Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 29th, 2017
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1986
Director: Lucio Fulci
Writers: Jaime Jesús Balcázar, Lucio Fulci, Ludovica Marineo, Sergio Partou, Vincenzo Salviani
Cast: Brett Halsey, Corinne Clery, Blanca Marsillach, Stefano Madia, Paula Molina, Bernard Seray
BluRay released: September 26th, 2017
Approximate running times: 83 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / MPEG-4 AVC
Sound: LPCM Mono English, LPCM Mono Italian
Subtitles: English SDH
BluRay Release: Severin Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95
The Devil’s Honey was co-written and directed by Lucio Fulci, who is primarily known for his gore films like The Beyond and Zombie and thrillers like Don’t Torture a Duckling and A Woman in a Lizard’s Skin. While there has been erotic under tones in many of his films. Outside of a handful of erotica / comedy hybrids like The Eroticist, Dracula in the Provinces and My Sister in Law, he rarely ventured into the erotica genre.
The cinematographer on The Devil’s Honey was Alejandro Ulloa and some of his standout films as a cinematographer include The Diabolical Dr. Z, The Mercenary, One on Top of the Other, Eagles over London, Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion, Companeros, High Crime, The House by the Edge of the Lake, Night of the Werewolf, Conquest and Christina. The score for The Devil’s Honey was composed by Claudio Natili, who began his career as a member of the Rock Band The Romans and their music appears in Renato Polselli’s Mondo pazzo… gente matta!.
The Devil’s Honey is a story about two lovers Johnny an up and coming musician and his girlfriend Jessica. Early on the film establishes that they have a very psychical relationship that is often tumultuous in nature. One day after a lover’s spat to prove his undying love for Jessica, Johnny rides around her on his motorcycle. This event leads to him hitting his head really hard on a rock which leads to him seeing a doctor named Wendell Simpson a prominent brain surgeon. Doctor Simpson at the time he was called in for the operation was also going through his own turbulent relationships woes with his wife Caroline. Unable to focus Johnny dies during the operation. This is when the film shifts away from its blatantly overt use of erotica into themes more geared towards revenge. Jessica kidnaps Doctor Simpson who she then proceeds to put through a series of grueling punishments. Not wanting him to die until he has suffered to her liking she even gives him mouth to mouth in one scene to revive him after he nearly drowns.
Though revenge may be the main Modus Operandi of the latter half of the film, this does not mean that the film has abandoned its erotic overtones that dominate the opening part of the film. In fact during the bulk of the time that the Jessica character is torturing the Doctor Simpson character she is either topless or full on nude. Visually the film shows that director Lucio Fulci always was able to create interesting compositions / set pieces even if the budget or the material at hand was lacking. One of The Devil’s Honey’s strongest assets is the film’s editing which was handled by Vincenzo Tomassi, who worked with director Lucio Fulci a total of sixteen times beginning with the film The Eroticist and ending with Voices from Beyond. The film also does a good job filling in the back-story of Johnny and Jessica through a series of flashbacks.
The Devil’s Honey features a few familiar faces Brett Halsey in the role of Doctor Simpson (Four Times that Night), in his first collaboration with Lucio Fulci and Corinne Clery (The Story of O, Hitch Hike), in the role of the doctor’s wife Caroline. This film’s most memorable performance comes from Blanca Marsillach in the role of Jessica the girlfriend of the musician who tragically dies. Blanca Marsillach is the younger sister of Cristina Marsillach who starred in the Dario Argento film Opera. As good as her performance is in The Devil’s Honey it only further magnifies just how poor of a performance that Stefano Madia turns in the role of Johnny.
The Devil’s Honey comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. The transfer for this release is a brand-new HD 2k scan that was sourced from the film’s original camera negative. There is a soft-focus look that appears to be intended and grain remains intact, though it should be noted that it is heavier is some of the darker scenes. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black levels remain strong throughout and there are no issues with compression. When compared to previous home video releases for this film, this new transfer is superior in every way.
This release comes with two audio options, a LPCM mono mix in English and a LPCM mono mix in Italian. Both audio mixes are clean and free of any background noise or distortion. Range wise the Italian audio mixes is the more robust of these two audio mixes. And when it comes to the Italian language track it also has sound effects / ambient sound that is not present on the English language track. Included with this release are removable English SDH subtitles. It should be noted that these subtitles are a direct translation of the English language track’s dialog.
Extras for this release include, a reversible cover art, a English language trailer for the film (2 minutes 40 seconds), an alternate English language opening credits under the title Dangerous Obsession (2 minutes 33 seconds), an audio essay by Troy Howarth author of Splintered Visions – Lucio Fulci And His Films titled Fulci’s Honey (16 minutes 55 seconds), an interview with author Stephen Thrower author of Beyond Terror: The Films of Lucio Fulci (21 minutes 43 seconds), an interview with composer Claudio Natili titled The Devil’s Sax (9 minutes 51 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with producer Vincenzo Salviani titled Producing Honey (13 minutes 22 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles), an interview with actress Corinne Cléry titled Wild Flower (12 minutes 13 seconds, in Italian with English subtitles) and an interview with actor Brett Halsey titled The Devil’s Halsey (17 minutes 26 seconds).
Topics discussed in the audio essay with Troy Howarth include, Perversion Story, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin, The Eroticist, Don’t Torture a Duckling, The New York Ripper, The Devil’s Honey, Brett Halsey and La Gabbia (The Trap) – a film that has a similar theme and was written by Lucio Fulci.
Topics discussed in the interview with Stephen Thrower include, the origins of The Devil’s Honey, Lucio Fulci, the cast, La Gabbia (The Trap) and its connection to The Devil’s Honey, his thoughts about The Devil’s Honey and the film’s that Lucio Fulci made after this film.
Topics discussed in the interview with Claudio Natili include, background information about The Romans a Rock band that he was part of, Mondo pazzo… gente matta!, The Automobile, producer Vincenzo Salviani, Lucio Fulci and The Devil’s Honey.
Topics discussed in the interview with Vincenzo Salviani include, Lucio Fulci, The Devil’s Honey, his creative process as a producer and the cast.
Topics discussed in the interview with Corinne Cléry include, her origins as a model / actress, The Story of O, her experiences as an actress, Lucio Fulci, Blanca Marsillach, Brett Halsey and The Devil’s Honey.
Topics discussed in the interview with Brett Halsey include, his origins as an actor, why he left Hollywood and stayed in Italy to make films, Riccardo Freda, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, The Devil’s Honey / the cast, Jess Franco / Esmeralda Bay, Touch of Death, Demonia and Cat in the Brain.
Overall Severin Films gives The Devil’s Honey it’s home video release to date.
Note: This film is also being released by Severin Films on DVD.