A Candle For The Devil (Una Vela para del Diablo / Nightmare Hotel/ It Happened at Nightmare Inn, 1973)

UK OEG Classic Movies 2015 bluray edition



Text below written 2020-12-15


This film, i think are Eugenio Martin's Masterpiece and not his more famous Horror Express (Pánico en el Transiberio) even if that
film is very good too. With atmospherical cinematography by José F. Aguayo from a sleepy Spanish mountain village, Eugenio
Martin gives us an unforgettable crime thriller and horror with outstanding performances from Spanish actresses Aurora Batista
and Esperanza Roy. He also gives us a blistering attack on a society (Generalissimo Franco's Spain) drenched with religious bigotry
and repressed sexuality. This is one of the Best Spanish genre films ever from the Golden Spanish Era of the late 1960's and 1970's.
Batista and Roy are just fantastic and .... Aurora Batista is Monstruos and Glorious at the same time.

Yes, Una vela para el Diablo is so good it's even on my Spanish Top Ten Gialli and Horror List along with films as
"La Campana del infierno (A Bell from Hell)", "The Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (Los Ojos azules de la muñeca rota)",
"The Loreley's Grasp (Las Garras de Lorelei)", "La Residencia (The House that screamed)" and "The Corruption of
Chris Miller" and here it is in a bluray release to enjoy.
US Scorpion Releasing, one of the great US distributors of strange and esoteric grindhouse movies, others are
companies like Code Red and Vinegar Syndrome, released this Spanish classic in a fine DVD release too.

The film takes place in a beautiful spanish village in the countryside and seemingly very popular among the foreign
tourists as buses full of them keep coming in. Two middle-age sisters Martha (Aurora Batista) and Veronica (Esperanza
Roy) run a Tavern - " Las Dos Hermanas" (The Two Sisters) where they serve food to the locals and also provides a
couple of rooms for staying guests, tourists.
In the intro of the film we are shown how one of the guests, british tourist May (Loreta Tovar) is sunbathing in the
nude upon the roof of the Tavern. The local boys have noticed her and shouts obscenities at her, which makes the
elder of the sisters, Marta, to have a rage attack and shove poor May down the stairs, and killing her.
The evil harpye calls the girl a "whore" and justify her deed with being "divine punishment". The sisters then drags
the body into their kitchen where they dispose of it (chopping it up and burning it).

The next day more tourists arrive and one of them is Laura Barkley (Judy Geeson) and she's looking for her sister
May as they were supposed to meet at "Las dos Hermanas". She's told by the sisters that May have left early in
the morning, and a confused Laura takes a room and decides to wait for her to turn up, good luck with that..

The US Scorpion Releasing DVD

Middle-age Marta (Aurora Batista 1925-2012, was almost 50 years old when filming Una vela para el Diablo) is almost
exploding from repressed sexual cravings and she's peeping on nude boys bathing, whereafter she punishes herself
by running through a field of thorny bushes making her bleed, and at home she caresses herself in front of her mirror.
Marta is a religious nutcase, she's evil, scary and a disgusting bigot, and .... she's still a sexually attractive woman.
Once she was abandoned by her groom at the day of her wedding, he took off with some floozy, something which
fucked up her mind.

Veronica, the 10 year younger sister (Esperanza Roy, born 1935) is afraid of her dominant sister and reluctantly helps
Marta with the disposal of the bodies. Veronica has a sexual relation with the young handyman Louis (Charley Pineiro)
and she's deadly afraid of her harsh sister getting to know about it.
Esperanza Roy has a Killer Body and is seen gloriously nude, and Batista can be seen half topless. Both of them two
MILF espanolas but also two crazed killers.
Then another free-spirited half-nude girl tourist turns up, she's the Dutch tourist Helen (Lone Fleming, danish actress)
and to Marta's annoyance she's obnoxious and self-confident, so another body is soon on it's way into the kitchen.

Meanwhile Laura has been searching for her little sister in the village and has met a man who knew her (Vic Winner,
AKA Viktor Alcazar) and he has heard of the sunbathing on the roof. When also the Dutch tourist disappears from
the Tavern Laurs starts suspecting the worst and decides to sleuth around in the sisters house.
A young woman, Norma (Blanca Estrada) with a baby child has moved in there and as Marta suspects that she's may
be unmarried, something that enrages also the other harpye religious nutty women of the village, she has to go too.
Now it's starting to get really Nasty and you genuinely hope for Laura to succeed in stopping The Sisters from Hell.

This Bluray presents the film in widescreen 1.85:1, with an english audio LPCM mono (it was probably shot mostly in
english and it sounds as Batista and Roy speak themselves with heavy accents), region ALL and only a trailer as extra

Final words: A Minor Horror Masterpiece due to amazing atmosphere of the village (presumably shot in beautiful
Sierra de Grazalema in Andalucia) and due to the Glorious performances from Aurora Batista and Esperanza Roy and
Judy Geeson was good too, and to the portrait of the sexually repressed by religion villagers

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The Scorpion Releasing DVD presented the film in a ratio of 1.78:1 with an english mono audio, and as extras:

An interview with actress Judy Geeson (19 minutes) where she speaks about this film and her other british films
a trailer .... False virtue leads to crime, and an introduction to the film by Catherine's Nightmare Theatre

 

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