JEAN ROLLIN-UARY: The Demoniacs (1974)

There’s a gnag of wreckers who lure ships to the rocks on a foggy shore that destroys them, led by The Captain (John Rico), and including Le Bosco (Willy Braque), Paul (Paul Bisciglia) and Tina (Joëlle Coeur). The latest ship they’ve smashed has two survivors — played by Lieva Lone and Patricia Hermenier — who are dazed and damaged as they struggle down the beach and into the arms of the crew that’s already taken so much from them. They’re assaulted and left for dead as the pirates drink away their cares, but The Captain keeps seeing the girls, so they go back and trap them in a shhip and set it on fire.

Yet that’s still not enough to put them away. They run to some ruins where a clown (Mireille Dargent) takes them deeper into the grounds where a demon (Miletic Zivomir)  is imprisoned and if they allow him into their bodies, he will give them a limited time to have his power and gain the revenge they desire.

Jean Rollin is the only director who I could say was inspired by his childhood to make suce a strange and upsetting movie. Yes, it’s another return to the beach but there are no vampires, instead the ghostly hauntings of victims and the sheer insanity of Tina. Seriously, Coeur is an absolute force in this movie, as seductive as she is frightening, demanding more carnage and becoming sexually aroused by the death and horror that she helps create.

This is at once a film filled with sex and one desperate to destroy your desire. Rollin was challenged by how big this production was and yes, there are some pacing issues, but it’s another journey through bleak unending sadness on a beach and my feet are soaked and the sand is in every pore.

You can watch this on Kino Cult.

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