Salvation Films // 1974 // 83 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Appellate Judge Daryl Loomis // September 26th, 2008
I am the forbidden truth.
On its initial release in 1974, Nude for Satan was pulled almost immediately from theaters. Considering the title, was the film too racy for audiences? No, distributors shelved the film to save audiences the pain of watching it. Weird and completely insane, director Luigi Batzella (The Beast in Heat) has delivered a gothic horror film of epically stupid proportions, one that wasn't released in English until 1999 and one that Redemption films has deemed worthy of releasing for a second time.
After a car accident leaves Susan (Rita Calderoni, Black Magic Rites) unconscious, Dr. William (Stelio Candelli, Viva! Django) runs to the nearest Gothic castle for help. The creepy lord of the manor (Giuseppe Mattei, Seven Savage Men), who might be a certain dark prince, offers William a bed for the night instead of aid and a strange woman who looks like Susan offers to share it. He accepts and forgets all about the injured woman in his car. The next morning, she wakes up wondering what's going on and wanders to the castle herself. She doesn't find William, but finds his horny double, instead, and the lord, who assures her that the real William is around there somewhere. They've entered a house where their darker halves live and Satan wants to join the sides together to live with him in the castle and, of course, get them nude.
Though I realize how little sense that plot synopsis makes, this is completely in the spirit of Nude for Satan, the picture of senselessness. From its opening moments, Nude for Satan delivers on the two elements of the title. But the thread of plot is so thin and frayed that it snaps almost immediately and never regains any kind of sanity. Dr. William's first decision after pulling Susan from the wreckage is, without checking any vital signs, to drag her unconscious body to his tiny car and sit her upright in it. His second decision is to abandon her. Doctor knows best, I suppose, but Susan's understandably pretty upset when she wakes up in a strange man's car. When she comes to the castle, we've seen them both arrive, but it seems like they might be in different places entirely. They go through similar experiences upon arrival; the place looks dilapidated when they arrive but suddenly becomes opulent, mirrors show the wrong reflections, and the lord's words to them are very similar. The idea of having the two characters separated, having to navigate the other's dark side was intriguing to me at the start. I quickly realized, however, that that they didn't mean to imply that at all. It was pure coincidence that they couldn't find each other; all it takes is for Susan to scream loudly enough for Dr. William to hear so he can end his make out session with Susan's double and come rescue her.
Any decent idea they had in Nude for Satan is betrayed almost as soon as it's introduced. Luigi Batzella does nothing to connect the dots, and he doesn't fare any better in the production, either. Trashy Italian films aren't known for their good effects or their continuity, but Nude for Satan is truly inept. As plodding as can be for an 80 minute film, there is far more senseless dialogue than senseless action. The bad dub track makes it difficult to judge the delivery of the lines, but the reactions on screen often don't match well with the words being spoken, making it even less coherent. Stylistically, it feels like the classic gothic Hammer films, but with more sex, a diminished budget, and an abysmal talent level. The copious sex is the main selling point and Batzella lays it on pretty thick. An orgy scene with Satan, the William double, Sarah, three random guys and women, and two dancing guys painted half-blue is the capper on this wild, sleazy ride.
This version of Nude for Satan from Redemption films is a slightly upgraded re-release from their 1999 snap case version. The print is the same, the sound is the same, and the extras are the same, but the change from the cardboard snapper packaging is a big enough improvement to warrant an upgrade for fans of the film. The transfer is in the same letterboxed format as before. There are no real transfer errors, but colors are often muddled and there is a noticeable amount of dirt from the original print. The mono sound comes in both English and Italian dubs. The Italian version is significantly more clear, but they are both adequate. The packaging, strangely, promises a documentary about French vampire film director Jean Rollin, though he has nothing to do with the film. It isn't there. The only extras are a still gallery and a trailer, which is about all I want to know about this film.
As the story goes, Nude for Satan was seen by approximately 500 people upon its initial release. I understand their misery at having sat through it. Aside from copious nudity and a few laughs, there is little worth in this film.
Review content copyright © 2008 Daryl Loomis; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Salvation Films
* 2.35:1 Non-Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (Italian)
Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 1974
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Still gallery