The devil, following in the footsteps of Christ, decides to become flesh and take a stroll around Earth to see how humans have progressed, and have a little fun creating havoc and mayhem in the process.
Frederick sees a photograph of a ruined seaside castle, which triggers a strange childhood memory. He then goes on a strange quest, aided by four female vampires, to find the castle and the beautiful woman who lives there.
My 5/10 "neutral" rating is usually reserved for movies that are sort of difficult to assess in the forms in which they may be available. Such is the case here with his genuinely bizarre oddity of the Euro Horror fad from the early 1970s, a deservedly obscure ultra low budget attempt to make a vampire movie without a vampire.
The only version I have been able to see for myself is a somewhat ragged Spanish language print that has the trappings of a genuinely interesting film: Gothic location work galore, some demented shock sequences involving chains & manacles & vaulted crypt like dungeons, girls being abused and molested by some freak in a strange half costume, and an interesting aura of gloomy, autumn countrysides crossed with dank cloistered claustrophobia. Even if I don't understand the language it's a pleasure to look at.
There's some sort of story going on about a scientist (George Rigaud, looking respectable as always) who tries to tell a wandering occult expert (spaghetti western stalwart Frank Brana) about his efforts to revive the corpse of an Egyptian mummy who never quite decomposed after being shuttled into his coffin. He succeeds and quickly comes to regret it as the mummy starts to exhibit Christopher Lee like tendencies involving hypnotizing various supporting cast members to do his evil bidding.
One of the bizarre touches the film treats us to is the lack of a mummy costume. Instead we get a sort of 12th grade talent show production's vision of what an Egyptian sorcerer might have looked like before the gauze wrappings were applied. And once revived the fiend must glut itself on the blood of pretty half-naked Euro Horror babes who have been chained up by Rigaud's hypnotized servant.
Being a Spanish production from the early 1970s there were no doubt two versions made to appease dictator Generalissimo Franco's banning of frontal nudity from his cinemas during his reign, and sadly one of the few surviving home video versions was struck from a Spanish language print that doesn't contain the sexualized horror that this sort of material usually calls for. There's some adequate scenes of sadism on the part of the mummy that leads to the expected bloodletting, but something tells me we're only seeing half of the picture in this shaky 16mm Spanish print, and as such its somewhat difficult to assess.
There is one really effective sequence when the suitor of one of the abducted Euro Horror babes tracks her abductor down to the marvelously crumbled & dank castle (or castles, since some of the interiors have a decidedly French look to them, others look familiar from Spanish outings) and has to worm his way inside like Gollum, only to find himself pitted against an evil against which there is no real defense. The hopelessness of the situation is actually kind of compelling in a way, even if in the end it doesn't amount to much.
Fans of spaghetti westerns will probably recognize some of the Spanish & French countrysides used for the exteriors, and die hard fans of vaulted, decrepit Euro Horrors will probably be delighted by the results, which have been filmed with a unique sort of eye for detail including an interesting use of dissolves & editing segues. I wish I had a better idea what was going on however, and interested readers should follow the "External Reviews" link to a more comprehensive review of the film by Euro Horror expert Robert Monel, whom it just happens that I acquired my copy of the film from. Small internet somedays.
5/10: If you find an English language version let me know ...
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