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Seven Women For Satan (1976)

Comments Off on Seven Women For Satan (1976) 02 November 2014

Seven Women For Satan CoverStudio: Mondo Macabro

Theatrical Release: 1976

DVD Release: November 11th, 2003

Rating: UnRated

Directed by Michel Lemoine

Review by Craig Sorensen

When I close my eyes and try to imagine all of the excesses and cliche’s of euro-horror, what I imagine isn’t too far off from Seven Women for Satan.  The film plays like a combination of Jean Rollin and Jess Franco.  You’ve got a dream like ‘narrative’ that jumps through time, copious nudity and Howard Vernon playing a butler.  If that sounds like a good time, then great.  If you aren’t a fan of those two filmmakers, well, you should probably steer clear. 

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Director Michel Lemoine plays Count Zaroff Jr. (son of the Count Zaroff character from The Most Dangerous Game), who is, I guess, insane.  He lives in a large castle with his butler Karl (Howard Vernon from The Perverse Countess) who encourages Zaroff to follow in dear old dad’s footsteps.  The film opens with Zaroff, on horseback, chasing a naked woman through the woods.  After killing her we snap to Zaroff sitting at a desk at what I assume is his job.  It’s not really explained in detail of course.  Was the opening scene only in his head?  Who knows.  Get used to that feeling. 

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The rest of the film plays sort of like short vignettes as various women wander into Zaroff’s life and he kills them in various ways.  He runs over one with his car, sicks his dog on one (confession: I love terrible dog attack scenes.  There’s nothing like watching someone roll on the floor screaming while a tail wagging, happy dog plays with them, hopefully with fake growling added to the soundtrack), impales one on rusty farm equipment and, in one of the film’s best scene, put’s his father’s torture chamber to good use.  In between these gruesome scenes you get Zaroff hallucinating visitations from a beautiful deceased woman (Joëlle Coeur of The Demoniacs).  Or is she a real ghost?

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Like a lot of horror coming out of Europe at the time, Seven Women for Satan isn’t too worried about narrative structure.  The film plays more like a tone poem than a traditional film.  The film jumps around quiet a bit from scene to scene, dream to reality to the point where one isn’t sure where one begins or ends.  So, I would imagine that it’d be a bit rough for a lot of novice film watchers out there.  If you know what to expect however, there’s a lot to like.  Like Rollin or Franco, there are some striking scenes and themes.  Of course, like Rollin or Franco, there’s a lot of filler in between those scenes.  This film drags at certain points.  Still, it’s can be fun.  There is some beautiful photography from cinematographer Philippe Théaudiére (Wife Swapping: French Style) and some crazy electronic music from Guy Bonnet (The Bitches) to tide you over until the next crazy scene at least.

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Mondo Macabro’s 2003 DVD is definitely showing it’s age at this point.  Colors are muted and detail is soft all around.  Sure, there’s lots of soft focus photography in the film to begin with, but it’s still too soft, you know?  There’s minor print damage but I’m not too concerned with that.  At this point, the transfer is over ten years old so it could just be the limitations of the technology at the time.  It also looks like this is sourced from an old release print as well so that could add to the issues.  Still, it’s entirely watchable so don’t let these issues weigh too heavily on your decision to see the film.  I would like to see a new transfer at some point though as I think it would add to my enjoyment of the film.  You get two audio options here, the original French language track (with English subtitles) and an English dubbed track.  Both sound fine with the English sounding a bit more robust I guess.  As far as extras go, you get an original theatrical trailer and a fifteen minute interview with star/director Lemoine that covers his early career as an actor in Italy and France, working with Jess Franco and his transition from acting to directing.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

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- who has written 151 posts on UnRated Film Review Magazine | Movie Reviews, Interviews.

Craig hails from 'Parts Unknown'.

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