The Devil’s Wedding Night (1973)
Sure I often refer to the western as my favorite genre and go to films of choice but there is something to be said for these sleazy Eurotrash productions of the seventies that were perfect fodder for drive-in theaters and the countless bootleg editions that would surface in the eighties during the early days of the VHS craze when I was hungry to discover all sorts of risqué horrors. Sara Bay (real name Rosalba Neri) provides just that as the semi clothed Countess Dracula for the better part of 90 minutes in this thriller directed by Luigi Batzella under his U.S. pseudonym, Paul Solvay.
Mark Damon gets more than his fare share of screen time here as twin brothers. Damon had famously dabbled in the horror genre previously in 1960’s classic Poe thriller, House of Usher. One brother is the scholarly type doing research on the Carpathians and a certain ring once worn by the Countess while the other is a bit of the playboy type and looks to be doing his best to conjure up the image of Bela Lugosi. It’s our fast and loose brother who heads off in search of Castle Dracula and hunt down the ring said to possess otherworldly powers.
As he nears the Castle, he’ll find that the Night of the Virgin Moon approaches. It’s when five lovely virginal lasses will be called from their sleep to journey to the castle in what little attire they sleep in, never to be heard from again. It’s a once every fifty years kind of deal. Slow down, Mike! You’re getting ahead of yourself here.
“Who knows what pleasures you might find if you tried.”
When Damon the playboy arrives at the castle, he’ll meet the lady of the house, Sarah Bay. The flirtations and eventual seduction begins. Damon falls into her evil clutches and will soon discover that the legendary Countess still walks the castle hallways. Let the nudity, lip biting and erotica begin with some artistic camera angles featuring the ample curves of Miss Bay as she let’s her lust turn to a hunger for blood.
Reminding me of the plot for Scars of Dracula and by extension, Stoker’s original source novel itself, allowing of course for Miss Bay to sub in for Chris Lee/Dracula, brother number two, the scholarly Damon follows the tracks of his sibling only to find himself meeting Miss Bay on the Night of the Virgin Moon. A wedding has been planned that will see the spirit of her late husband, Count Dracula return to human form in the body of playboy Damon. Can the nerdish brother with a penchant for burying his nose in history books defeat the evil Countess and free his brother from sin?
Thankfully we’ll have to wait for the exploitation filmmakers to have those five virginal girls from the valley below journey to the castle in the dead of night in their white nighties. Fangs and breasts will be bared when the girls are to used in some sort of blood sacrifice meant to bring the Count back into the world as we know it. Now that the camera has delivered the “goods” for the midnight crowd allowing each budding starlet her turn to be disrobed in the hopes of greater things to come, Damon the good can go into action and save the day from those bloodsuckers that we viewers never seem to get enough of.
Is this Hammer quality? Far from it but that doesn’t mean it isn’t any less enjoyable. It has more in common with the Karnstein Trilogy than it does the Lee/Dracula series. Nudity abounds as does the obligatory lesbian vampire interlude between Sara and her servant girl, the Brazilian Esmerelda Barros. With the zoom lens getting plenty of use, and capturing a heavy dose of flesh on the screen, one might think this was a Jess Franco production. It certainly plays like one though upon a bit of research, IMDB has Joe D’Amato listed as an uncredited director. Joe would direct his fare share of “adult” features as well as a Jack Palance curio, Black Cobra that must be seen to be believed.
Leading man Damon is still active in the industry as a Producer. In 2013 he served as an executive on two films I enjoyed immensely, 2 Guns as well as Lone Survivor. If an orgasmic bloodbath isn’t too your taste where Miss Bay is concerned, then I guess she’ll always have 1971’s Lady Frankenstein as a go to film for us genre fans where “Only the monster she made could satisfy her strange desires.”
This Devil’s Night shouldn’t be too hard to locate. It’s probably out there on dozens of old dusty VHS tapes and has surfaced through Elvira’s DVD line and had also been released by Code Red on blu ray.