Newest Reviews
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Imperial Swordsman
Alien Parasite
Up to His Ears
1 chance sur 2
Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo
Yin Yang Master, The
Hail, Mafia!
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
  Candle for the Devil, A Vengeance Of The Sanctimonious
Year: 1973
Director: Eugenio Martin
Stars: Judy Geeson, Aurora Bautista, Esperanza Roy, Victor Alcázar, Lone Fleming, Blanca Estrada, Charley Pineiro, Loreta Tovar, Montserrat Julió, Fernando Villena, Fernando Hilbeck
Genre: Horror, TrashBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: In this small town in Spain, there live two sisters who run an inn which nowadays sees a number of tourists stay there, including at the moment a young English woman. But these incomers are becoming disruptive to the sisters’ conservative ways, and the older one, Marta (Aurora Bautista) especially bears a grudge against them for what she regards as loose morals. Therefore when the sisters are in the kitchen cleaning up and hear a commotion on the roof, they rush up the stairs to discover a group of young men whooping and catcalling the woman as she sunbathes topless. Marta is horrified and insists she leaves immediately, there is a scuffle and the holidaymaker falls down the stairs and into a window, cutting her throat…

Well, nobody deserves that no matter what they were or were not wearing, but not according to Marta who surveys the scene and proclaims to her sibling Veronica (Esperanza Roy) that this more or less served the girl right, and they set about cleaning up the place and disposing of the body. This was an example of the evil older woman subgenre of horror movies which were kicked off by Robert Aldrich’s Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? but by this point had become ever more lurid until you had this Spanish variation as offered up by director Eugenio Martin, probably best known for Horror Express which he made around the same time. Adding to the plot’s relevancy, Spain was coming to the end of its fascist regime.

So you could view the sisters as indicative of the soon to be pushed aside old guard as General Franco was on the way out – but not yet. It was also possible to regard this as a deliberate insult to the religious authorities in Spain which as far as this came across Martin was of the opinion that they were a bunch of hypocrites, setting themselves up as moral guardians when they were in the service of the oppressive rulers of the nation. And further than that, this was another instance of European cinema of the nineteen-seventies taking the censorship bull by the horns and presenting as extreme material as they could get away with, sating the public’s desire for sensationalised entertainment, not that you would find this effort knocking your socks off particularly.

What it did have, as it took the moral high ground, was a sleazy atmosphere apparently at odds with the anti-hypocrisy message since we were invited to indulge ourselves in the sex and violence as a visual distraction, all the while nodding and tut-tutting about how the sisters’ actions were pretty reprehensible (alternatively, if you thought their reactionary mindset was fair enough, this may not be the right film for you). Although many of these horrors would invite the audience to feast their eyes on young female flesh, that was not necessarily the case here as it was the distinctly middle-aged actresses served up as something desirable, only in a curious fashion that had you being dared to find them attractive when you sense you shouldn’t, as much because of their age as because of the murders they conducted in their hotel.

Under the thumb Veronica has a toy boy handyman who she keeps around to pleasure her, so perhaps we’re intended to perceive some good in her, since Marta is a monster and there’s no doubt about it. Martin presents a very odd scene where the older sister spies on a group of boys bathing in a lake, then filled with sexual desire she channels that into a sort of self-flagellation as she walks deliberately through some bushes and trees which lightly tear at her skin – so we can add sexual deviancy to the murders as a charge against her. But don’t go thinking these two are getting away scot free, as there was one character who led an investigation against them in a town where there are no police, only the mayor, and she was the sister of the first victim, Laura Barkley (British import Judy Geeson). She wastes no time in turning Nancy Drew, but not before the villainesses are bumping of someone else, a scantily-clad tourist who tries to rip off the clothes of one of them before meeting a sticky end. It was that sort of film, with a valid point against repression but eliciting a response that possibly went too far the other way. Music by Antonio Pérez Olea.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 3180 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
  Sheila Reeves
Paul Smith


Last Updated: