Thursday, July 19, 2007
Movie Review: DEVIL'S HONEY
aka IL MIELE DEL DIAVOLO
aka DANGEROUS OBSESSION
Directed by Lucio Fulci
DEVIL'S HONEY is a fevered and wet erotic thriller that may just be Director Lucio Fulci's last true masterpiece. I can't think of any films made after this that add up to much at all. After this Fulci's health and budgets dwindled slowly till both were gone by the early 1990s. But this hot and foul number represents his last profound and provocative eyegouging cinematic experience and it is highly recommended to all.
An awful light-jazz sax-superstar has a dysfunctional sadomasochist relationship with his fantastically attractive girl-toy. While disgusted by his antics the girl is nonetheless totally obsessed with this literal windbag. There's a great heft of disturbing sex scenes, as well as disturbing sax scenes. And a disturbing mix of the two. Unfortunately (or actually for the girl, fortunately) the wild young man meets with a silly motorcycle accident and finds his fate in emergency surgery. Unluckily for him the Surgeon's wife has just left him due to his prostitute proclivities. He spaces, loses his Surgeon's Will and effectively kills his soft-jazz/perv patient. Girlfriend crumbles in depressive oblivion and begins a harassment campaign against the sad-sack surgeon, whom she blames (fairly rightly) for her beau's passing to the next world. Meanwhile the surgeon's own mind is splintering as his attempts to reconcile with his ex are thwarted by his impotence and inability to satisfy her lust-starvation. One evening the girlfriend goes for a walk in the surgeon's neighborhood with a gun, and the movie's most fetid psychosexual games begin in earnest...
This is as nihilistic and existential a gaze into the abyss as Fulci ever committed to celluloid. From MASSACRE TIME to NEW YORK RIPPER Fulci was Italian Pop Cinema's premier Dark Star, with his major obsession being death and death's meaning in life. DEVIL'S HONEY is certainly no exception. While some of the Maestro's well-meaning fans my balk at this film's lack of overt horror or supernatural terror, the patient and aware will be blessed with a bleak and menacing soft-core tour-de-force. As the girlfriend holds the guilt-stricken surgeon hostage a bizarre and brutal dynamic begins to take shape. Each finds the reversal of the sadomasochistic relationship to be a revelation, with the girl freed from an unwilling masochist position to take a dominating stature and the surgeon's passive, impotent nature is unburdened by his lack of control. He couldn't please his wife, who yearned to be ravished and ravaged, but he finds ultimate pleasure in being at the mercy of this unhinged but incredibly cute kidnapper. Through the violence and humiliation a connection is made, perverse and unhealthy as it may be. The hovering specter of death unleashes honest emotions and attractions in both captor and captive, shaping that cold dynamic into as close to human warmth and understanding as either have ever experienced. Not bad for a slick and seemingly frothy 80s "erotic thriller".
Not sure if my copy (a VHS under the DANGEROUS OBSESSION re-titling) was uncut but it certainly seemed as though it was with scenes depicting anal sex, homosexuality and hooker humiliation. In any manner, it more than deserves a new DVD upgrade. Sleazy as it is dark, this movie may actually not be the right ticket for all cult film fans, but students of astute and well made Eurotrash will delight in this bleak and existential soft shocker.