the film features fixed French subtitles, which I didn’t find too invasive- though it would have been nice, like other Artus releases, if you could have turned them off. On the extras side we get twenty-five-minute featurette finding Eric Peretti discussing the film, it’s actors and related films- it’s in French, but if you’re a French speaker I think it’ll be of interest. Next, there’s a poster & still gallery, which shows some more of the great ‘n’ garish promotions for the film- we lastly get a trailer reel.
With Halloween just around the corner Devils Of Darkness is just perfect for this creepy-yet-campy time of year. If you’d like to score your self a copy of the DVD head over to Artus Films here to get that sorted.