Schlocktoberfest 666 – Day 19: Mark of the Devil

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Mark of the Devil (1970)

Trailer:

*Spoilers Throughout*

mark-of-the-devil-posterWhat’s It About: The trials and tribulations of witch hunters in 18th century Austria. If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Actually according to the poster it’s “Positively the most horrifying film ever made!” So it’s got that going for it. Which is nice.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • What is this music? Sounds way too much like Sound of Music for a movie called Mark of the Devil.
  • There’s a actor named Herbert Fux. And Gaby Fuchs. That’s one too many fuxing (and fuching) actors.
  • You can definitely tell that this is a German movie because the credit’s font is Black Letter.
  • “Reggie Nalder as Albino” It was the role Reggie was born to play!
  • Why is the credit sequence have a weird fish-eye lens effect to it?
  • And stop freeze-framing every 3 seconds when the credit titles appear. So annoying!
  • That doesn’t look like tar. It looks like butterscotch that they are tarring that witch with.
  • Someone mentioned “shampoo.” Did they have shampoo 200 years ago?
  • I don’t think I’ve heard the word “fornicated” so much in my life.
  • There’s two genuine typos in the written subtitles. “Funeral pile” and ”agenizing.” The voice over is also very out of place. Imagine if Vince Scully was talking about witch-hunting.
  • Every voice in this film is overdubbed and its fucking awful. This film is set in the 18th century and there’s no attempt to make the voices sound authentic. They all sound ‘Murican.
  • Oh good Udo Kier. He’ll add quality to this picture. It’s not a true Schlocktoberfest unless I review multiple Udo Kier flicks.
  • Is this fella’s name Albino?
  • Albino? More like pruneface.

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  • To prove that the innkeeper/innkeeper/wench is a witch (because she defended herself from Ablino’s rape attempt) he pokes the mole on her face with a small dagger and she doesn’t show pain. That’s enough to prove she’s a witch to him. Then he turns her around, opens her blouse and pokes her a few more times and now she’s screaming in pain. No one in the inn even reacts to all this.
  • “She’s a witch…she’s mixed frogs and toads with her own blood.” What does that even mean?
  • Udo Kier said to give Albino ten lashes but did he mean like right now in the crowded tavern? Couldn’t he wait to take him outside first? People are trying to eat here dude.
  • Speaking of eating, now we’re treated to a lengthy awkward dinner scene with the wench and Udo Kier.
  • Albino reminds me of a very old and withered Scott Glenn.
  • This movie really has too much “happy” & “frolicey” music. Sounds like a Disney movie.
  • “Sometimes I wish I could bewitch you.” What a terrible choice of words to say to a witch-hunter.
  • Herbert Lom is going full Orson Welles mode in this. Maybe he’ll find some frozen peas in his beard.
  • So now we meet a Baron that they accuse of being possessed by a devil. Basically they want him to renounce his wealth and forfeit his estate to the church. Pretty standard stuff for the 21st 18th century.
  • They are accusing this one witch of causing all the men in town to become impotent. Maybe they shouldn’t cook with so much saltpeter.
  • Random love-making scene with two characters we’ve never seen before. Okie Dokie.
  • Albino interrupts the couple for no reason whatsoever and plans to rape the lady. And his thugs kill the fellow. Absurd!
  • To torture the Baron, they make him sit butt naked on a chair on nails with his feet in stocks and then they whip his bare feet. Typical evening at Tom Selleck’s sex dungeon. (allegedly)
  • They can’t get a confession from the one lady accused of witchcraft so now they are ripping out her tongue. Gruesome scene sure but I wouldn’t expect much results from this method.
  • It’s very hard to see Herbert Lom as the villain when he’s actually kind, patient and fires Albino as a witch-hunter because of the rape and murder incident.
  • Albino spouts out in anger all these threats to tell people to incriminate Herbert Lom’s character, like that he rapes women, kills for money and that he burns innocent people and Herbert Lom doesn’t even flinch but the moment Albino says he’ll say that Lom’s impotent, Lom flies in a blind rage and chokes Albino to death!

