• Byleth - The Demon Of Incest (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: November 5th, 2019.
    Director: Leopoldo Savona
    Cast: Mark Damon, Claudia Gravy, Aldo Bufi Landi, Silvana Pompili, Marzia Damon, Fernando Cerulli
    Year: 1972
    Purchase From Severin Films

    Byleth - The Demon Of Incest – Movie Review:

    Lionello, the Duke of Shadwell (Mark Damon), has always seemed a little bit off, ever since he was a kid. His mental state, when the film begins, is less than sturdy and he suffers a nervous breakdown around the same time that a prostitute named Delores (an uncredited Karin Lorson of Joe Sarno’s Bibi) is found murdered in close proximity to his abode. The Duke’s also got strange views on sex, this much is made clear quite early in the film.

    His outlook changes completely when he learns that his admittedly beautiful sister, Barbara (Claudia Gravy) is to return home to The Duke’s massive – and very empty – home. Her new husband, Giordano (Aldo Bufi Landi), is in tow and it doesn’t take long before Giordano ascertains the obvious: The Duke is not a fan. Unsure why his new brother-in-law is so standoffish and cold to him, Giordano does what he can to fix the situation, but Barbara is well-aware of the real reason her brother has such strong disdain for her husband.

    When The Duke sees his sister making love to her husband one night, he decides that he’s had enough. He knows that his father, he left the country to avoid being persecuted as a warlock, has left some of his old stuff lying around. Soon enough, The Duke finds an occult book – this won’t end well. At the same time, Gisella (Caterina Chiani), who is employed as Barbara’s maid, tries to get sweet with The Duke after he busts her fooling around with a man in the stable. Soon enough, she’s been murdered in a way that is uncannily similar to the murder of the prostitute. Barbara presumes her brother’s innocence but it isn’t enough to stop the local magistrate (Alessandro Perrella) from snooping around. A doctor (Fernando Cerulli) examines both bodies and pronounces that the wounds resemble those inflicted by a demon named Byleth! Shortly after, Giordano’s sister Floriana (Silvana Pompili) arrives, and things get even more complicated for all involved.

    Sleazier than it is scary, Byleth - The Demon Of Incest does manage to conjure up some decent gothic atmosphere here and there. It isn’t on the level of the best horror gothic horror pictures to come out of Italy but it’s a mildly entertaining picture and an interesting, if frequently silly, diversion. The cinematography from Giovanni Crisci, is often times soft looking but it is quite stylish and nicely put together. The score from Vasili Kojucharov, who seems to have specialized in spaghetti westerns and Nazisploitation pictures, is also pretty decent. Leopoldo Savona paces the film fairly well, things move at a good pace – when we aren’t focusing on the murder or the demonology aspect, we get frequent nudity with attractive women. Speaking of this, there are some pretty obvious inserts slipped into the picture, presumably in an effort to spice things up a bit more. They do tend to stand out more than you might want them to, but hey, props to Severin for giving us the full-strength version of the movie.

    The story is all over the place, but Mark Damon doesn’t do a bad job at all as the lead. His Duke Lionello is clearly a very troubled man and that comes through in his performance. Aldo Bufi Landi is fine, if pretty disposable, as his foil while Claudia Gravy, Karin Lorson, Caterina Chiani and Silvana Pompili all provide some welcome eye candy.

    Byleth - The Demon Of Incest – Blu-ray Review:

    Byleth - The Demon Of Incest arrives on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 taken from a 2k “from negative elements recently discovered in a Madrid lab vault.” The transfer on this disc uses a German title card reading ‘Trio der Lust’ and it looks pretty solid. Despite a disclaimer at the beginning noting print damage, which is visible in the first 15-20 minutes of the movie, once you get past that part the picture is pretty clean. Detail is solid, but compression is less than ideal as there are some noticeable artifacts in the darker scenes. Colors look pretty good, black levels are fine and skin tones, of which there are plenty on display, appear nice and natural. The image is free of noticeable noise reduction or edge enhancement, the transfer is quite film-like.

    There are German and Italian language DTS-HD 2.0 Mono tracks provided here, with subtitles available in English only, translating each track separately which is a nice touch. There are spots where the Italian track kicks out and switches over to German, so you’re probably just better of going with the German track to start with as it looks like everyone was dubbed here anyway. Sounds quality on the German track is fine. It’s a little flat but the dialogue is up front in the mix where it should be and the score sounds good, no real issues with any hiss or distortion here to note.

    Outside of a menu and chapter selection options there are no extra features on the disc.

    Byleth - The Demon Of Incest – The Final Word:

    Byleth - The Demon Of Incest is far from the best of the Italian gothics but it offers up some decent murder set pieces and some genuinely impressive atmosphere to complement a fun performance from Damon and a bevy of beautiful Euro-babes. Severin’s disc is devoid of any extras but the presentation is pretty good. Fans of Italian sleaze from the seventies should definitely appreciate this one.

    Click on the images below for full sized Byleth - The Demon Of Incest Blu-ray screen caps!