Ugo Liberatore’s Nero Veneziano (Venetian Black) is a strange movie. It’d be easy to just say it’s a ripoff of Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen, but it really is an odd demented little film unique to itself.
Mark (Renato Cestie, who other than being in Fulci’s Challenge to White Fang and Torso, made a career of playing neglected boys who die of some disease by the end of the movie) is a blind boy who is given to disturbing visions. His parents have died and now he’s stuck living with his gorgeous sister Christine (Rena Niehaus, who is in the fantastically scummy Arabella L’angelo Nero) and their strict religious grandparents. That won’t last long because Mark causes an accident that leads to the old lady spectacularly going up in flames.
Yes. The hero of the movie just set his grandmom ablaze. It gets weirder.
Mark and Christine must now go live in Venice — look for Olga Karlatos in several roles — to live with another near-death relative, this time an aunt and her suicidal husband. They soon die and Christine decides that she’s going to start a brothel when she isn’t having a virgin birth.
Some people comment on how brutal she is to her brother. If you have to put up with Mark, you’d abuse him as well. All he keeps doing is claiming she’s having the Antichrist, with the father being the mysterious boarder named Dan that no one can see.
Can Christine’s ex Giorgio save the day? How about Father Stefani? Or Mark just trapped in the predestined end of all there is? And man, how rough is that scene with the baby?
Bonus points for having Ely Galleani (Five Dolls for an August Moon, Baba Yaga) and Lorraine de Selle (Emanuelle In America) as two of Christine’s friends.
If you loved Don’t Look Now for all the canal scenes but wanted things to somehow be even more downbeat, this movie is your jam. I have no idea what the ending of this movie is all about, nor do I even know what large pieces of this movie are attempting to do. That is the wonder of near-lost Italian ripoff cinema and we should all be so lucky as to be confused at 2:17 AM by a movie just this out there.
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