MARK OF THE DEVIL
Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
The demented Count Cumberland (Herbert Lom), is an Austrian nobleman who implements the witch-hunting policies of the Inquisition as a means of obtaining land, riches, and nubile young wenches -- particularly the lovely Vanessa (Olivera Vuco), who has been accused of heresy and witchcraft. Cumberland's accomplice in the torture and terror, Baron Christian Von Mem (Udo Kier), realizes that his mentor is the true evil stalking the land, not the terrified innocents whose "witch trials" are a mockery of justice.
Is it good movie?
This goofy old movie came across my desk with a vomit bag attached to
it, which immediately got my attention. It was even originally rated
"V" for all of the violence within (and no, that wasn't a real
rating..just clever marketing)!
Anywho, this one really isn't as violent as the package would have you
believe, and if you've seen any other exploitative old gore films
(Cannibal Holocaust, or perhaps the Faces of Death series), you'll be
fine watching this one despite a couple of nasty scenes.
The plot here is kind of tough to follow. The whole thing is set in the
18th century (and looks pretty good, too), and deals with young Udo
Kier as he struggles with the difficult consequences of killing
innocent people who are thought of as witches or something (he falls in
love with one of them you see, and witnesses the corruption of his
infallible leader). There are counts, usurpers, witch hunters and
executioners. Really though, there isn't a lot of plot to speak of as
the majority of the film seems intent on showing women being tortured
And there's plenty of violence to go around! People get burned, people
get beat up, there's some nasty (and weird) eye stuff, crunched up
extremeties and plenty of rape to go around. The story itself is just
ugly and messy- people stealing, beating, torturing and violating each
other. Of course the big payoff is seeing a tongue ripped out of a
woman's mouth. And although the story is utterly a front, when Udo Kier
finally sees the light, it just makes no sense. The guy tortured people
in chambers for years and still manages to have a heavy heart? I don't
Ultimately, I just don't really know why anyone would seek this out.
Sure, it has its infamous moments or whatever but it is of course dated
and downright tame in some aspects today. If you're really into
exploitation, I suppose this would be a necessary staple for your
collection. However, if you don't love seeing naked women quivering on
tables with various torture devices causing them great pain, you might
not enjoy this.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in Widescreen but is just ugly, no
matter how you slice it. It's grainy, dull looking and just plain nasty.
Audio is presented in Mono, and it's also unremarkable,
soft and muffled, not pretty.
The only real extra is the barf bag
replica- other than that, there's these weird Drive-in styled ads for refreshments
and things like that.
Sure, it's a video nasty and has gained some notoriety. Mark of the Devil is still not a well
made film though, and doesn't quite live up to the hype. Still though,
if you're an ardent collector, you might want to pick up the
far-more-loaded Blue Underground edition from '04..although it doesn't
have a collectible vomit bag.