Night of the Sorcerors

Night of the Sorcerors

Night of the Sorcerors

Director : Armando De Ossorio
Script : Armando De Ossorio
Music : Fernando G Morcillo
Photography : Francisco Sanchez
Editor : Antonio Ramirez
Producers : Jose A.P. Giner, Luis Moreno
Cast : Jack Taylor, Simon Andreu, Loretta Tovar, Maria Kosti, Kali Hansa, Jose Thelman, Barbara King

A cheerily hokey Spanish horror movie, this is far from being one of De Ossorio’s best films – perhaps reflecting the lack of mythological aspect that pervades his work elsewhere. However, it is still an enjoyably tacky feast of breasts, blood and bad dubbing; ridiculous, naive and disarming in equal measures.

The opening sequence sets the tone for proceedings. Voodoo drums pound, ‘natives’ stagger around and the air is resonant with exotic mysteries. A nameless babe (Barbara King) is dragged into the picture, tied up and promptly disrobed by a shuffle-dancing dude who wields a mean whip. After she is laid down on a stone altar and decapitated the locals go mad, charging in for a chow down only to be mowed down by a troupe of upright European types. Then, just to ease us into a mood of robust silliness, the severed head does a nifty somersault (?!?) and hisses at the camera. Spooky!

Hokey fun from Night of the Sorcerors

Hokey fun from Night of the Sorcerors

After the credits play out to a pretty appalling 70’s soundtrack we join an expedition of conservationists who are taking a trip into stock footage land. Internal conflicts within the group are soon outlined and they decide to set up camp near a deserted village. Deserted, that is, apart from the creepy Tebunga (Jose Thelman), a weaselly fellow in a dumb hat, who explains that the area is crawling with witches who carry out their ungodly rituals by night. With all the indifference of an idiot, Susan (Loretta Tovar) decides to amble around the cursed area after dark, and is soon doing the damned fandango with our undead friends.

It is here that the fiendish plot becomes apparent; these particular sorcerers are manufacturing goths. Individuals are brought to their ceremonies as perfectly respectable human beings. When they emerge they have backcombed hair and too much foundation. Now that is truly scary. When daybreak comes, our surviving adventurers are left wondering as to what happened, their companions having withdrawn to a bedsit in Leeds with Bauhaus on the stereo and the curtains closed. Indeed, these creatures worship Marilyn Manson to such an extent that they drown Jack Taylor in his developing fluid for the horrible crime of having a colorful mustache. Eventually, everyone except for Rod (Simon Andreu) and Tanika (Kali Hansa) is drifting about looking for a provincial town centre where they can drink cider-and-black.

Gothic fun from Night of the Sorcerors

Did I go to this party back in the 1980s? Very probably…

In many ways, Night of the Sorcerors is a lesser companion piece to the Blind Dead series. It has the same basic story line of pitting an isolated group against an unnatural foe. Where it fails, however, is in the fact that the voodoo vampires are a lot less visually startling than the Templars of the other films. Indeed, they seem to have emigrated from the cinematic oeuvre of another Hispanic director, Leon Klimovsky, who features slow motion, new wave bloodsuckers in a number of his unexceptional productions. He also has a tendency – as with this – to rely upon somewhat murky nighttime cinematography whereas some of the most powerful shots of the Blind Dead series were those filmed in daylight. In De Ossorio’s defence, however, it must be acknowledged that no one has made a great voodoo film that is set in Africa…

Apart from that, it’s not all bad. There’s a fine cast of Euro stalwarts including the undervalued Simon Andreu who cropped up in Paul Veorhoven’s Flesh and Blood (1985). Jack Taylor is his normal sartorially splendid self and Kali Hansa cropped up in a couple of Jesus Franco movies around the same time. Fun, but nothing special.

About Matt Blake

The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.
This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Night of the Sorcerors

  1. “an enjoyably tacky feast of breasts, blood and bad dubbing” sounds splendid to me though I recall that there are – as you say – a lot of poorly lit night time shots that detract from the ‘atmosphere’ De Ossorio is trying to create (but this IS the same man that made The Sea Serpent, perhaps the most tacky monster movie since Reptilicus). Mind if I punt – and credit – your review over to Horrorpedia.com?

    • Matt Blake says:

      Feel free! Surely The Sea Monster is only the most tacky monster movie since Yeti – Giant of the 20th Century?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>