Film #205: NIGHT OF THE DEVILS aka LA NOTTE DEI DIAVOLI
Night of the Devils (aka La Notte Dei Diavoli)
2 out of 5 stars
Based on the Tolstoy story, Le Famille de Wurdulak, this tale from 1972 of an amnesiac who is found wandering and he’s taken to a hospital. Police are called and they try to ascertain who he is. The stranger is haunted by violent imagery and a fear of something unspoken. A woman arrived and identifies him. Unfortunately, seeing her sends the amnesiac stranger into fits of fear. The story is then told in flashback and we learn what led to his becoming lost (hint: it involved burials, some weird children, a small village with some odd practices, and – of course – Russian ‘wurdulaks.’ The director – Giorgio Ferroni (MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN) – keeps things suitably mysterious as the narrative plods along to its inevitable (and rather tedious) conclusion. The acting – done mostly by Gianni Garko (IF YOU MEET SARTANA PRAY FOR DEATH) and Agostina Belli (HOLOCAUST 2000 and BLOOD IN THE STREETS) – is stiff, wide-eyed, and prone to long bouts of expositions. Gore is kept to a minimum (and mostly off screen) and its pure Tempura paint. There are a couple of cool rapid head decomposition scenes, but they come too far and few between to be of much merit. All in all, NIGHT OF THE DEVILS is a slow exercise in ‘70s era Italian horror. There’s little exceptional or out of the ordinary here to recommend. The pace is low, there’s virtually nothing horror-related (other than some Ben Nye makeup scribbled on a few faces). Even Italo-Horror completists will have a tough time finding something of worth here In the end, NIGHT OF THE DEVILS might satisfy a jones for ‘70s-era Italian horror, but… all others need look elsewhere.