Night of the Devils / La notte dei diavoli (1972)

4.0 out of 5

Giorgio Ferroni’s extremely dark and atmospheric adaptation of Tolstoy’s Wurdalak story, whilst not as elegantly adapted as Bava’s, is more chilling and bloody as a result. Although slow paced at times, this only serves to benefit the movie with character development and strong performances, anchored by a fantastic Gianni Garko, crucial to providing the superb end pay-off.

There’s some nice makeup FX work courtesy of Carlo Rambaldi, who’s pasty grey vampires are turned into grotesque melting faced piles of goo when destroyed, with Giorgio Gaslini’s classy, yet unsettling, score underpinning the horror and lurid eroticism when called upon.

Comparisons will no doubt be made to Bava’s Black Sabbath version, but Ferroni pushes the material further in it's contemporary setting, eschewing Gothic tropes for a harsher more unsettling tone that the material deserves.

A fantastic film from beginning to end which deserves to be seen by more people.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics