Mark of the Devil

Mark of the Devil

Mark of the Devil

Mark of the Devil

directed by Michael Armstrong and Adrian Hoven

directed by Michael Armstrong and Adrian Hoven

starring Reggie Nalder, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Olivera Katarina

starring Reggie Nalder, Herbert Lom, Udo Kier, Olivera Katarina

Arrow Films / MVD Video

Arrow Films / MVD Video

Terrorist, communist, devil worshiper – all accusations that are difficult to prove and harder to defend against. These names pop up in troubled times and when mass hysteria sweeps the land. Here in rural south Germany the accusation is proven by torture, imprisonment all under the shield of the almighty Catholic Church. Ugly Albino (Reggie Nadler) is the local witch finder, his job is to seek out Satanism and destroy it. For some reason attractive young women are most susceptible, and he get his kicks seeing them squirm and squirm they do; this movie is extremely graphic with little left to the imagination. Perhaps there is hope; Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom) is arriving to bring some disciple to this back water pit of terror. How much is unclear; while he does free one woman already deprived of a few working joints he’s just as brutal as Albino but he is better with paper work. He even has a student, Count Christian (Udo Kier). Christian is cleared eyed and enthusiastic, but he IS a young man and a quick tryst with busty Vanessa (Olivera Katarina) puts them both at risk. One day Albino and is drunk buddies happen to glimpse a nude woman in a window. Since this is clearly witchcraft they break in, kill her lover and haul her off to the rack. But then Albino overplays his hand: he offers Cumberland half the take and half the women and effectively confesses to…WITCHCRAFT! Cumberland refuses; Albino makes an ill-considered remark about impotence and Cumberland murders Albino with Christen as witness. I’m skipping details, but I’ll say this: The Black Death wasn’t as brutal and efficient as the Inquisition.

Terrorist, communist, devil worshiper – all accusations that are difficult to prove and harder to defend against. These names pop up in troubled times and when mass hysteria sweeps the land. Here in rural south Germany the accusation is proven by torture, imprisonment all under the shield of the almighty Catholic Church. Ugly Albino (Reggie Nadler) is the local witch finder, his job is to seek out Satanism and destroy it. For some reason attractive young women are most susceptible, and he get his kicks seeing them squirm and squirm they do; this movie is extremely graphic with little left to the imagination. Perhaps there is hope; Lord Cumberland (Herbert Lom) is arriving to bring some disciple to this back water pit of terror. How much is unclear; while he does free one woman already deprived of a few working joints he’s just as brutal as Albino but he is better with paper work. He even has a student, Count Christian (Udo Kier). Christian is cleared eyed and enthusiastic, but he IS a young man and a quick tryst with busty Vanessa (Olivera Katarina) puts them both at risk. One day Albino and is drunk buddies happen to glimpse a nude woman in a window. Since this is clearly witchcraft they break in, kill her lover and haul her off to the rack. But then Albino overplays his hand: he offers Cumberland half the take and half the women and effectively confesses to…WITCHCRAFT! Cumberland refuses; Albino makes an ill-considered remark about impotence and Cumberland murders Albino with Christen as witness. I’m skipping details, but I’ll say this: The Black Death wasn’t as brutal and efficient as the Inquisition.

Released in 1969 or 1970 (depending on where you lived) this movie has never been shown uncut. It is truly disturbing; while it’s clear how the torture scenes were filmed they are nonetheless troubling and brutal. Fans of S&M, B&D, torture and snuff will enjoy this show; fainter hearts should not fear the FF button. Technically this is a well done movie; directors Michael Armstrong and Adrian Hoven are justifiably proud of their work on the sometimes creepy commentary track.

Released in 1969 or 1970 (depending on where you lived) this movie has never been shown uncut. It is truly disturbing; while it’s clear how the torture scenes were filmed they are nonetheless troubling and brutal. Fans of S&M, B&D, torture and snuff will enjoy this show; fainter hearts should not fear the FF button. Technically this is a well done movie; directors Michael Armstrong and Adrian Hoven are justifiably proud of their work on the sometimes creepy commentary track.

Shot on clear blue days on the north slope of the Alps the scenery is stunning, the camera work clever and clearly thought out. The actors are all fully engaged: you never think “he’s just reading lines” but rather “that is one sick puppy and he should die. Painfully. Where do I sign up?” Nadler is that grinning smirking kid you shoved in the locker, and now he’s found his revenge and he’s working it hard. Kier has belladonna bright eyes, they are fascinating to watch and as he becomes what little moral compass this story holds forth, you can see him wrestle with trusting God and Cumberland or doing what is clearly right and merciful. Be happy you haven’t fallen into this Bavarian Hellhole, and hope your fellows will deign to defend you if you do.

Shot on clear blue days on the north slope of the Alps the scenery is stunning, the camera work clever and clearly thought out. The actors are all fully engaged: you never think “he’s just reading lines” but rather “that is one sick puppy and he should die. Painfully. Where do I sign up?” Nadler is that grinning smirking kid you shoved in the locker, and now he’s found his revenge and he’s working it hard. Kier has belladonna bright eyes, they are fascinating to watch and as he becomes what little moral compass this story holds forth, you can see him wrestle with trusting God and Cumberland or doing what is clearly right and merciful. Be happy you haven’t fallen into this Bavarian Hellhole, and hope your fellows will deign to defend you if you do.

Despite the brutality and art of this film, it also carries a clear moral message that resonates more in the United States than in West Germany. Wild accusations without facts, trials absent challenges to evidence or the opportunity to say your side do not lead to justice or public safety. This is the typical police state where leaders fear assassination and the worker fear murder. The Catholic Church does not come off well here, there’s a priest in every torture scene calming pacing and praying as women bleed and men are forced to sit on sharp nails. How anyone one would have an immune system strong enough to recover even if they were released is beyond me, and this movie drive home a well-known fact many would love to be false: Under torture you will say anything, and if you say what they want, they’ll kill you anyway.

Despite the brutality and art of this film, it also carries a clear moral message that resonates more in the United States than in West Germany. Wild accusations without facts, trials absent challenges to evidence or the opportunity to say your side do not lead to justice or public safety. This is the typical police state where leaders fear assassination and the worker fear murder. The Catholic Church does not come off well here, there’s a priest in every torture scene calming pacing and praying as women bleed and men are forced to sit on sharp nails. How anyone one would have an immune system strong enough to recover even if they were released is beyond me, and this movie drive home a well-known fact many would love to be false: Under torture you will say anything, and if you say what they want, they’ll kill you anyway.

www.arrowfilms.co.uk

www.arrowfilms.co.uk

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