Monday, 26 February 2018

THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974)





THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS or, as yours truly likes to call it, VALLEY OF THE DOLLS IN AFRICA is your quintessential Euro-trash B-movie treat.  It’s got everything: A silly plot, three sexy broads, cheesy makeup FX, nudity (no silicone valleys here), and the most ridiculous tribe dance ever produced.  Not one ounce of celluloid print is spared in delivering camp classic style material, and if you’re a fan of the genre, hold on to your seat, for you’re in a for a heck of a treat. 


Kali Hansa, Loretta Tovar and María Kosti lead a team of European explorers who get caught up in a sacrificial tribe ritual where beheading and raping the single gal is very hip.  Just as it had been in vogue with past victim Bárbara Rey who as a result has gained eternal life (don’t ask).  Now all dressed up in a skimpy vampire getup of leopard bikini and neck ribbon to hold up the topmost part of her damaged self (yes, a ribbon) she is more than ready to draw blood and decapitate.  That’s where our three heroines come in.  No sooner have they set up camp that one of them encounters Rey and her black minions for a no-holds-barred session of whipping and tam-tam strutting you just gotta see to believe.  Rey’s body language as she unleashes her wrath is priceless.  Like watching an actress loosing it in front of our very eyes. 


As the leading ladies’ different levels of undress escalate, so does our astonishment toward the film in general.  What possessed veteran director Amando De Ossorio for having made such a wonderfully bad movie, we’ll never know.  One thing’s for sure, though, he never intended it to be a gas.  All is shown with a seriousness bound for the Ed Wood camp ground, but with a better artistic grip on things.  Ossorio’s ability to discern the slightest of chills in common gestures such as a slow-moving antagonist run or the brief movement of a corpse’s hand before the inevitable attack keeps the effervescent feeling of anxiety and giddiness inseparable.  Furthermore, his keen eye for showing female forms and homemade gore (thanks to Jesús Iglesias) in an equal yet so dissimilar splendor shows a talented soul hidden behind unintentional schlock. 


The actors try their best to make it work.  Kali Hansa who plays Tunika, the assertive but insecure doll who just can’t get enough of leader of the pack Simón Andreu, has the better part amongst the ladies.  Her stubbornness plus her quick sense of survival instincts are as bold as her frolicking in the nude scene. Included in this disk (it was lent to me) is a glimpse at the PG-13 version of that same scene (and of others) in one of the bonus feature tracks, as well as some liner notes penned by cult film expert Mirek Lippinski which tell you everything you need to know about THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (how it came about, who was set to play who, so on and so forth).  Which is more than we can say for the nowhere to be found interview track of some of the cast and crew.  Either they were too busy to bother or they just rather cut ties with this oh-so fun loving piece of filmmaking dreck.





Until next post—Martin







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