Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 24th, 2013
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1972
Director: Giorgio Ferroni
Writer: Eduardo Brochero, Romano Migliorini, Gianbattista Musseto (based on a story by Aleksei Tolstoy)
Cast: Gianni Garko, Agostina Belli,Roberto Maldera
BluRay Released: October 30th, 2012
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English, DTS-HD Mono Italian
Subtitles: English, German
BluRay Release: Raro USA
Region Encoding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
The Night of the Devils was directed by Giorgio Ferroni, who is most remembered for directing the 1960 Italian gothic horror film The Mill of the Stone Women. Key collaborators on The Night of the Devils include cinematographer Manuel Berenguer (The House That Screamed) and composer Giorgio Gaslini (So Sweet, So Dead, Deep Red). The screenplay for The Night of the Devils was adapted from Tolstoy’s short story titled ‘The Wurdulak’. Which many fans of Italian horror cinema should be familiar with, since that same short story served as the basis of one the stories that made up the Mario Bava anthology film Black Sabbath.
Though the plot for The Night of the Devils bears many similarities to the aforementioned Black Sabbath. The way in which these two films explore said subject matter is what sets them apart from each other. The Night of the Devils explores the cursed villagers story with a psychological edge that has been infused with a dash of psychedelia. And nowhere is this more evident than in the opening moments of The Night of the Devils, which go for the juggler and then some.
From a horror film perspective the film relies more on atmosphere (something which this film has an abundance of), then trying to shock its viewers with gruesome moments of carnage. With that being said, there are a handful of gory moments that are in line with Grand Guignol stylized valance that has since become synonymous with 1970’s Italian exploitation cinema.
From a production standpoint one would be hard pressed to find an area of this production that does not excel. The visuals perfectly reinforce the aforementioned atmosphere and pacing is also never an issue as each new revelation is spread out just enough to let the previous one fully resonate. It should also be mentioned the this film’s special effects were created by Carlo Rambaldi, who’s special effects for A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin where considered so effective that he and that film’s director Lucio Fulci where brought up on animal cruelty charges. And though he has an extensive resume as a special effects artist, his most famous creation is E.T.
Performance wise their entire cast are very good in their respective roles, especially Gianni Garko (The Psychic) in role of Nicola, this film’s paranoid protagonist. Another performance of note Agostina Belli (Revolver) in the role Sdenka, the women who bewitches Nicola. Ultimately The Night of the Devils is a first rate Gothic thriller that for far too long has remained in the shadows and hopefully now will find the wider audience it always deserved.
The Night of the Devils comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. The source used for this transfer is in very good shape, as colors look appropriately saturated, flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels look consistently good and details generally look crisp. There are no issues with compression and DNR, while present it is never too intrusive.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English and a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian. Range wise both audio mixes are rather limited and it should also be noted that there are instances of background and mild distortion. With that being said, the Italian audio mix sounds slightly better of the two audio mixes included with this release. Also this release comes with two subtitle options, English and German.
Extras for this release include a intro to the film with Fangoria magazine’s Chris Alexander and a interview with composer Giorgio Gaslini (32 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen – Italian with English subtitles). The interview with Giorgio Gaslini is a well rounded discussion that covers how he got into composing films scores and he talks in depth about his score for The Night of the Devils. While the intro with Chris Alexander is more a personal recollection on his thoughts about the film. Also included with this release is slip cover that has different image, then the one used for the front cover art on the DVD and a sixteen page collectable booklet that comes with a lengthy essay about the film and a essay / interview about this film’s score with its composer Giorgio Gaslini. Overall The Night of the Devils gets a first rate release from Raro Video.
Note: This film is also being released by Raro on DVD.