• Devil’s Honey, The



    Devil’s Honey, The
    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: September 26th, 2017.
    Director: Lucio Fulci
    Cast: Brett Halsey, Corinne Cléry, Blanca Marsillach, Stefano Madia, Bernard Seray, Lucio Fulci, Stefano Madia
    Year: 1986
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    The Movie:

    A beautiful but spoiled young woman named Jessica (Blanca Marsillach) indulges her every whim with her beau, a professional saxophone player named Johnny (Stefano Madia). Their hyper-sexual relationship involves plenty of kinky happenings at the recording studio where he does his work and includes, in one of the film’s more memorable moments, some very inappropriate use of his instrument.

    Elsewhere, a surgeon named Dr. Wendell Simpson (Brett Halsey) is stuck in an awkward marriage to his wife Carol (Corinne Cléry) and enjoys the company of prostitutes, something that would understandably cause most anyone to reconsider their vows. When Johnny and Jessica take a motorcycle that ends with Johnny whacking his head on a rock, he winds up dying on Simpson’s operating table. Jessica blames Simpson for the loss of her beloved, who clearly had other things on his mind while tending to Johnny before he died. Shortly after this happens, Jessica decides to get revenge. She starts off by harassing him with strange phone calls but soon enough winds up kidnapping him and chaining him up at her late boyfriend's ornate coastal mansion…

    This one is pretty zany, even by Fulci’s already zany standards, but more often than not it works. Yes, it’s very clearly a product of the mid-eighties, that shows not just in the hairstyles and the fashions and the décor but also in the shooting style employed by Alejandro Ulloa. At times it looks like a music video. However, the story is pretty solid and it moves at a good pace. There’s no shortage here at all of some pretty strong bumping and grinding, some of which gets fairly kinky (that saxophone scene, again, stands out but hey, we also get a motorcycle handjob and weird naked blood rubbing), but the production has plenty of visual polish.

    More akin to the kinds of movies that Tinto Brass is known for than the horror pictures that Fulci made his name with, The Devil’s Honey is still twisted enough that it should appeal to horror fans, so long as you go into it with expectations in check. The film is at its most interesting when it makes comparisons between Jessica and Wendell. They’ve both lost the relationships that meant the most to them in this world, albeit under very different circumstances and for very different reasons. It’s here that the story fleshes out these characters nicely, making them more than just perverse playmates, giving certain segments of the film a palpable sadness that you don’t necessarily expect.

    The cast really sell this one. Brett Halsey is clearly game for anything that the script throws his way and he’s a blast to watch in his role. Stefano Madia plays perpetually horny Johnny quite well, using his kinky games with Jessica to feed his artistic needs as well as his carnal cravings. Corinne Cléry does just fine as Halsey’s wayward wife, and hey, look for a small role played by Fulci himself in a flashback scene that takes place in Venice (the rest of the movie was shot in Spain). The real star of this show, however, is Blanca Marsillach. Her ‘no holds barred’ performance is one for the books and she gives it everything she’s got. She’s sexy, she’s sinister and she’s clearly committed to the part.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Devil’s Honey debuts on Blu-ray from Severin Films in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer taken from a new scan of the original negative and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. The transfer is grainy and soft more often than not, but this seems to be the way that it was meant to look. The flashback scenes in particular had a weird, soft, dreamy look to them whereas some of the other shots do not and look quite crisp. It’s a tricky looking film. The elements used were pretty clean, however, as there isn’t much print damage aside from some specks that show up in the credits. Compression artifacts do pop up here and there but there aren’t any noise reduction or edge enhancement problems. Colors look good, skin tones appear natural looking and black levels are fine.

    LPCM 2.0 tracks are offered in English and in Italian with optional English closed captioning provided that translates the English dialogue rather than the Italian track. The Italian track sounds the better of the two mixes, it is noticeably stronger where the English dub sounds a bit flat and weak. That said, there aren’t any problems with any hiss or distortion to note.

    Severin has done an admirable job putting together a nice smattering of extra features for this release, starting with The Devil's Halsey: An Interview With Actor Brett Halsey, clocking in at seventeen minutes in length. Here the actor talks about his work with the late director as well as with some other Italian filmmakers like Mario Bava. He also covers his career in Hollywood, his later writing career, and what it was like working on The Devil’s Honey and again with Fulci on Touch Of Death. From there, dive into Wild Flower: An Interview With Actress Corinne Cléry, a twelve minute piece wherein the actress discusses her work in Italian cinema after being lured there by the man she’d eventually marry, her work as a model, her acting in The Devil’s Honey and also in The Story Of O. Producing Honey: An Interview With Producer Vincenzo Salviani gets the man in front of the camera for thirteen minutes to discuss co-writing the script, his work as a producer on the picture, the trickiness in getting an ailing Fulci to shoot an erotic thriller outside of Italy and in Spain and also working with Ruggero Deodato on a few projects. The Devil's Sax: An Interview With Composer Claudio Natili is a ten minute piece wherein Natili talks about his background as a musician, how he landed the job scoring the film and his interactions with both Fulci and Salviani while working on the film.

    From there, we move on to Stephen Thrower On The Devil's Honey, a twenty-two minute segment in which the man who wrote Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci discusses the unlikely origins of the film, how the director’s health issues played a part in all of this, how the movie compares to other later period films that Fulci directed and a fair bit more. We also learn how the film ties into The Collector, the 1965 film directed by William Wyler wherein a man kidnaps a woman (there’s a role reversal thing going on in Fulci’s picture, obviously, and it’s interesting to see him use this approach when you consider the charges of misogyny that many have levelled against him for his other pictures). Up next, Fulci's Honey: An Audio Essay by Troy Howarth, who wrote Splintered Visions - Lucio Fulci And His Films. In this seventeen minute piece Howarth talks about the erotic element of this and other Fulci pictures and how this one differs from some of the ‘sexier’ material we’d seen from him before. He also discusses some interviews that the late director gave in which he talks about the film and how he felt about it.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc is an alternate opening from the original US home video release that uses the Dangerous Obsession alternate title, a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. Severin has also provided some genuinely cool reversible cover sleeve art for this release.

    The Final Word:

    The Devil’s Honey is a pretty bonkers erotic thriller, one that you won’t soon forget thanks to some pretty daring performances and a few really memorably quirky set pieces. Severin has done a nice job bringing this one to Blu-ray, completely uncut and loaded with extras.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!







































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