Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.
Strange and Fantastic Tales of the 20th Century is a look back at the weirdest, most memorable, and most off center movies of the 20th century. From head turning horror to oddball science fiction, this column examines the films that will leave a lasting impression for centuries to come.
Bernard Launois’ 1986 Devil Story (Il Etait Une Fois le Diable) is finally available for the first time in America. Devil Story is a unique film for many reasons, the main one being that it has no plot, but that does not stop it from entertaining. A disfigured man, magic cat, mummy all gather together in this film set in one night to confuse and terrorize a young woman. This week’s strange and fantastic tale is Devil Story.
The film opens on a Frankenstein monster type of being. He is clad in an SS uniform. At first glance, this creature might have some Nazi affiliation, but as the film goes on, this just might be his only item of clothing. We see him trampling through the French countryside murdering happy people who are skipping in the woods. He is even approached by a stranger for directions and the stranger does not bat an eye over the fact this killer looks like a Ferengi in a Nazi uniform. This opening sets an anything goes tone for the film.
While the killer piles up victims, a French woman becomes entranced by a cat. Later on she steps out into the middle of the night to get scared by a possessed horse. From what little exposition is provided by the few lines of dialogues exchanged, a woman and her deformed son live on the mountain and they may be descendants of a curse. Somehow, this horse is also involved.
This film has a lot of interesting things happening in it. The curse, French woman, and horse only play a small part in a tapestry of kookiness. Watch to see a man fight a horse, a mummy wake up from his ornate sarcophagus, and a lost boat rise from the depths of the sea. The effects are wonderfully low budget and the film is charming in its insanity. Wear a horse mask and watch this Devil Story, now restored in 4K by Vinegar Syndrome.
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