French horror has given us some of the most elegant, most poetic horror in the genre. Franju, Rollin and others, they of tender velvet fingers to caress the soul. Devil Story is a long way away from them. A million blood spattered, brain curdled miles away in fact. Its plot seems less considered than the congealed vomit of an all night geek brainstorming session fuelled by counterfeit Gauloise and antifreeze laden plonk, its script a furied migraine ravaged dash to pull all together in time for filming. There's a deformed headcase in soldier gear who likes to kill everyone he meets, a horse that may be the devil, a creepy old lady, Gothic castle and more, and yet by some alchemy that surpasses even the most shredded synapses it all more or less holds together in the end. No doubt this alchemy plays significant role in making the film work, but much credit goes to the unrelenting attitude of director Bernard Launois on display (this is apparently his only horror but he should have made more). No matter what the absurdity, the film remains focused. Blood spray clearly from somebody pumping a tube? Keep the camera on it. Supposedly dead person clearly still breathing? Who cares? A mummy that appears wrapped in gauze rather than bandages and either has a codpiece or a big schlong? Artistic license! There's a fearless drive that renders all such silliness near irrelevant, and on occasions of an effectively gruesome effect the camera really lingers, the wounded don't get away with dignity here and it conveys a nice brutality. And altogether the no holds barred approach to plot and visuals pays off, however inept there's an aura of unhingement here that at times becomes really quite potent. Not quite as potent as Orgroff (its closest brother in French trash horror cinema), but much better ordered and marginally less inept, with technique that at times could pass for pretty much sane in a less demented product. Basically this is a film for select audiences, more or less just the hardiest of insane trash fiends. But for anyone dedicated enough to have read this far, this is a film for you. Find it, watch it, and watch Orgroff too, the order matters not so much. You can thank me later...
4 of 9 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this