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It's an adventure/action movie with sensationalistic scenes , Naif
style and lots of blood , swordplay and witchery .Dark Ages , Gilles De
Lancre (Paul Naschy) , former Mariscal of France , brave chief and
courageous warrior is now a vengeful lord , helped by his nasty
underling Sille (Mariano Vidal Molina) and his beautiful lover
Georgel(Norma Sebre) . He falls into Occultist practices and spend his
money looking the philosopher's stone by means of alchemy . A prisoner
is beheaded and Gilles pronounces a curse against his enemies ,
meanwhile he continues a murderous rampage . Gilles longing for power
and for his ambition on French crown , then he carries out criminal
rampage . He commits ominous killings and injustices against his
vassals . Gilles takes on Gaston of Malebranche who previously was
under his command . As a valiant group of rebels (Guillermo Bredeston ,
Luis Induni) sheltered in woods -such as Robin Hood and his Merrymen-
fight against the tyrant .
This terrifying exploitation picture displays adventures , fencing with bounds and leaps ,necromancy , grisly killing, satanism and lots of blood . B-entertainment with a fairly adventuring and horrifying story in which a prestigious Mariscal of France turns into craziness and undergoes a cruel slaughter . This tale about countrymen who are attacked by the malevolent knight begins well and grows more and more until a spectacular finale with duels and exciting fencing . Revolting, horrible scenes and nasty images take place on decapitation , and bloody murders with axes and arrows .The movie has a bit of ridiculous gore with loads of blood similar to tomato and is occasionally an engaging ¨sword and sorcery¨ movie full of thrilling sequences , witchery , beheading , and several other things . Sensationalistic and exaggerated performance of Paul Naschy or Jacinto Molina . It packs a colorful cinematography by Francisco Sanchez and atmospheric musical score . Filmed in location on Aldea del Fresno, Madrid, Belmonte, Cuenca, Castilla-La Mancha,Pelayos De la Presa, Seseña, Toledo, Castilla-La Mancha, Talamanca del Jarama, Madrid, Spain. The late Naschy was a good professional , writing, filmmaking and acting about hundred titles , mainly in terror genre. ¨Marshall of Hell¨ is written by Molina along with 21 screenplays as ¨Mark of Wolfman¨, ¨Night of Walpurgis¨, ¨Vengeance of the mummy¨, ¨Licantropo¨, among them . He directed 13 films as ¨The Cantabros¨, ¨Return of Wolfman¨, ¨The Beast and the magic sword¨ and several others. Years later , Naschy goes back with a similar character named Alaric De Marnac role in the film titled ¨Horror rises from the tomb¨ and ¨Panic beats¨ that acted , produced , wrote and directed in his peculiar style . This Spanish-Argentinian co-production is regularly directed by Leon Klimovsky . Rating: 5,5 . The flick will appeal to Jacinto Molina fans and Euroterror buffs .
The picture is based on historical character Gilles De Rais , the actual events are the following : Rais served as a commander in the Royal Army, distinguishing himself by displaying reckless bravery on the battlefield during the renewal of the Hundred Years War. In 1429, he fought along with Joan of Arc in some of the campaigns waged against the English and their Burgundian allies. He was present with Joan when the Siege of Orléans . In his confession Gilles maintained the first assaults on children occurred between spring 1432 and spring 1433. The first murders occurred at Champtocé-Sur-Loire; however, no account of these murders survives. Shortly after, Gilles moved to Machecoul where, as the record of his confession states, he killed, or ordered to be killed, a great but uncertain number of children after he committed sodomy upon them. Forty bodies were discovered in Machecoul in 1437. Gilles' body-servant Étienne Corrillaut, known as Poitou, was an accomplice in many of the crimes and testified that his master hung his victims with ropes from a hook . Taking the victim down, Rais comforted the child and assured him he only wanted to play with him. Gilles then either killed the child himself or had the child slain by his cousin Gilles de Sillé, Poitou or another body-servant called Henriet. The victims were killed by decapitation, cutting of their throats, dismemberment, or breaking of their necks with a stick . Rais's prosecution would be on charges which included murder, sodomy, and heresy. The precise number of Gilles' victims is not known, as most of the bodies were burned or buried. The number of murders is generally placed between 80 and 200; a few have conjectured numbers upwards of 600. The victims ranged in age from six to eighteen and included both sexes.Execution by hanging and burning was set and Gilles and his two accomplices made their way in procession to the place of execution on the Ile De Biesse. There, Gilles addressed the throng of onlookers with contrite piety, and exhorted Henriet and Poitou to die bravely and think only of salvation. Gilles' request to be the first to die had been granted the day before. The brush at the platform was set afire and Rais was hanged. His body was cut down before being consumed by the flames and claimed by "four ladies of high rank" for burial. Henriet and Poitou were executed in similar fashion; their bodies however were reduced to ashes in the flames and then scattered.
