Retro-review: New on BluRay as part of The Shout Factory’s The Paul Naschy Collection II; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
DEVIL’S POSSESSED (1974)
aka MARSHALL OF HELL
Directed by León Klimovsky
Written by Paul Naschy (screenplay) (as Jacinto Molina Alvarez)
Starring Paul Naschy, Norma Sebre, Guillermo Bredeston, Mariano Vidal Molina, Graciela Nilson, Eduardo Calvo, Fernando Rubio, Luis Induni, José Luis Chinchilla, Carmen Carro
I’m diving into the second Shout Factory Collection of Paul Naschy films. Once again, this is a wonderful showcase of a talent that deserved more recognition. Paul Naschy, former circus strongman turned filmmaker and actor, starred in a ton of genre films ranging from monster mashups to giallo mysteries. I’ll be covering this new collection is going to be a treat. Here goes…
Naschy plays a Marshall desperate to claim the throne of France and resorts to using black magic to attain it. In order to do that according to a tricky alchemist and a shady beauty (played by the stunning Norma Sebre), seven virgins must be sacrificed. When one of the Marshall’s knights (Guillermo Bredeston) returns home from…knighting, he cannot believe how evil the Marshall has become. After trying to appeal to the Marshall’s good side, the knight realizes that he is too far gone into the dark side. As the people begin to rise up in revolt, Marshall and his best knight move closer to a final battle.
Naschy always plays complex characters. Either misunderstood monsters or misguided madmen, Naschy never plays things strictly black and white. Here he is clearly influenced by his counsel, but also has a dark ambition for power that grows throughout the film. DEVIL’S POSSESSED is unique in that Naschy plays a less sympathetic character than usual and while there once was a good man beneath his barrel chest and armor, the Marshall we see is already pretty evil. We get a few moments of reflection, but for the most part, Naschy’s Marshall is pretty irredeemable. This leaves the heroism to Bredeston who sort of pales in comparison to the scene chomping Naschy. If anything, I think it would have been more interesting seeing Naschy as the knight rather than the Marshall role.
As is, it is kind of fun seeing Naschy go full-on evil in DEVIL’S POSSESSED. The film culminates with Naschy declaring his omnipotence and taking his last stand against a populace that has revolted on him. It’s borderline goofy seeing the Marshall get stuck with multiple arrows while he claims to be invulnerable, which is not the feeling I believe the film was going for. The film itself has an authentic feel to it, with some great settings in what seems to be real ruins and castles. All in all, a fun, yet unevenly acted/written medieval thriller.
Though possession is in the title, this isn’t an occult film. Rather the possession lays in the influence the counsel had on the Marshall. There is much heaving busoms, moustache twirling alchemy, and pontificating on the throne to be enjoyed in DEVIL’S POSSESSED. It’s all overly dramatic, but nevertheless entertaining. Naschy once again dominates every scene and while this might be my least favorite in the collection, it’s always fun to see the actor do his thing.
Other films in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.2!
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE
A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE
Other films in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.1!
NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB
VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES
BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL
Other Paul Naschy Films!
A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON
If you like the review above, help me out and click on the link to buy it on Amazon here!!!