When one thinks of sexploitation, there are a few names that immediately come to mind such as Russ Meyer, Harry Novak, and Doris Wishman. Connoisseurs of the genre know that there is another man that had a substantial output of these types of films in the 60's and 70's. That man is Joe Sarno and although he started his career in America, he made his mark in Sweden by casting Marie Liljedahl in the title role of Inga in 1968. After the success of Inga and a number of other films, Sarno decided that he needed a new leading lady, which he found in the innocent looking Marie Forsa. Vampire Ecstasy marks Forsa's debut and we quickly learn that this little nymph isn't so innocent.
This is a strange film. The plot is similar to a number of Hammer and other classic horror films as a group of people (including Forsa) end up at a castle where it turns out that there is a creepy caretaker (Nadia Henkowa) who seemingly wants to resurrect her long lost master. Although the master is usually in the form of a male, in this case it is a female whose portrait is hanging over the fireplace.
Another unusual aspect is that the creepy caretaker is a lesbian with a thick Hungarian accent who leads a gang of lesbian Robert Palmer-video rejects who dance to the sound of pounding bongo drums on a nightly basis. It turns out that this dancing ritual also has the effect of making any houseguests very horny which is good for us an the gorgeous Forsa needs to constantly remove her clothes to either masturbate, bang a dude named Peter in a pile of hay, or get it on with whatever willing female happens to be in her vicinity. This somehow ties into a way that the weird Hungarian can create a vessel to resurrect her boss.
Although there is a plot here, it is somewhat disjointed but I suppose a disjointed plot is better than no plot. I have to admit though that Forsa is what saved this movie for me, as she is one of the more attractive women to come out of the early 70's sexploitation scene. Her performance alone has bumped this film from one to two stars in my opinion. That said, had Forsa not been on display as eye candy so often, I would not have too much good to say about this one.
The location is great as they used a real castle and everything looks stylish but it doesn't take away from the fact that this flick was kind of a bore. Even with the penis candles, weird shots of horse feet during sex scenes, and a bat attack that results in clothes being ripped off, I was still not very inspired. One of my main complaints is that this was giving the promise of a horror movie but there was just not much to be scared about other than the overstated acting and heavy accents (especially from Henkowa) that felt like I was watching a bad high school play in Germany.
I would have liked to have seen a little more suspense and a little more of a build up to a climax (ha ha). Without these elements, this is little more than a sexploitation flick that seemed a little confused. At least with Novak's flicks you get decent sex scenes and with Meyer the movies are well shot and you root for the characters. This one just had me wanting to watch something with Christopher Lee in it.
One thing I can say in the film's defense is that the transfer that EI had delivered leaves much to be desired. It leads me to think that maybe had I been able to see more of the film through the dark transfer, I would have appreciated Sarno's vision more. I will still be seeking out the other two films in Sarno's "Girl Meets Girl Trilogy" though so I can see what Sarno would do without the horror aspects. Oh, and Marie Forsa is in them both as well... (Josh Pasnak, 4/10/06)
Directed By: Joseph W. Sarno.
Written By: Joseph W. Sarno.
Starring: Marie Forsa, Nadia Henkowa, Ulrike Butz, Anke Syring.
aka: The Devil's Plaything, Veil Of Blood, Revenge Of The Black Sisters.
Seduction/EI Cinema - November 8, 2005
Picture Ratio: Full Frame.
Picture Quality: As stated above, the transfer is extremely dark and dirty. I think this would be an entirely different experience with a cleaned-up widescreen transfer. Too bad. What makes this even weirder is that EI released this film in an edited version under the title The Devil's Plaything in a bright yet still scratchy widescreen transfer. Why they would do one and not the other, I'll never understand.
Extras: We get a commentary with producer Chris Nebe that offered some candid memories that you don't often hear on commentaries. For example, early on when Nebe is talking about the off-camera activities, he states that "everybody was f*cking everybody". It sounds like it would have been fun to be a crew member on this one!
We also get some brief interviews with Nebe and Sarno as well as a selection of nine trailers for various Sarno films.
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