2.7/10
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8 user 9 critic

Cross of the Seven Jewels (1987)

La croce dalle sette pietre (original title)
| Horror
A man becomes a werewolf after being cursed by a black magic society. Only a jeweled necklace he wears can stop the transformations taking place.
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marco Antonio Andolfi ...
Marco Sartori (as Eddy Endolf)
Annie Belle ...
Maria
...
Black Mass Leader
Paolo Fiorino
...
Boss from Sicily (as Giorgio Ardisson)
Zaira Zoccheddu ...
Madame Amnesia
Glauco Simonini
Giulio Massimini ...
Minister
Stefano Murè
Irmgard Konnertz
Marco Merlo
Gio Batta Merlo
Cristoforo Vetthen
Gino Lodero
Franco Altobelli
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A man becomes a werewolf after being cursed by a black magic society. Only a jeweled necklace he wears can stop the transformations taking place.

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User Reviews

 
CROSS OF THE SEVEN JEWELS (Marco Antonio Andolfi, 1987) BOMB
14 October 2011 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

Who would have thought that there could be worse werewolf movies than HOWLING II: YOUR SISTER IS A WEREWOLF (1985)? Or worse Italian fantasy films than THE PUMAMAN (1981)? Or that these two unenviable crowns could be worn by the very same title?! This is not to mention that the film in question (and under review) also dabbles in the Camorra, erotica and Satanism fields and makes a shambles of them all! One of the undeniable pleasures of listening to well-researched audio commentaries is when the film historian goes into detail about the actors' careers as a whole and singles out particular titles for whatever reason; this is just how I came to learn about this terminally goofy film when Tim Lucas mentioned it while speaking about Giorgio Ardisson's career during his audio commentary for Mario Bava's ERIK THE CONQUEROR (1961); luckily, even a movie as obscure and thankless as this can be tracked down by intrepid film buffs courtesy of other enterprising fans who are generous enough to share their inexhaustible collections with unknown and far-away members of their 'community'! Even so, the film was also dealt with (albeit very briefly) in the Italian TV programme "Stracult".

The film's only two familiar faces – one wonders how they were persuaded to be involved – are Gordon Mitchell (prone to the most hideous overacting as the leader of the Satanists) and the afore-mentioned Ardisson (as a Mafia big-wig who hilariously lapses into English 3 times during his meeting with the local boss whom he addresses as "Don Raffaele of my balls!" in a fit of exasperation). Eddy Endolf is the star, writer, director, editor and special effects designer!; the werewolf make-up is limited to the hands and wrists, the top half of the face and, yes, his private parts – for whatever reason, whenever the change occurs, the man loses his clothing, only to magically regain them upon resuming human form! The first time this occurs he literally does a double-take at the fact that it is that time of the night, even if he had looked at a clock in his victim's house merely seconds before!; the second time it is when he is captured and being grilled by the gangsters…except that they just happen to exit the room at this instance, which leaves us to witness his transformation via a series of dissolves for nearly 5 minutes, the odd facial hair being applied with each successive cut!

The film begins with a black mass, presided over by Mitchell, and involving several masked/naked men and women engaged in sexual activity; one of them is actually getting it on with a Swamp Thing-like demon! The latter, called Aborym, has actually been invoked during the ceremony and it transpires that one of his mistresses was the hero's mother (hence his monstrous legacy). However, when she tells her master/lover she wants out, he bursts in repeated cries of "Slut!" and inflates her body so much that it cracks open, unleashing much goo (for the record, the first werewolf victim and Mitchell's own unexplained demise are similarly grisly)! Incidentally, 20 years after the fact, Endolf resurrected this particular character in a 30-minute short entitled HERE'S ABORYM AGAIN! At the core of the film is a demented (and drawn-out) dream sequence made up of random snippets from earlier scenes – including that hilarious pre-transformation look of surprise upon the hero's face!

The leading man is protected by the titular talisman – incidentally, the film was also released as TALISMAN in some quarters and had sequences dealing with the war in Bosnia included for Japanese screenings! – but early on it is stolen in a daylight street robbery (the culprits being motorcycle-riding junkies whom we had just seen shooting up by the sea, with Mitchell himself doubling as the pusher!). The protagonist's many attempts to retrieve it land him in a disco (cue bad music and worse dancing) where he even gets one hell of a beating; deposited outside the establishment, he is found and nursed back to health by a young woman. During the fracas in the mobsters' lair, he learns that the priceless artifact has been donated by Don Raffaele to a lady friend (when Ardisson had made him contact her but he is unable to get through, the latter spits: "What's this bitch doing – humping the phone?"); when the hero finally locates her, she proves to be a horny fortune teller (an old woman he asked for directions tells him: "If she's a lady, I'm the Madonna!") who, not currently having what he wanted at her disposal, suggests they pass the time in bed. Endolf obliges, having no choice but, predictably, at midnight (not the rising of the moon, mind you!) he turns into a monster yet again: the ecstatic woman is oblivious to the change but, even though starting to foam at the mouth, he keeps at it! Ultimately, he is yet again saved, in the typically disorientated state after each metamorphosis, by the girl he loves and the two go to the Vatican to give thanks (I kid you not!).

The music is by Paolo Rustichelli, son of esteemed composer and Bava regular Carlo. The copy I watched was culled from an Italian TV broadcast (though the channel name has been digitally erased) which suffered from audio glitches during the aftermath-of-the-robbery sequence. In the end, all one can do here is surmise that a lot of thought must have gone into concocting such a bizarrely improbable concept, and just as much to rally a conglomeration of non-talents to execute it!


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