Saturday, 8 October 2016



Rule one: if your father made horror movies and you want to make horror movies as well, the bar is higher than it is for Bob across the street whose dad was a coal miner. Jennifer Chambers (Lynch) has had variable success, Brandon Cronenberg sort of managed it, and Cameron Romero wisely avoided zombies altogether but it still didn't do him any good. (I'm not sure Asia Argento's Scarlet Diva was even a horror film, but I didn't much like it anyway.) Meanwhile, Lamberto Bava has doubled down on tempting the fates here: not just remaking one of Mario's films, but his first and one of his most striking - and has ultimately made a colossal Farage of it.

Less a straight remake of Black Sunday, 1989's The Mask Of Satan (La Maschera Del Demonio) feels like more of a rehash of Lamberto's own equally nonsensical Graveyard Disturbance with only occasional nods to its supposed source material. Surprisingly, it begins in bright, crisp sunlight with a gathering of one-dimensional teenage dumbasses on a skiing trip: before long they tumble into a crevasse, but sadly they don't hurt themselves anything like enough. No sooner have they chanced upon a mysterious spiked mask impaled upon a long-dead body than [1] the one injured member of their party is mysteriously healed and [2] another of the gang is fatally impaled on a shard of rock and is thereafter barely mentioned again. Exploring the caverns they come across a church (complete with blind priest) and a hidden village which might be where a seventeenth century witch laid down a curse on everyone. And it suddenly looks as if the reborn Anibas is possessing cute virgin Sabina (oh, how these ancient forces of evil love their anagrams!): sex, wanton lechery, a lot of running around the church and everyone getting killed and then being alive again....

At some point this was retitled Demons 5: The Devil's Veil, so they could incorporate it into the Demons franchise along with similarly unconnected movies The Sect, The Church and the supreme gibberish of Luigi Cozzi's incoherent The Black Cat. Whatever you want to call it, it's still absolute rubbish: Sabina's dumb boyfriend takes ages to twig the backward lettering even when ANIBAS has been written on the window in capital letters in front of him, everyone behaves like a complete moron whose idea of a good time is to confuse a blind man by moving his furniture for a joke, the witch keeps revealing herself as a hideous bloated hag and then as Sabina again. It has a few nice visual moments with the coloured lighting and a Sergio Stivaletti deflating breast prosthetic, and it's nice to see Michele Soavi playing one of the morons, but it's dull and stupid, with no interesting characters and none of the atmosphere than Mario Bava's film possessed. Hardly surprising it's washed up on YouTube rather than any kind of regular UK distribution.


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