In days of olde, an evil but beautiful seductress and her alchemist
cohort manipulate a wealthy Baron into serving Satan. He grows more
power-hungry with each ritual killing, until a revolt of the working
class is mobilized against him.
DEVIL'S POSSESSED is a weak offering, ennobled somewhat by Paul Naschy's dependable screen vitality. Despite having a few fleeting gory moments, it's a curiously tame item, and less a horror film than a medieval Robin Hood type adventure with poorly choreographed swordfight scenes. The strongest aspect of this production is the better-than-usual stylistic formulation of its period setting...hardly enough reason to sing great praises.
Forestall Ye this picture, lest Ye perish in boredom. 3.5/10.
Paul Naschy, werewolf of Spain and worldwide horror icon thanks to DVD,
has done a bevy of great work--but this isn't among his finest outings.
This movie centers on two war heroes who have returned from their
fight, Naschy and Guillermo Bredeston. While Paul was away, his sexy
bride (Norma Sebre) employed an alchemist and adopted the black arts.
She persuades Naschy to engage in the dark doings as well and soon he
begins sacrificing virgins to Satan in an effort to rule the world.
Guillermo, as Gaston, who saved Naschy's life in battle, sees the transformation of his battle buddy and isn't pleased. Naschy has effectively planted the seed of terror throughout the kingdom and the master swordsman can only be beaten by an uprising led by Gaston, his military equal. Gaston, in great Robin Hood fashion, leads a revolt against the devil-worshipping Baron Naschy in order to quell the fears of the people.
STORY: $$ (As with most of these Spanish horror films we, US film viewers, don't know what all has been cut for editing purposes. Be that as it may, this story has many flaws that editing had little to do with. At times Paul struggles with his satanic dealings and a great inner conflict could have been had there, but the writers fail to deliver. Naschy hears the voices of dead women and children he has killed but we only get one such seen late in the film. This leads him to make a pilgrimage to cleanse his soul but he decides to slaughter monks instead. The alchemy touch in the script was wanting as well. You'll scratch your head too much in this film).
ACTING: $$$ (The acting is okay across the board. Naschy makes a much better werewolf that aristocrat but he gets decent support from Guillermo Bredeston as Gaston. The two actors were well cast as opposites. Paul has that dark quality which contrasted quite well with Guillermo's more stereotypical heroic looks. Norma Sebre shines as Paul's twisted wife who lures him to do the Devil's bidding with promises of world domination. It's easy to see why Paul went along with the schemes--Norma Sebre is quite exquisite).
NUDITY: None (However, the version I viewed was clearly edited--from the Mill Creek PURE TERROR 50 MOVIE PACK, so there might be some skin in another version of the film. Norma Sebre is nice to look at and in an unedited version she might offer skin. There is probably also some virgin sacrifice nudity in unedited versions but what struck me as odd was Paul had to sacrifice seven virgins to the Devil but he he sexually assaults all the virgins first. Perhaps they weren't as pure after Paul invited them to his chamber).
