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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "La notte dei diavoli" or "La noche de los diablos")

 

directed by Giorgio Ferroni
Italy/Spain 1972

 

En route to a lumber yard in Zehdenick to make a deal, businessman Nicola (Gianni Garko, BODY PUZZLE) runs his car off the road while trying to avoid hitting a gypsy woman (Maria Monti, A FISTFUL OF DYNAMITE) who mysteriously vanishes. On foot, Nicola eventually happens upon the home of the Ciuvalek family, seemingly the only people still living in a burnt-out village whose population were scared off by local superstitions. Patriarch Gorca (William Vanders, THE DAMNED) - who has just buried his brother - offers Nicola the shelter in his home until eldest son Jovan (Roberto Maldera, THE VATICAN AFFAIR) can fix his car. As night sets in, Nicola notices that the family bar the doors and windows, and refuse to acknowledge what he perceives to be someone outside the door, but is sufficiently captivated by Gorca's daughter Sdenka (Agostina Belli, HOLOCAUST 2000) to ask too many questions. The next day, a cryptic Gorca sets off into the woods with a wooden stake and Jovan tells him to not bother returning if he does not get back by six o'clock. Irina (Cinzia de Carolis, CAT O'NINE TAILS), daughter of Gorca's dead brother and his buxom wife Elena (Teresa Gimpera, SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE), tells Nicola about a bloodthirsty witch who lives in the woods who attacks at night; and Gorca's other son Vlado (Luis Suárez, FEAST OF SATAN) let slip some family secrets. Nicola laughs off the superstition until six approaches and the family apprehensively awaits Gorca's return (with Jovan sharpening another stake)...

NIGHT OF THE DEVILS was adapted from Alexei Tolstoy's French-language story "The Family of the Vourdalak", which was also the source for Mario Bava's "The Wurdalak" segment of his anthology BLACK SABBATH/THE THREE FACES OF FEAR. Although this feature-length version feels more than a little drawn-out and compares poorly to Bava's masterful short, there is still much for the horror fan to savor. Whereas director Giorgio Ferroni's previous gothic horror entry MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN was drenched in Bava-esque Technicolor cinematography, the Spanish/Italian co-produced NIGHT OF THE DEVILS has a bit more of the rustic, mossy feel of Spanish horror films of the period (cinematographer Manuel Berenguer also shot Narciso Ibáñez Serrador's THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED) - Ferroni's vampires also seem to have more in common with those seen in Amando de Ossorio's NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS, and Leon Klimovsky's WEREWOLF SHADOW or NIGHT OF THE WALKING DEAD - but Giorgio Gaslini's lyrical score leans back towards the Italianate. Garko was better known for spaghetti westerns (notable the SARTANA series) and Gimpera's career shifted back and forth between arthouse and exploitation (and the very amusing hybrid THE EXQUISITE CADADER by Vicente Aranda), but Umberto Raho - who plays a psychiatrist - was a very familiar presence in just about every sub-genre of Italian exploitation (Raho also appeared with Maldera in THE NIGHT EVELYN CAME OUT OF THE GRAVE). The film has a good share of gore (courtesy of E.T.'s Carlo Rambaldi) in the second half, the protagonist's delirious visions in the opening of a woman's face blasted apart, a heart pulled out of a chest cavity, a worm-eaten skull, and skull-masked cultists pawing nude women are not a preview of things to come (in fact, the effects bits look more like test footage pressed into service to liven up the first act).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 29 April 1972 (Italy)

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DVD Review: Raro Video USA - Region 0 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Raro Video USA

Region 0 - NTSC

Runtime 1:29:12
Video

2.35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.34 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 Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono; English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
Subtitles English, German, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video USA

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1

Edition Details:
• Video Interview with FANGORIA magazine's Chris Alexander (16:9; 5:26)
• Video Interview with composer Giorgio Gaslini (16:9; 30:35)
• DVD Credits
• Liner Notes booklet by Chris Alexander

DVD Release Date: January 21st, 2012
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

Never released in America but long available as a bootleg of the optically censored Japanese-subtitled VHS release (or a lesser quality uncensored Swedish-subtitled version), NIGHT OF THE DEVILS is presented here in an HD-mastered, progressive, anamorphic transfer in its correct aspect ratio (the Japanese tape was squeezed to 1.85:1, the Spanish DVD was correctly framed but non-anamorphic and censored per the standards of Spain under General Franco). The fringe on the opening credits lettering is a little noisy but that may be the encode rather than the HD master (a Blu-ray edition will also be available HERE).

The music is warped in a few infrequent spots on the English track but not the Italian. While the English track is full of voices familiar to Italian exploitation fans, the English subtitles reveal some interesting variances between the two tracks. A first for a Raro Video release is the inclusion of German subtitles; presumably Raro has struck some distribution deal in Germany and will utilize the same disc image rather than striking a PAL version (although Raro Video's Italian arm will release a PAL disc in November).

Fangoria Magazine's Chris Alexander enthuses about the film in a video interview, as well as an entertaining essay in the accompanying booklet, which also includes an interview with composer Giorgio Gaslini. Gaslini also appears in a video interview which is followed by an uncredited extra: Gaslini's performance on piano of the film's main theme (although a separate video file, it plays directly after the interview and is not accessible as an Easter Egg).

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

Distribution

Raro Video USA

Region 0 - NTSC

 




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