Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Devil Master (aka The Demon Lover) [1977]

Caution: Spoilers Galore

"You are one, one with him whose name is unspeakable;
whose power is unimaginable. Rise!"

A guy (Christmas Robbins) doing a bloated impersonation of Metallica's James Hetfield uses the Powers of Hell to lure pretty, young virgins into his coven. His name, ironically enough, is Laval Blessing. He's a man who knows where he's going, and he'll have what he needs to get there. What blonde, beautiful, pure as the driven snow Pamela doesn't know is that what she refuses to give Laval will be brutally taken without her permission.

"There's nothing disgusting about it! Why are you so damn
hung up on the retarded morality of that world out there?"

Laval is losing control over his unruly coven, who seem to think that the meetings are more about booze and sex than about magick. They are unable to focus their energies. The unwilling virgin and her close-minded boyfriend are running amok, and causing dissention in the group. Laval mixes up a potion, says some magic words, and conjures a demon to seek revenge on the defectors.

Later that same night, Pamela awakens from a sound sleep, and is led into the woods by a powerful, supernatural force. After a considerable amount of time spent staggering around in the darkness clad in a near-sheer nightie, the young girl is clawed to pieces by a red-eyed beast with stragly hair, and massive talons.

"It's a dead body, Pete! Just like on TV!"

When the cops come sniffing around about the brutal slaying of the virginal Pamela, the coven members suspect their leader, Laval, may be involved somehow. After all, "he's real heavy into black magick." Rest assured, the plume-haired messiah and the plasticine demon he's conjured will make each one of them pay for their infidelities!

Detective Tom Frazetta (Tom Hutton) goes with his wife to a metaphysical group meeting in order to better inform himself on the topic of black magic and ritual murder, as he suspects that some weirdo who is into that kind of "hocus pocus" may be responsible for the vicious killings. Enter Professor Peckinpah (Gunnar Hansen), expert on all things strange and unusual (including, but not limited to, chainsaw massacres).

"I wanna know about these strange cults
with high priests,
and black magic weirdos that
kill people in possible blood rituals."

Local police receive a tip from one of the ex coven members, the viewer is treated to a nauseating, back-and-forth exchange while Frazetta confronts Laval about Pamela's disappearance. It's painful, and not unlike watching a ping pong match!

After Laval finishes with the Detective, he heads to the local dojo to work on his karate. If the point of this segment was to show the antagonist's fighting prowess, the director has failed miserably. Laval lumbers through a set of movements with a number of sparring partners, until finally having his balls kicked in (literally!) by the sensai. Moments later, however, the hulking long-hair opens a bonus-size can of whoop ass on what appears to be an Ugly Convention. A very poorly choreographed, Royal Rumble-style bar fight ensues.

Hopped up on punchin', and bent on revenge, Laval sends his demon for the rest of the dumb broads that deserted his coven. The fuzzy-pawed devil interrupts an impromptu, girl-on-girl (on girl!) shaving cream fight/wrestling match, a scene which definitely takes top prize in the Most Inconvenient Satanic Slaying category.

One of the girls manages to temporarily escape while the demon is busy manually stimulating her friend, but she is later discovered by The Guys, all prepped for serving like a holiday ham. The stage is set. The stimulated girl, as she lay dying, uttered the name "Laval." The Guys decide to seek out the vengeful sorcerer at his "castle" in the woods. Detective Frazetta is on his way there, too.

Laval decides to mix it up a bit with respect to what he has in store for The Guys. Upon entering the castle, the men are driven mad by an unseen demon. Entranced, they begin stabbing themselves, stabbing one another, and there's even a crossbow thrown in for good measure. Cue Detective Frazetta!

Frazetta hauls his sweet, plaid slacks into the castle just as Laval's demon is laying waste to the last of the deserters. Proving that you can never trust a demon, the creature uses his conjurer as a human shield in an attempt to avoid the Detective's gunfire. Frazetta finally sinks a bullet, and then another, into the scaly chest of the rummage sale devil, and it evaporates into a convenient smoke screen.

Please don't let my lengthy, involved review of DEVIL MASTER fool you: it is not a good movie. It is, in fact, very, very, very bad. The writing is terrible, the direction even worse, and features what is quite possibly the worst cast of characters ever committed to film. Furthermore, it looks like it was put together by a blind man: think saturated, high-contrast colours, for that high school A/V project effect. Seriously, folks -- it's a terrible, awful, scab of a movie with virtually no redeeming qualities. I failed miserably in my first attempt at watching this monstrosity, and the second attempt took approximately 3 weeks' worth of concerted effort on my part.

So, was it worth it? Hells, yeah! But I'm a sucker for punishment...

"Joining an occult study group - me and my big ideas!"
Faux Frank Zappa

DEVIL MASTER Image Gallery on Kitty's Flickr

1/5 Kitty Skulls = Somebody should have turned the hose on this movie's parents!

Thanks to Karswell for delivering this diabolical dilly unto me!