Monday, January 17, 2022

VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST (1974) Blu-ray Review

Voodoo Black Exorcist (1974) d. Manuel Caño (Spain) (88 min)

Despite trying to cash in on the name of William Friedkin’s possession classic (and the quickly fading blaxploitation era), this is really a mummy movie in disguise. Things kick off “2000 years ago” with two men fighting over the love of a woman on Caribbean island… all sporting black face (and body) paint. After one kills the other, there is a big ceremony wherein the woman is beheaded and the high priest is mummified while topless women dance around the fire. That’s the first five minutes, folks.

From there, we fast forward to a pleasure cruise “2000 years later” where a sarcophagus is loaded onto the ship and our high priest’s mummy steps out all dusty and crusty, although he quickly reverts to a much suaver persona of Guede (Aldo Sambrell, happily sans the Al Jolson act) and starts mowing down random passengers. Wouldn’t you know it, he crosses paths with the reincarnation of his lady love Sylvia (Eva Leon), who is riding on the arm of a stuffy Professor Kessling (Alfredo Mayo) who is the new owner of the sarcophagus in question.

The rest of the bonkers proceedings involve Guede killing off passengers to keep himself from reverting to his mummified state and Kessling trying to keep his new find under wraps (HEYO), while Sylvia tries to keep her clothes on and resist the two-centuries-old siren call of l’amour. There is also the unintentionally hilarious inaction of the world’s least-effective detective in the form of Inspector Dominguez (Fernando Sancho) who spouts such quotables as “I have a system. I drink gin and wait.” and “A criminal is reasonable, but none of this is.”

From its wildly inappropriate opening to the “Jesus, did they just set that person on fire?” conclusion, there are enough head-scratching plot devices, inventive murders, and dialogue howlers to keep viewers entertained for all the wrong reasons. Leon, who appeared opposite Paul Naschy in The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll and Inquisition, is none too hard on the eyes and Sambrell, veteran of over 160 TV and film appearances (including The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, Treasure Island with Orson Welles, and several flicks for Sergio Leone), is energetic and watchable in both his wrinkled and handsome guises. (Shades of Boris Karloff’s appearance in the 1932 Universal classic.)

Ridiculous, wonderful, Spanish-flavored Turkey for the whole family.

"It's only awkward if you make it... no, it's awkward."

Voodoo Black Exorcist is available now from The Film Detective on a bare-bones but cleaned-up Blu-ray or streaming on The Film Detective TV (and on dozens of public domain DVDs, albeit in much poorer quality).


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