There’s ripoffs of The Omen (The Visitor, The Tempter, Holocaust 2000), then there’s Spain’s “Roger Corman,” Ignacio F. Iquino — anglicized, here, for U.S. drive-in consumption as “Steve McCoy” — bringing on the double-live gonzos, Antichrist weirdness. (I’ll forever pair Iquino’s horror opus with Bigas Luna’s Anguish. I’m weird that way, anyway. . . .)
In his only horror film, Iggy wastes no time in serving up the gore and the sleaze — remembering his back resume is mostly softcore skin dramas that jumped on the Jess Franco sex-wave band wagon — in a tale of a woman pregnant with the Antichrist pursued by a Satanic cult (led by the sinister-good, yet one-film-and-gone Henry Ragoud). It’s a film that, as you watch, you’ll feel the proceedings are more Roman Polanski than Richard Donner — but there’s no arguing that Lucio Fulci’s gag-inducing influence is afoot in the frames. So yes, if you know your Fulci: eyes are gouged out. And the gallons upon gallons of blood belched would give Sam Raimi pause . . . heck, even Joe D’Amato threw-up in his mouth (and he knows a thing or two about inducing gags with his own, 1974 Antichrist romp, The Tempter, and 1979’s Blue Omega).
It all begins with Frederick, an ex-mercenary stuck in a loveless marriage with Elizabeth, his home bound, mentally and physically scared wife — an injury caused by his own misadventures with the bottle. He comes to fall in love with Helen — and loses his eyes via a red-hot fire poker (not before offing the maid) wielded by his now institutionalized wife. Now married and wanting to raise a family, Fredrick and Helen discover they can’t conceive (poor Fred . . . he loses his eyes, now he’s shootin’ blanks). Consulting a fertility doctor, they discover — too late — the good doctor is part of a Satanic cult . . . and he’s artificially inseminated Helen with “Satantic Sperm” to birth the Antichrist.
Yeah, the proceedings sometimes go down like a Bruno Mattei cheapjack joint (1980’s Hell of the Living Dead comes to mind) lacking in atmosphere that inclines more laughs that scares (the rubber bats! the devil baby!). The proceedings, however, are — without a doubt — outright mean and brutal with its eyeball operation (to at least fill in Fred empty sockets), abortions (the cult tracks down and kills the abortionist that kiboshed the last two Antichrist pregnations), and the big “Ruggero Deodato” move — only this time, it’s a (real) frog — in lieu of a river turtle — that gets the dagger holocaust. Then Elizabeth escapes the nuthouse (Diana Conca is off-the-chain and scene-chewing excellent throughout), Frederick’s obnoxious nephew is on the Damien fringes, there’s more nudity than a Paul Naschy joint, the cameras zoom and swirl, and the plot absurdities (also kitchen sink-clipping from The Shining, Suspiria, and Rabid) pile on and on and on as the pounding soundtrack sends Dario Argento screaming from the theater!
Remember how you felt when you witnessed the bat shite craziness of Magdalena, Possessed by the Devil (1974) and the great (!) Armondo de Ossorio’s Demon Witch Child (1975)? Well, Bloody Sect, as with those two post-Exorcist possession ditties, is never — ever — dull. And you get an Omen-Antichrist birth in the bargain, so what’s not to likey, here? Nothing. I love it all! Sure, we all remember Paul Naschy and Jose Ramon Larraz, but raise a pint for Ignacio F. Iquino giving it the genre-hoping, post-John Carpenter try, will ya?
Once very hard to find outside of Europe on VHS in the ol’ brick and mortar days — but the local comic book shop and VSOM/Video Search of Miami had the (poorly subtitled) greys for the taking — and utterly impossible to find on DVD, Vinegar Syndrome did this up right with a DVD/Blu-ray combo (that’s now out of print; but not to worry, Amazon has vintage copies).
About the Author: You can visit R.D Francis on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.