Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Devlin's Domain - The Devil's Honey

When people think about Lucio Fulci they usually think about atmospheric horror, zombies, twisted gialli, maggots, eyeball mutilation, and naked women. He's earned his spot as the Italian king of gore with his quality contributions to cinema. One type of film that doesn't come to my mind when I think of Fulci, however, is the erotic thriller. He's made everything from comedies to westerns, but for some reason only his horror films have gained notoriety. Thanks to a recent restoration and release from Severin Films, one of his more obscure films has come to light. It is, of course, an erotic thriller from 1986. Proceed further to discover one of the strangest tales of Stockholm Syndrome and how to properly use a saxophone.

Most of us that have been alive long enough have experienced a relationship in which we were ignorant to how awful it was. It's sometimes a case where we're so obsessed with the pros of the other person that we refuse to acknowledge the cons. Maybe the sex is good, but they're a complete asshole. Maybe they have a great personality, but they're irresponsible. Maybe they've got a ton of money, but they also have genital warts. I could go on, but you get the point. Nobody is perfect, but in the quest for finding a match we sometimes put up with some shit and sometimes we are the shit.

Today's film documents such a scenario. A torrid love affair's intensity escalates to the point of lunacy. Although the actions of one manipulates and exploits the other, we must not discount the mental state of the person willing to accept that humiliation. It gets even more complicated when this willing victim, through tempestuous circumstances, eventually becomes the tormentor. This is not a normal story about normal people. This is a 35mm tapestry of sexual manipulation and multiple orgasms soaked in sweaty, maddening, desire. Your seats will get wet and your windows will fog when you taste...

The Devil's Honey

The film begins at a recording studio where Johnny, a musician, is preparing to record some saxophone tracks. His girlfriend, Jessica, listens on and starts getting turned on by the sensual sounds of the sax. Fulci wastes no time turning things up to eleven.  The recording crew takes a break while Johnny tries to have sex with Jessica in the recording booth.  She rejects him in a short little argument, but Johnny changes his approach. He starts to hum on his saxophone and approach her with it's resonant sound. He shoves the bell of the saxophone between her legs and sends her gushing into ecstasy. She twitches and spasms as her vagina is bombarded with the invisible force of deep, rhythmic, vibrations. This is one of the most erotic things I have ever seen. I just knew that at any moment the horn would start gurgling on her fluids. 

We're next introduced to Dr. Wendell Simpson, who is a surgeon that is going through some personal problems. His marriage is deteriorating and his wife, played by the beautiful Corinne Clery, is starting to suspect he is being unfaithful. He lies to his wife about having to perform a surgery as a means to meet up with a prostitute he frequents. There's a strange scene where the prostitute is trying to fix a run her stockings by running nail polish across it. The doctor finds it stimulating and begs her not to stop. She goes further and starts rubbing the nail polish on her crotch and getting turned on by it. He gets worked up enough to pull her stockings off and finish off in short fashion.

The lives of Jessica and Dr. Simpson are about to become unexpectedly entangled. While speeding down the highway on a motorcycle, Johnny threatens to wreck the bike if Jessica doesn't pleasure him with a hand job while driving. She is terrified of course and pleasures him against her will. Later at their house while having sex, Johnny sodomizes her despite her pleas. She becomes understandably upset and tells him to leave. He taunts her while driving around on his motorcycle and repeatedly confesses his love. His recklessness catches up to him and he tips the bike and hits his head on a rock. He recovers and plays it off like it's no big deal, but he later collapses from the damage while recording in the studio. 

Meanwhile, Dr. Simpson is at odds with his wife. While they're out on the road she starts an argument with him and demands a divorce. The emotional stress of his marriage ending follows him into the hospital. Johnny is scheduled for brain surgery due to the subdural hematoma he suffered and his surgeon is, of course, Dr. Simpson. Brain surgery is no walk in the park and as Dr. Simpson operates, his mind drifts to the argument with his wife the night before. The results of his inability to concentrate on the task at hand are fatal. Jessica has a complete meltdown upon learning of Johnny's death and blames Dr. Simpson. Deranged with grief after obsessing over her dead boyfriend and watching their old home movies, she decides to kidnap the doctor with the intention of killing him for revenge.

She hides in his car with a gun and forces him to drive to her home. Once they arrive she knocks him out with chloroform and shackles him in her kitchen, inches away from her protective dog. He begs for his release, but she informs him of what he has to look forward to. Throughout the third act of the film the doctor is subjected to torture and humiliation while waiting for his ultimate end. He's starved to the point where he eats leftover dog food out of the dog's bowl. He's mutilated and aroused by his frequently nude captor. She walks him on a leash down the beach and drowns him, only to revive him and slip him a little tongue in the process.

While the doctor endures Jessica's physical and sexual torture, she has several flashback to her relationship with Johnny. In retrospect it becomes more apparent how toxic that relationship was. He would force her to have sex on film and refused to have a child with her. The more she recalls of the relationship, the less hatred she holds toward the doctor. A bizarre romance slowly ignites between the two. The doctor feels compassion for the beautifully broken girl and she starts to see him as her savior rather than a murderer.

Everything about this movie is steamy and sexual. The camera doesn't shy away from showing all regions of the female form. The saxophone driven score will melt your panties off. The cinematography and lighting really set an intimate mood. Then there is this wild story that uses sex in a number of different ways. Despite the entrancing opening scene, it actually took me a minute to get into the film. I think my expectations of a Fulci film were having to acclimate to what I was actually experiencing. Once I did acclimate, I enjoyed every minute of this sinful bit of celluloid and had to watch it again. 

This currently stands at a 5.4 on IMDB, but I will give it a 7.5 out of 10. Make sure to check out the next film in Devlin's Domain. Until then, I'll leave you with an excerpt from The Devil's Honey:
"When you have spent your life like a fortune that never seemed to end. A second chance will come like a long lost friend. Great joy will fill you and flush you hot. No more will you ever be cool for she is the Devil's honey pot. And you'll drown in her you fool."

About Me: I have a couple of different aliases, but for this column I will use my middle name. I am Devlin and I currently reside in Atlanta, GA. 35 years of age and still feeling immortal. Former Rockstar, current Pro Wrestler and hell, I'm still a Rockstar at heart. I got my first taste of obscure cinema when I was about 8 years old. My Dad would take us to the video store every weekend to stock up on classic horror films to watch on his projector. They were mostly harmless, PG-rated horror films like the great Universal monster movies. Then one night he rented a movie for himself to watch after we had gone to bed. I was so intrigued by this film that I wasn't allowed to see. I begged and begged and he eventually caved. That night I was exposed to a film unlike anything I had seen before. Ever since that night I wanted to find more films that gave me that same sensation. I wanted to feel shock and disgust. I found my place in the Horror aisle. The film I watched was Faces of Death. Thanks Dad.

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