Thursday, June 29, 2017

Devils of Darkness, Vampire Cult vs. Dullard

Peter Cushing was never boring. As Van Helsing in those great Hammer vampire films, he was classy, sophisticated, and genius.  When taking on Dracula, he was capable and wise beyond a single lifetime.  1965's "Devils of Darkness" is not a Hammer film, but one might hazard to say that it influenced the direction of Hammer vampire films. Made in England, and directed by Lance Comfort (sounds like a porn star), this film was set in contemporary France and England as opposed to a more Gothic time. Though we have a suave and mysterious vampire, the hero is...well...boring.
Tania the gypsy girl
Buried alive in the 16th century for crimes of the occult, Count Sinistre (Hubert Noel) can't be kept down.  In modern day Brittany the erotic and gratuitous tambourine dance by sultry gypsy Tania (Carole Gray) awakens him. He breaks out of his coffin and turns Tania into his vampire bride. Vacationing in Brittany is Paul (William Sylvester). He sits around and does nothing and the people at the inn desperately want him to leave.  Instead of leaving, he just sits around some more. The boredom he festers is just too much so Count Sinistre abducts Paul's girl Anne (Rona Anderson). She is also boring and a perfect 10...well, maybe a five, actually. So boring, the count burns her alive instead of turning her.
Sinistre prepares Karen to be his new bride
Paul is mad! Okay, perhaps mad is a strong word, slightly perturbed. Paul begins investigating and discovers the occult and witchcraft are rampant in Brittany.  He meets Karen (Tracy Reed) at a hippie orgy, though he doesn't partake in the festivities. As Paul's investigation, most of it in a boring library, annoys the count, he sets his sight on both Karen and anyone who hangs out with Paul. Paul's friends begin to die horribly and Sinistre abducts Karen. Uh oh...Paul may be boring but the gypsy beauty/vampire bride Tania is not. Tania is now a vampire woman scorned and she desires revenge against Sinistre's new object of desire and the vampire himself.  Will vampire beauty Tania join forces with the very ordinary Paul?
Sinistre on the run with Karen
Despite Paul's lack of vitality and passion, this film has a lot of energy and intrigue. Betrayals and an ominous death cult run rampant across France and London, and the vampire brides are stunning. Karen is a fascinating character. She is a pseudo Goth model, and then a sultry vampire babe. Perhaps her turning into a subservient vampire bride from a fiercely independent liberated woman is a metaphor for western civilization's hostility toward true feminism. Yeah...or maybe this is just a neat vampire film with a suave and debonair count and his sultry brides. In any case, enjoy "Devils of Darkness."


  1. This sounded incredibly dull, Christopher. Perhaps, Peter had a house in the country with a mortgage that he had to pay so he thought, "well, why not?" Good review of a film with not too much going on. Except for Tania.

  2. Question: How on Earth are you supposed to get a fair trial in the 16th century with a name like... Count Sinistre?? That's just begging to be burned at the stake, lol.
    Also why are movie Gypsies always associated with tambourines??! (Sorry I think of weird stuff like this at times)
    Nice review Christopher but not sure what to make of this from the plot, but will probably check it out at some point.