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The Devil's Kiss (1975)
Director: Jordi Gigó

review by Jim Steel

This film gets one star because if I gave it zero then you might assume that the rating had been mistakenly left off and the film is slightly better than it is. Believe me; this review is going to be more entertaining than the film.

Made by many of the same crowd who would bring us The Man With The Severed Head the following year - and on the same pocket-money budget - this wreck doesn't have the tottering fascination the later film has. The initial what-the-hell-is-going-on confusion eventually gives way to a plodding plot that would make Ed Wood blush. Where to start? A plot summary..? But first we have to get to the plot.

Let's see. There's a French chateau. The Duke de Haussemont (José Nieto) has put on a fashion show, in the cellar. Followed by a séance... As you do. It's possibly an attempt to drum up... actually, I've no idea what he was trying to achieve. His guests aren't too impressed with the séance either and quite frankly neither is the viewer. Claire Grander (the wonderfully-named Silvia Solar) is the clairvoyant and in one respect she can predict what is to come. She has Botox face in 1975 and everything above her bottom lip is immobile. There are a couple of scenes where she valiantly attempts to raise her left eyebrow but it doesn't quite happen.

Meanwhile there are strange goings-on upstairs with the models and a man with massive eyebrows. People, I have big eyebrows. This guy looks like he's stapled two bats to his forehead. At first we assume he's a chauffeur since he gets out of a car at the start, then it seems he's a guest at the event. Next he's wandering around upstairs upsetting the semi-naked models while the séance is taking place. Then he just vanishes from the film.

Meanwhile, clairvoyant Claire, who's staying at the chateau, arranges to borrow a horse and go riding in the woods the next day. She passes a party who are comforting a crying woman who appears to have narrowly escaped being sexually assaulted, before bumping into a man who hovers on the borderline of being both a hunchback and a dwarf (and clearly the same man who upset the earlier woman). She gives him a ride back to the castle where she hides him. Not a word passes between them. I am not making this up.

Now the film moves into its second phase; the part where motive and plot are crudely forced into its shaking body. It turns out that Claire's fiancé committed suicide and the aristocracy are somehow to blame. She has teamed up with Professor Gruber (Oliver Mathau) in the basement and together they are reanimating a corpse (fresh from the local cemetery) with the dual powers of science and Satanism for her revenge. This also probably explains why they wanted a hunchback dwarf. Traditional, innit..?

Gruber, who controls the monster through telepathy, also suffers from heart spasms (please don't try and second-guess the plot - you're only spoiling it for everyone else). The monster (Jack Rocha), looking like a nine-stone Tor Johnson, eventually goes on the world's slowest killing spree. And that's pretty much it. It is not as much fun as it sounds. The man with the eyebrows does reappear near the end and it turns out that he was a servant all along. And that is not a spoiler. Jordi Gigó would later go on to direct porno movies where, presumably, his slippery grasp of narrative structure would prove to be less of a handicap.

The Devil's Kiss



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