Black Candles (aka Los Ritos Sexuales Del Diablo) (José Ramón Larraz, 1982)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
A woman takes her boyfriend to the estate of her deceased brother who she soon finds was dabbling in the occult. Will she be able to escape before the cult has their way with them?
COSDS-Black-Candles00050It’s no secret I’m a sucker for films about devil cults. Black Candles from José Ramón Larraz’ (Edge of the Axe, Vampyres) proves to be more of a sleaze-fest than a straight up horror film, but he throws in enough awesome elements to keep it interesting, and the sex scenes manage to be stimulating rather than dull filler. Featuring Church favorite Helga Liné (Las Garras de Lorelei, My Dear Killer) as Fiona, the salacious sister-in-law and matriarch of the estate and Vanessa Hidalgo in her final screen role as Carol (frigid sister extraordinaire) and a handful of other naked sluts, there’s certainly plenty of cheesecake to gawk at. And that’s fortunate considering the film is almost 90% smut.
COSDS-Black-Candles00001That’s not to say it’s a bad thing; I think the reason the sex scenes work so well is that it all ties into the devil cult and their sexual rituals and the actors all appear to really be into it rather than just going through the motions. As I already mentioned, the women for the most part are very easy on the eyes and the fact that they aren’t shy about showing all their lady bits in reasonably graphic detail certainly doesn’t hurt in the least. Basically we have this coven of devil worshipers operating out of the estate mansion, where they are trying to convert this new couple or be rid of them permanently. Carol’s boyfriend Paul is no problem, as he’s banging Fiona pretty much as soon as she looks at him seductively. Carol on the other hand proves to be much more difficult as Fiona begins to feed her this weird tea to “make her feel better” on a daily basis which really fucks up her shit. That of course doesn’t stop her from getting plowed constantly by Paul (often while Fiona masturbates in the other room while watching through a peephole a la Psycho), including a pretty outstanding scene where he sodomizes her against her will. In addition to the aforementioned debauchery, Carol also starts to have dreams where she’s tooling about in lingerie and fucking her brother, sometimes with Fiona joining in.
COSDS-Black-Candles00002Even the horror elements in the film are of a sexual nature; including a brilliant scene where one of the girls in the coven fucks a goat, and several scenes in the ritual chamber which involves everyone fucking while the leader of the group blasts the seed of Satan deep inside a couple of the ladies (a nice gig if you can get it).  Also of note is a segment where the coven dispatches a traitor in their midst by fucking him in the ass with a nasty-looking sword. Larraz certainly manages to keep things interesting despite the paper-thin plot.
The production itself is competent, the settings lavish and suitably creepy, and the performances by everyone involved are well executed (even when they aren’t fucking each other’s brains out). There isn’t a whole lot of focus on the devil worship aspect of the story, but Larraz still manages to impart a sense of foreboding into every scene. In a lot of ways the rampant debauchery itself becomes the main element of horror in the film and proves to be an effective approach; as erotically charged as Black Candles is there always remains that feeling that something is not quite right, a theme that has been attempted in many films but is so seldom achieved with any modicum of success.
If you like your horror with an inordinate amount of sleaze (and who doesn’t?) then you can’t really go wrong with this one. Just don’t expect a big elaborate plot filled with gothic melodrama – there was no room for that because of all the naked sluts.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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