This misleadingly-titled film should not even really be classified as
horror, despite the myriad diabolic invocations and torture scenes. It
is a good-looking medieval epic with a plot which basically amalgamates
Shakespeare's "Macbeth" (spurned nobleman Paul Naschy being egged on by
his ambitious wife to seize power from the current ruler) with the
legendary exploits of Robin Hood (opposition to the tyrant being
provided by a band of outlaws) cue numerous athletic action scenes,
and there is even a jousting tournament in an effort to catch their
leader (who happens to be the tyrant's former ally) but, rather than
hide his identity, he smiles defiantly at Naschy's wife before taking
on her husband in mortal combat!!
As usual, the star also penned the script attempting to lend sympathy to his character by making him gullible rather than truly evil (he is also shown feeling remorse and being, economically but effectively, haunted by his victims) though he still gets to lose an eye and, eventually, expires from a hail of arrows in clear imitation of Akira Kurosawa's own definitive "Macbeth" adaptation THRONE OF BLOOD (1957). Still, Klimovsky being no more than a journeyman director, the result is too often heavy-handed (if undeniably enjoyable) and, in any case, the countless references to the villain's lust for power as "The Great Work" is not a little silly (especially since he only sends for the man he himself dubs "the world's greatest sorcerer" to this end only after several other alchemists had failed WTF?!). To add insult to injury, the latter is just another quack who even performs the "Wizard of Oz" routine of enlightening the hero through a dead man's skull (when, in reality, he is hiding behind some rocks nearby and talking through a primitive microphone)! Equally anachronistic is the fact that, while generally appropriately robust, the music score is marred by intermittent and completely incongruous electronic passages!
While Naschy's "Waldemar Daninsky" Werewolf effort CURSE OF THE DEVIL (1973) similarly adopted a medieval setting (as did the opening scene of his best outing in that popular series i.e. THE CRAVING ), THE DEVIL'S POSSESSED whose original Spanish title translates to HELL'S MARSHALL was the first of a loose trilogy, to be followed by two the star directed himself (which he actually considered his own personal favorites and that I will be checking out in quick succession): INQUISITION (1976) and THE TRAVELER (1979).
I tend to love everything the great late Paul Naschy (R.I.P.) ever was
in. While not all films starring Naschy are great, they all have a
specific charm that can be found nowhere but in Naschy-flicks, and they
are always entertaining. There is no rule without exception, however,
as "El Mariscal Del Infierno" aka. "The Devil's Possessed" (1974)
proves. While the film does have the specific Naschy-flick-charm, it
sadly drags far too much and gets really, really dull in-between.
Naschy stars as the evil Baron Gilles De Lancré, who oppresses the
people and uses black magic and bloody rituals to stay in power. When
Gaston de Malebranche (Guillermo Bredeston), who fought side by side
with Gilles De Lancré against the British, learns about the Baron's
evil behavior, he decides to turn against his former comrade in arms
and help the people free themselves from the satanic Baron's tyranny...
Directed by León Klimovsky, who is best known for directing Naschy in "La Noche De Walpurgis" ("The Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Woman", 1971), the film was scripted by Naschy himself. Naschy often scripted his own films, and one must say that he mostly did a better, more original job than it is the case here. "El Mariscal Del Infierno" is mostly built up as a historical adventure rather than a Horror film, and it gets quite boring throughout the middle. It often resembles the Sword and Sandal films from the 50s, only that this film is set in medieval times. The Satanic part was probably only added because the great Paul Naschy's name is linked to the Horror genre. The film has its good parts: Paul Naschy giving weird speeches, Paul Naschy looking weird, Paul Naschy doing Satanic stuff, Paul Naschy torturing innocent victims, etc. But sadly, most of the film concentrates on the boring hero and the good guys, and these moments are boring. The female cast members are nice to look at, but, unlike most Naschy films, this one features no nudity and sleaze. There is some gore, but it mostly looks clumsy and isn't as fun too look at as it is the case with most other Naschy films. Overall, "El Mariscal Del Infierno" is only worth a look for my fellow Naschy-enthusiasts. There are dozens of films starring the Spanish Horror deity which should be seen before this one, such as "El Jorobado De La Morgue" ("The Hunchback of the Morgue", 1973), "La Orgia De Los Muertos" ("The Hanging Woman", 1973), "El Espanto Surge De La Tumba" ("Horror Rises From The Tomb", 1973), "Latidos De Panico" ("Panic Beats", 1983), "Rojo Sangre" (2004), or any of the 'Waldemar Daninsky' werewolf films. R.I.P. Paul Naschy. Legends never die!
