The Devil's Nightmare

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Devil's Nightmare
Devilsnightmare.jpg
Directed by Jean Brismée
Produced by Charles Lecocq
Written by Patrice Rhomm
Starring Erika Blanc
Jean Servais
Jacques Monseau
Ivana Novak
Lorenzo Terzon
Shirley Corrigan
Colette Emmanuelle
Christian Maillet
Lucien Raimbourg[1]
Daniel Emilfork
Music by Alessandro Alessandroni
Cinematography André Goeffers
Edited by P. Panos
Release date
  • 1971 (1971)
Running time
94 minutes
Country Belgium
Italy
Language French

Devil's Nightmare is a 1971 horror film first released[citation needed] in Belgium under the title La plus longue nuit du diable (lit. The Devil's Longest Night, and in Italy as La terrificante notte del demonio (lit. The Terrifying Night of the Demon). It was also known as The Devil Walks at Midnight.[2]

Plot[edit]

Baron von Rhoneberg (Jean Servais), a former World War II German general, sacrificed his daughter as the war ended. He did so because his family was placed under a terrible curse; the first-born female of every generation was to become a succubus. Many years later, he tells the story to a reporter who wishes to write an article about it and take pictures of his castle. However, the Baron opposes any photographs being taken. Despite his protests, the young woman goes up to visit the castle and take pictures but is killed when a dry thunderstorm suddenly rolls in while she is in close proximity to it. Her body is taken back to the town where it is discovered she has a burn in the shape of a cloven hoof on her arm, which is confirmed as the Mark of the Devil.

Some time later, a group of tourists become lost during a bus trip. They meet Satan in the guise of a strange-looking man (Daniel Emilfork) who recommends that they take the ferry boat, but they arrive too late to catch the last ferry of the day. They are then directed to an old castle which offers room and board. When they arrive, one of the doors opens by itself and a piece of the façade breaks off, nearly killing one of the tourists. Hans (Maurice De Groote) the butler greets them and shows each of them to their rooms giving them a briefing of the history of three of the rooms, one of which bears the same cloven hoof mark on the floor tiles in front of the fireplace. After the guests have been accommodated to their rooms, Hans goes down to a laboratory basement and informs the Baron who is practicing alchemy. Over dinner the Baron explains his family's history to his guests. His ancestor made a pact and sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his services. Satan demanded that the eldest daughter of each generation become a succubus. When asked if he ever had a daughter he shakes his head no.

A young woman named Lisa Müller (Erika Blanc) also comes to stay at the castle and proceeds to seduce each tourist according to their own personal weaknesses, then kills them, using their own sin against them. Each tourist is a representative of one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Matt Ducard (Christian Maillet) represents Gluttony and dies by choking to death while gorging on food and wine. Nancy (Colette Emmanuelle) dies representing Greed by drowning in a hidden treasure hoard of powdered gold. Howard (Lorenzo Terzon), representing Envy, is killed when he is guillotined and Corrine (Ivana Novak), embodying Lust, is murdered when she is trapped inside an iron maiden while they are in the middle of an adulterous tryst. Old Mr Mason (Lucien Raimbourg) represents Anger and dies when he is thrown out of a window and is impaled on an iron fence below. Regine (Shirley Corrigan) dies as Sloth when a snake kills her in her sleep. Only the seminarian, Alvin Sorelle (Jacques Monseau) as Pride, seems immune to Lisa's seductive charms. When six of the seven tourists are dead, Satan appears to Alvin. Alvin offers his soul if Satan will return the dead tourists to life, to which Satan agrees. The next morning, Alvin awakes to find that the dead tourists have indeed been returned to life as though the previous night's events never happened and are having breakfast before they set out to continue their trip. Even Alvin himself remembers it as only a dream.

The Baron is wounded that morning in a fencing accident with Hans, and Alvin waits with him for an ambulance. The Baron confesses to Alvin that he lied; he did have a daughter and killed her in her cradle. After a conversation with Martha the housekeeper, Alvin learns that the child the Baron stabbed was not the succubus. Lisa is Martha's daughter from an affair with the Baron's brother, Rudolph von Rhoneberg, and that Lisa is the eldest daughter. Alvin dismisses Martha's claims that Lisa is subsequently a succubus. Alvin chooses to remain at the castle with Lisa while the other tourists go on. As Alvin and Lisa watch the tour bus heading back to the main road, the bus suddenly swerves to miss a funeral wagon driven by Satan and goes over a cliff, killing everyone aboard. Alvin enfolds Lisa in his arms. Lisa and Satan smile at each other, knowing they have claimed their souls once again.

Critical reception[edit]

Author Howard Hughes described it as an apparently cheaply produced but "effective modern gothic".[3] On the other hand, Allmovie wrote the film "is steeped in spooky atmosphere" but "has little else to offer."[4]

Novelization[edit]

The film's screenwriter Patrice Rondard, who frequently used the pseudonym Patrice Rhomm for his literary and cinema industry work, also wrote a novelization entitled Au service du Diable. The 216-page French language paperback was published by Galliera in April, 1971 to coincide with the film's European theatrical release. Galliera issued the book as the first volume in their Bibliothèque de l'étrange (Strange Library) series, and it features a full color illustration on the paper cover depicting Erika Blanc and Daniel Emilfork as their respective characters that is moderately different from the artwork used for theatrical release posters.

Remake[edit]

Dave Zagorski filmed a remake in 2012 under the Mad Z Productions banner (the US remake of the film). Devanny Pinn and Seregon O'Dassey starred in the film.[5]

Biography[edit]

  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0.

References[edit]

  1. ^ (in French) Lucien Raimbourg
  2. ^ Paul, Louis (2011). "Italian Horror Film Directors". McFarland & Co., Inc. Page 338
  3. ^ Hughes, p.96
  4. ^ Donald Guarisco. "The Devil's Nightmare (1971)". Allmovie. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  5. ^ Teaser Trailer and First Details on Mad Z Productions' The Devil's Nightmare

External links[edit]