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(aka 'Seven Women For Satan' or 'Les week-ends maléfiques du Comte Zaroff" or "Sept femmes pour un sadique")

 

directed by Michel Lemoine
France 1974

 

Businessman Boris Zaroff (writer/director Michel Lemoine) daydreams of hunting naked women for sport (in a sexualized variation on the exploits of his ancestor the Count Zaroff in THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME). When Zaroff takes for the weekend to his ancestral castle looked after by , Zaroff puts his fantasies into practice with the assistance/encouragement of sinister servant Karl (Howard Vernon, THE BLOOD ROSE), a vicious mastiff, and the beckoning ghost of Anne (Joelle Coeur, LES DEMONIAQUES) brutally murdered by his ancestor. He hires a comely secretary Muriel (Nathalie Zeiger, Robbe-Grillet's PLAYING WITH FIRE) to do little more than get drugged and fondle herself naked before a two-way mirror before Zaroff sets the dogs after her but a stranded comic-relief motorist couple may be a hindrance or provide more fresh meat. Like the British advertising of another Mondo Macabro French rarity DON'T DELIVER US FROM EVIL, SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN has been touted as "The French film BANNED in France..." (though the liner notes point out that the French censorship record for SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN suggest they were watching another film entirely). While the erotic and violent content may seem tame now, SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN (either one of the alternate French titles is more accurate) is nevertheless great fun. It is difficult to imagine anyone else but Lemoine in the lead role voicing the filmic philosophy of the gaze while spying a nude Zeiger through a two-way mirror and Joelle Coeur is effective in a role that might have gone to Lemoine's previous muse Janine Reynaud only a couple years before. Howard Vernon seems to be parodying his own Eurocult typecasting but is always a welcome addition. Lemoine was not alone in using THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME as a twisted inspiration. Jess Franco (who directed Lemoine in SUCCUBUS/NECRONOMICON, KISS ME MONSTER, and TWO UNDERCOVER ANGELS with his then wife Reynaud) also took an erotic (and literally cannibalistic) spin on the literary/cinematic Zaroff mythos with THE PERVERSE COUNTESS which also starred Howard Vernon (a forthcoming Mondo Macabro release) in 1973. Lemoine has the French exploitation cinema aesthetics down pat (the film looks like a Franco film directed by Jean Rollin). The comic relief couple may seem a bit out of place but do not entirely destroy the film's atmosphere as there seems to be a vein of parody running through the gothic horror proceedings that extends to the humorous variation on the rote surprise ending. Like many fantastique filmmakers, Lemoine cinematic ambitions floundered with the growing popularity of hardcore pornography (his earlier MARIANNE BOUQUET - which he also starred in - was shot softcore but augmented with hardcore inserts so it is unlikely that the softcore SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN would have sold well had it not been banned at the time).

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 1977 (Spain - Sitges Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Mondo Macabro - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:25:15
Video

1.62:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)
Subtitles English, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Mondo Macabro

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.62:1

Edition Details:
• Formidable! The Michel Lemoine Story (16:9; 15:36)
• Theatrical Trailer (4:3; 1:36)
• Cast and Crew Biographies
• About the Film Text Screen Liner Notes (9 pages)
• More from Mondo Macabro (text screen)

DVD Release Date: November 11th, 2003
Amaray

Chapters 12

 

Comments

One of the earlier releases of Mondo Macabro's US arm, SEVEN WOMEN FOR SATAN is single-layer, anamorphic, and a PAL-NTSC conversion but still a nice discovery (more so with the English subtitles and optional English language track since the film was never shown in England or the United States and had not been available in English on any foreign-subtitled tape releases); it may be my favorite Mondo Macabro release. The softness is sometimes intentional and sometimes a result of the worn print source.

Lemoine is featured in an interview which may have been excerpted from one of the Mondo Macabro-produced EUROTIKA TV specials for British television. The period prop portrait of actress Joelle Coeur seen in the film can be seen hanging in Lemoine's apartment. Pete Tomb's text screen liner notes add to a greater appreciation of the film (not only discussing its Zaroff influence but also drawing links to the "Bride of Corinth" story and Luis Bunuel's THE CRIMINAL LIFE OF ARCHIBALDO DE LA CRUZ). The text bios are more informative than usual (including one on sound man Bob Wade who also worked on Alain-Robbe Grillet's films).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



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PAL-NTSC conversion artifacts

 


DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

Distribution

Mondo Macabro

Region 0 - NTSC


 




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