10,000 Bullets   Exploring the world of Cinema from the Arthouse to the Grindhouse™

Black Candles/Evil Eye (Welcome to the Grindhouse) 
Written by: on August 8th, 2007

Theatrical Release Dates: UK/Spain, 1982 (Black Candles), Italy/Spain/Mexico, 1974 (Evil Eye)
Directors: José Ramón Larraz (Black Candles), Mario Siciliano (Evil Eye)
Cast: Christopher Bright, Jeffrey Healey, Vanessa Hidalgo, Lucille Jameson, Paul Kendall, Helga Liné, John McGrat, Fred Pulver, Mauro Ribera, Betty Webster, Rose Wren (Black Candles), Jorge Rivero, Richard Conte, Antonio De Teffè, Eduardo Fajardo, Lone Fleming, Pia Giancaro, Daniela Giordano, Luis Latorre, Flora Marrone, Luciano Pigozzi, Eva Vanicek, Pilar Velázquez (Evil Eye)

DVD released: July 3rd, 2007
Approximate running time: 82 minutes (Black Candles), 92 minutes (Evil Eye)
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen (Both Films)
Rating: NR
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English (Both Films)
Subtitles: N/A
DVD Release: BCi Eclipse/Deimos
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $12.98

Black Candles: Carol goes to England after receiving a mysterious note from her brother who recently passed away under suspicious circumstances. Shortly after her arrival Carol soon uncovers the truth behind her brothers’ death. Now that she knows that truth will Carol be able to escape before she is silenced like her brother and those who tried to expose the truth before her?

José Ramón Larraz a renowned filmmaker of trashy Euro-cult cinema epics like The Violation of the Bitch, The Blood Virgin and his undeniable masterpiece Vampyres. The films of José Ramón Larraz are generally hit and miss; still I went into Black Candles with high hopes because of my fondness of Vampyres. Visually the film doesn’t disappoint and when it comes with sex and nudity in these tow areas it is off the chart. The story is downright silly and the film makes up for lack of character development with its numerous sex scenes which make up at least 2/3 of the film.

The story does feature many exploitation staples like T&A, Orgies and goat loving. Also at times the story liberally borrows ideas/moments straight out of Rosemary’s Baby like when Carol’s lover leaves marks of her back after a ruff night of sex. The most memorable moment in the film and it doesn’t involve livestock is when someone betrays the cult and they shove a sword up is anus. This scene is beyond description. The films ending is frustrating and only furthers enhances ones feeling of the time that has been wasted watching this film. Ultimately if you can get past the uneven plot and if you just like weird cinema then you might want to give Black Candles a chance.

Evil Eye: Peter Crane has been suffering nightmares in which he murders people. Unable to tell the difference between fantasy and reality Peter is put into a hospital by one of his doctor friends. Immediately after the first nightmare bodies start turning up. Is Peter responsible for these murders or is this all just a bad dream?

The Evil Eye is convoluted story about madness, murder and deception. The plot lacks any real direction and even if you pay close attention to what is going on the plot still remains a mysterious more often then actually revealing what the hell is going on.

The look and style of the film has 1970’s Italian exploitation cinema written all over it. None of the performances stand out and all of the murders are average at bets with no real classic visceral moment of carnage. The bets part of the film is Stelvio Cipriani’s catchy and memorable score. Ultimately this film is a mess and while I tired to find something redeemable in it I was unable to.

The DVD:

Both films are given serviceable letterboxed widescreen transfers. Both transfers also have not been flagged for progressive playback. There is some mild ghosting / blurring of the image.

Both releases each come with one audio option Dolby Digital Mono English. There is noticeable background noise that varies in degree.

Extras for this release are limited to trailers. Overall while not without its flaws this double feature is at least affordably priced.

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