Sunday, November 9, 2008


An adventure-horror hybrid from 1973, Amando de Ossorio's NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS boils down to a jungle-bound version of his famous BLIND DEAD series, replacing the monk-robed Knights Templar with bikini-clad panther women. It's an intriguing idea, though the execution leaves a little to be desired.

An African expedition studying the disappearance of local elephants (headed by Eurofave Jack Taylor) discovers a voodoo cult that raises zombies and has a habit of turning white ladies into the aforementioned panther women (not sure how chopping off their heads causes the transformation--and although they're ostensibly shape-shifters, they tend to appear mostly in fur bikinis, not that I'm complaining). Did I mention the panther women were also vampires? And that they never bite anyone on the neck, but like to stab and drown people?

Okay, so logic never was de Ossorio's strong suit, but when it comes to lurid thrills he usually delivers (as he does in the film's prologue, a racially insensitive bit in which the dark-skinned tribe ravages and sacrifices a Caucasian woman). There's some goofy violence to be found, not to mention a plethora of bare female flesh, but SORCERERS never really hits its mark, as though de Ossorio was uncomfortable with the material.

The director employs the same slow pace that he used in the BLIND DEAD films, though without the Gothic trappings and eerie chanting soundtrack the tempo feels dull instead of atmospheric. De Ossorio also uses the slow-motion techniques for the predatory panther women that he worked to great effect with the Templars, but whereas the latter benefited from that trick, it just looks silly in SORCERERS (looking at times like a bad BAYWATCH parody). Even the rising of the dead--always a highlight in the BLIND DEAD series--looks cheap and cobbled together, without the accoutrements that made the earlier sequences so effective.

And without that same element of fun and ambience, NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS fails to justify its existence, especially when the threadbare plot has so little going for it. Fans of Eurotrash will undoubtedly enjoy it--and make no mistake, it's not a total waste--but if you could never get into TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD or GHOST GALLEON, you are not going to like this.

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