Devil's Possessed, The (1974)
** (out of 4)
Spanish horror film with Paul Naschy is pretty much Mark of the Devil meets The Adventures of Robin Hood. Naschy plays an evil king who's trying to locate of jewel that will give him eternal life. While searching for that he spends the rest of his days torturing poor people but a Robin Hood like character shows up to challenge him. If you're expecting a gore soaked film then you'll be highly disappointed because this thing would probably get a PG rating. I'm not really sure what it is but I found myself enjoying this a bit more than its rather poor reputation. There's no nudity and very little blood but I enjoyed it somewhat.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The real-life historical figure Gilles de Rais apparently inspired Paul
Naschy--the so-called "Boris Karloff of Spain"--to create two of his
greatest characters. de Rais, a 15th century French knight who fought
alongside Joan of Arc and later became an aspiring alchemist, Satanist
and serial child killer, first prompted Naschy to come up with the
necromancer/Satanist character Alaric de Marnac for his 1973 classic
"Horror Rises From the Tomb." Though beheaded in 1454, de Marnac
(played by Naschy himself) returned to cause major-league mishegas 520
years later in the film, and even came back for an encore in 1983's
"Panic Beats," an even superior outing. In 1974, though, Naschy wrote
the screenplay for a more realistic look at the Gilles de Rais legend,
for that year's "The Devil's Possessed." Here, Naschy plays a character
named Gilles de Lancre, a noble French warrior who returns to his
baronial castle after years of warring with the English. Not given what
he deems sufficient recognition by his king, de Lancre decides to
dedicate the remainder of his life to learning and science. His wife
Georgelle (a wonderfully evil performance from the beautiful blonde
Norma Sebre) and the quack alchemist Simon de Braqueville (Eduardo
Calvo) convince him to seek the legendary Philosopher's Stone, despite
the necessity involved of sacrificing young village maidens to obtain
their blood. de Lancre initially refuses to proceed--"Science should
not be related to crime," he declares--but once on that slippery slope,
he becomes increasingly more power hungry, sadistic and insane.
Meanwhile, an old war buddy of his, the Captain Gaston de Malebranche
(an energetic performance from the extremely likable Guillermo
Bredeston), returns from a four-year captivity amongst the English, is
appalled at the change in his old friend, and opts to lead a rebellion
against the baron and his well-guarded castle....
Basically a sword-and-sandal flick with an increased payload of violence and gore, torture and mayhem, "The Devil's Possessed" has been well directed by frequent Naschy collaborator Leon Klimovsky and features authentic-looking costumes and realistically grubby sets. (Many of these medieval epics look a bit too clean and tidy to me; here, even the baron's feasting chamber looks like the inside of a barn; hardly an ornate affair!) The picture sports some nice outdoor location shooting and a most impressive-looking castle, having been shot in Sesena (30 miles south of Madrid), Aldea del Fresno (30 miles west of Madrid) and Belmonte (80 miles southeast of Madrid). The film's lovely opening theme for strings and flute, composed by Carlos Vizziello, goes far in setting up a medieval atmosphere; his background music often turns decidedly strange, however, such as those electronic blips and blurps that accompany the first Satanic sacrifice at the ruined abbey. Befitting a film of this type, traditional set pieces such as a quarterstaff match, a joust and that aforementioned castle banquet (replete with capering jesters) are trotted out, and the gorehounds in the audience should delight in the film's many scenes of torture (on the rack, with red-hot brands and a red-hot crown, via eye gouging) and mayhem, including a decapitation and any number of sword and knife casualties. The viewer waits patiently for the final showdown between de Lancre and Malebranche--"It could be a great, great spectacle," de Lancre muses out loud whilst thinking of this impending mano a mano--and when it does come, it does not disappoint. (Still, it cannot compare to the awesome sword fight to be had between Stewart Granger and Mel Ferrer in "Scaramouche," or between Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone in "The Adventures of Robin Hood," or between Tyrone Power and Basil Rathbone in "The Mark of Zorro"....) de Lancre is a fascinating character, an epileptic who shows remorse for his sins and is plagued by the voices of the many villagers he has slain. But when he goes to a local church to do penance, and kills an accusing monk while en route, the viewer knows that he is truly doomed. And in a finale cleverly lifted from Akira Kurosawa's "Throne of Blood," that doom really is something to behold!
