Color, 1976, 95 mins. 8 secs. / 93 mins. 1 sec.
Directed by Georges Gigo (Jordi Gigó)
Starring Silvia Solar, Olivier Mathot, José Nieto. Evelyne Scott, Daniel Martin, Maria Silva
Kino Lorber (Blu-ray & DVD) (US RA/R1 HD/NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9), Image Entertainment (DVD) (US R1 NTSC), Arrow Video (DVD) (UK R0 PAL) / WS (1.66:1) (16:9)

The Devil's Kissdark hallways of multinational European Devil's Kisshorror films are filled with baffling oddities lurking in the corners, and one of the more memorable ones that slipped under the radar for decades has to be Devil’s Kiss, a.k.a. The Wicked Caresses of Satan. A Spanish-French co-production, it was barely shown in Spain and was relegated to below the line programming in a handful of French theaters courtesy of the venerable bargain basement shock maestros at Eurociné. Devil’s Kiss went completely unseen in the U.S. in any legitimate fashion until 2003 when Redemption Films licensed it to Image Entertainment for a DVD edition, with adventurous Euro-horror enthusiasts scratching their heads at its crazed mixture of gothic atmosphere, reanimated corpses, fake mediums, and erotic pandemonium. In short, it’s really something else.

At the remote and very decadent castle, something strange is afoot when the current owner, the Duke de Haussemont (Nieto), agrees to host a séance run by the psychic Claire Grandier (Cannibal Terror’s Solar) and her cohort, unorthodox scientist and fellow telepath Professor Gruber (Jess Franco regular and French smut staple Mathot). As the Duke already Devil's Kissknows, Claire is really the cover identity for a countess who actually believes the Haussemont family is at fault for her husband’s suicide and the theft of his property. Devil's KissOffered the use of the castle basement on the flimsiest of pretenses, she hatches a scheme to reanimate the dead and embark on a quest for revenge that can only end in screaming for everyone involved.

Like most Eurociné productions (think Zombie Lake or Exorcism), this is a largely arbitrary and baffling film that throws a number of curve balls at the viewer, with the greatest being the wackiest fashion show this side of The Adventurers. You also get a a heroic young Haussemont heir played by Demon Witch Child’s Daniel Martin, a bald zombie running around killing people, random sex scenes with the hired help, and the usual gothic accouterments like spooky crypts and subterranean laboratories. It also has a ratty veneer that can be an acquired taste for many (especially since director "Georges Gigo," a.k.a. Jordi Gigó, one of the screenwriters of Paul Naschy's Exorcism) can never quite seem to figure out where to put the camera.

At least among English-speaking viewers, this film was a very obscure footnote until its release on DVD in 2003 from Image Entertainment under the Redemption Films imprint. That release was Devil's Kissframed at 1.66:1 and looked watchable but underwhelming at the time with soft detail and a blow-out, yellow-leaning look. That same edition Devil's Kisswas carried over for a U.K. DVD release from Arrow as well. In 2019, Kino Lorber debuted the film on Blu-ray (with a DVD reissue as well), again via Redemption; this time it runs two minutes longer (with more salacious sex, thankfully) and is framed at 1.78:1, adding info to the left side while losing a sliver at the top and bottom (and looking slightly more horizontally squeezed by comparison). Colors are significantly better with a cooler, more natural look with the whites in particular now under control. As with the earlier Image disc, this edition is bare bones and contains both the French-language version with English subtitles (Dolby Digital) and the amusing English track (DTS-HD MA mono); in this case the English track is actually preferable as the French one is wildly mismatched to the film and sounds very canned.

Kino Lorber (Blu-ray)

Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss

Image Entertainment (DVD)

Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss Devil's Kiss

Reviewed on June 15, 2019.