The Devil's Nightmare (1971)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Haunted House Film, Sex Horror  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Belgium, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - R
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This European combination of the demonic possession and haunted house genres is steeped in spooky atmosphere. Sadly, Au Service du Diable has little else to offer. Despite some intriguing ideas (like the castle's guests being used to represent the seven deadly sins), the script lumbers from setpiece to setpiece in a laborious, uninspired fashion that robs these moments of any shock effect. The proceedings aren't helped by Jean Brismee's slack direction, which allows the film to drag along at a snail's pace and delivers the film's potential highlights in a perfunctory, visually flat manner. The only truly memorable element of the film from a stylistic standpoint is the moody score by frequent Ennio Morricone collaborator Allesandro Allesandroni, which makes effective use of Morricone-esque fuzz guitar and wordless female singing. The actors have little to work with in terms of characterizationss and the acting suffers as a result: only Erica Blanc's alluring turn as a succubus and Daniel Emilfork's creepy work as a mysterious villager rise above the overall mediocre level of performances here. As a result, Au Service du Diable fails to live up to its grandiose title and can only be recommended to hardcore Eurotrash enthusiasts.