Written by: Michael Den Boer on September 7th, 2009
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
DVD released: June 7th, 2006
Approximate running time: 79 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English
Subtitles: Forced Traditional Chinese
DVD Release: Evergreen Entertainment Ltd.
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC (Hong Kong)
Retail Price: $10.95
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. Outside of the main saxophone motif the rest of Claudio Natili’s score for The Devil’s Honey is a pedestrian affair that is lacking in every way.
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.
While 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. Ultimately The Devil’s Honey is a flawed film that has a few interesting moments that are undeniably Lucio Fulci.
The Devil’s Honey is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that appears to be the film’s aspect ratio, as the image never looks too tight or cropped. This transfer has not been flagged for progressive playback. The quality of this interlaced sourced is adequate at best with an overly soft image, distorted colors and flesh tones and there are noticeable issues with artifacts, compression and edge enhancement.
This release comes with one audio option a Dolby Digital mono mix in English. The audio sounds flat, distorted and there is noticeable background noise throughout. Even though the DVD back cover art lists two subtitle options English and traditional Chinese. There is actually only one subtitle option included with this release traditional Chinese and these subtitles are forced throughout.
This release comes with no extra content. The menu is basic play main feature or scene selection. The DVD comes in a card board slip case (with the same back and front cover art), that houses the DVD keep case. Overall The Devil’s Honey gets a barely watchable audio / video presentation.