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  • Nicely done death scene actually because as Albino is being chocked a metal plate slowly spins on the ground making a very unnerving rattle-like sound.
  • Lom didn’t realize that he killed Albino? He was aggressively chocking him. I’m sure Albino went limp when he died. How did Lom not know?
  • So now what is this movie going to do? The worse character is gone. Sure the whole witch-hunting is evil but Lom was previously portrayed as a somewhat just man—he wasn’t an outright monster. It would be very odd if he suddenly became worse just because he killed someone.
  • I can somewhat understand a crowds’ interest in seeing someone get killed in public, since there isn’t much else to do in the 1700s but to watch someone be burned? That takes a lot to stomach. Maybe the smell is appealing? Like a BBQ.
  • Surprised the advocate who works for Lom, didn’t accuse the kids of witchcraft since the kid said his toy can do magic.
  • Oh shit, he is! That’s some fucked up devotion to ones’ job. 
  • And when he sees a puppet show, he is bewildered how the puppets can move and speak! He’s never seen a puppet show? Wasn’t that the number 1 form of entertainment in the middle ages? He then accuses the adults acting out the puppets as witches! This is absurd!
  • HA! The wife puppeteer stabs the advocate in the eye with his witch-finding dagger.
  • Chinese Water Torture? Was that a thing in 18th century Europe? Seems unlikely. And if so, was it always called Chinese Water Torture?
  • The husband being tortured with the Chinese water torture is already in a comatose state. I think he’s been tortured since this afternoon. There’s no way Chinese water torture would drive a man insane that quickly.
  • This movie is basically just torture porn as every other scene is showing some sadistic form of suffering.
  • Lom tells the wife that he will set her and her husband free but moments later he tries to rape her. This is fucking stupid. And makes very little sense to his character.
  • Udo Kier frees the Baron and then scolds the guards with: “Don’t you have any more work to do?” Weird expression to command to people whose job it is to torture people. 
  • Now the innkeeper lady, Vanessa, is spurring on a mob to kill Herbert Lom and the other witch-hunters. This is ironically the most witch-like and evil thing anyone has ever displayed in this movie. BURN THEM!!
  • Why do mobs always scream and holler as they charge and siege a castle or house or whatever they plan on attacking? Seems odd right? I personally have never been in a mob but I can’t imagine screaming nonsensically as I did it.

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  • The mob was too late to save the Baron. They arrived seconds after his body went limp after his head was severed. Just the puppeteer’s wife and Udo Kier were saved.
  • In a last ditch effort, Lom throws his witch-hunting staff down below and kills a mob member. Doesn’t make much sense since that mob member was a story below him and posed no immediate threat to Lom. Especially when there’s other people running towards him.
  • In an unexpected twist, the mob goes against Udo Kier, which makes some sense since they had no idea he was rebelling against Lom. Let’s see if Vanessa comes to his rescue.
  • Since she’s running in the woods alone, it looks very unlikely.
  • The crowd looks disappointed that Udo Kier died so quickly. It was a pretty dull death if you ask me.
  • Shucks. No comeuppance for the escaped Herbert Lom. Oh well. Can’t win them all I suppose.

Scare Level: The poster lied. It was not “Positively the most horrifying film ever made!” The poster also states that no one will be able to see the movie without a barf bag. Great gimmick but totally overblown.

Gore Level: Well here is where the movie succeeded as it did a decent job showing the ‘ol blood and guts. Frankly, it wasn’t up to the more modern horror movie gore sensibilities but for 1970 this must’ve been the Hostel of its time.

Nudity Level: A few bewbs here and there if memory serves. 

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Best Line: “She’s a witch…she’s mixed frogs and toads with her own blood.” I’m still not sure what sense this makes but it’s clever enough.

Best Scene: You would think a movie that featured heavy use of torturing that I would pick a torture scene. Nope. It was Albino’s death scene because they cleverly used the rollicking spinning plate to make it creepier. The torture scenes weren’t that impressive or gross enough for me. What?

Worst Scene: The movie’s really rather dull despite its serious and somewhat historical atrocities. The music and the overdubbing alone ruined most of the tone. But if I had to pick a scene it would have to be the death of Udo Kier since it was so lackluster to me. They tried to enhance his demise with tension, with the will-he-or-won’t-he be saved trope but it really didn’t work.

Level of Hell: If anyone used those barf bags while watching this film I’d be plum surprised.

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Overall: Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from this movie. Any boast of “positively the most horrifying film ever made” is bound to be hyperbole especially since this movie is rarely mentioned in any horror movie discussion. Still it wasn’t a terrible movie I suppose but I’m sure I’ll quickly forget about it. I really wish they had better sound design and musical score. Seriously, you shouldn’t have any lush and happy orchestration when the central theme of your movie is torture and witch-hunting. Having a more foreboding or creepy score certainly would’ve enhanced this dull picture. They were going for a more historical, Hammer films-type of feel to the movie which is OK but they could’ve done a whole lot better with it.

Score: 5 Unused Vomit Bags (out of 10)

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5 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest 666 – Day 19: Mark of the Devil

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest 666: Recap of the Beast! | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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