As for this DVD, from an outfit apparently known as Substance, it gives us a decent-looking print, although nothing wonderful, and backed with lousy dubbing. A bare-bones affair, the only "extras" included are the chapter stops and a list of some of the cast members. Hardly the packed-to-the-gills DVD that Troma offers for the Naschy title "The Hanging Woman," but still, well worth investigating. A project obviously close to Naschy's heart (and he IS terrific in it), "The Devil's Possessed" is an important addition to this great filmmaker's ouevre....
Not the greatest film to remember Paul Naschy by.
Gaston (Guillermo Bredeston) is probably the worst swordsman I have ever seen. Zorro would be ashamed! His only salvation came as the competition was just as bad.
This film is described as adventure and horror. Forget the horror - there is none. No nudity, no blood, no monsters; just a Robin Hood adventure against an evil Baron (Paul Naschy) who wants to be King.
The main feature of the film was seeing Graciela Nilson, who only made four films in two years and disappeared to our regrettable loss. Where did she go?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Nobleman Baron Gilles de Lancre (Paul Naschy in fine sadistic form) falls under the pernicious control of his evil mistress Georgelle (a nicely wicked portrayal by ravishing blonde Norma Sebre) and her shrewd alchemist accomplice Simon de Braqueville (a sound turn by Eduardo Calvo). Gilles begins a vicious reign of terror over his village that includes torture and ritualistic sacrifices. It's up to a band of outlaws to overthrow him. Director Leon Klimovsky, working from an engrossing script by Naschy, relates the intriguing story at a steady pace, delivers a vivid evocation of the flavorsome medieval period setting, stages the lively sword fights with real rip-roaring flair, and certainly doesn't skimp on the bloody violence and raw brutality. Moreover, the plot has neat similarities to Shakespeare's "Macbeth," Naschy has an absolute ball with his juicy bad guy role, and there are praiseworthy contributions from Guillermo Bredeston as the dashing Gaston de Malebrauche and Graciela Nilson as sweet fair maiden Graciela. Francisco Sanchez's crisp cinematography gives the picture an impressively sumptuous look. Carlo Viziello's alternately harmonic and dissonant score does the trick. Worth a watch for Naschy fans.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite the torture sequence featured on the video box this isn't Paul Naschy's answer to MARK OF THE DEVIL. (For that, you'll have to find a copy of INQUISITION.) This is a five-and-dime historical drama with trace elements of horror. Naschy is a nobleman corrupted by his evil mistress and a twisted alchemist when he returns from combat in Normandy. He starts murdering local lasses in demonic rituals so an old friend starts a revolution that leads to Naschy's eventual downfall. This is not too surprising since, despite discussion of his "mighty army," Naschy seems to have only nine or ten soldiers at his disposal. There's some brief dungeon footage, a graphic beheading and one character used as a human pin-cushion. If you want a cheap Medieval saga just a little bloodier than the ones you saw as a kid on Channel 9, THE DEVIL'S POSSESSED may be just what you're looking for.
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