Devil Story follows a serial killing maniac in a nazi uniform who goes around terrorizing innocent people. Well at least that was the goal of the film, but what transpires is anything but that, due to a low budget and a director who threw everything at this movie to stick some sort of landing. The trouble is, nothing stuck and genre fans got something maybe more than what they asked for - the worst film ever made. Vinegar Syndrome delights with a great looking 1080p HD transfer and a solid mono track. The bonus features are excitingly worthwhile. Recommended!
French exploitation is usually best served up within its own subgenre of Nazisploitation. In 1986, director Bernard Launois made his last feature film with big intentions. but due to the extremely low budget, Launois became overwhelmed and just put a bunch of objects and people on screen and hoped for the best in his final movie Devil Story. Over the years, more and more people have jumped on the bandwagon of Devil Story, because of its sheer insane storyline that doesn't make a lick of sense and its low-budget murder sequences. In reality, even though there are things to enjoy with this B-movie, this film is one of those experiences that would go well with a riff from the Mystery Science Theatre 3000 comedians.
Devil Story centers on a couple traveling in France who end up in a hotel owned by an older couple who mainly seem to be interested in shooting a horse. Throughout the rest of the movie, the young couple learns and figures out that the hotel and surrounding areas are haunted. This would explain the first segment of the movie which displays a disfigured man in an SS uniform running around, killing innocent bystanders. The premise has a fun, yet usual genre setup, but what unfolds is anything but a coherent narrative or characters. Most of the movie just involves the young couple walking around with a few long shots of blood splatters and kills.
There's nothing about a traditional story here, which can be great as an abstract set piece, but with Devil Story, it really was a case of not being able to really finish the film cohesively, so it was best to just throw a bunch of items at the camera and see if something sticks. Nothing stuck here, which is a bit brilliant and also a bit dumb. Either way, this movie exists and is a rather fun time if the goal is to make fun of it and watch a filmmaker do literally anything they could to finish the final product. Eat your heart out Ed Wood cinema, because Devil Story is the leather-wearing cool sibling it wishes it had. Even though there's a freaking mummy in it.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Devil Story prays its way to Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome. The disc is housed inside a hard, clear plastic case. The artwork features a rather amazing piece of artwork of a gross maniacal creature in leather with a shotgun causing havoc. If this was the movie, it would be the best film ever made. There is no insert for a digital code.
Devil Story comes with a 1080p HD transfer from Vinegar Syndrome that was sourced from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. This is by far the best the film has looked so far.
Being such a low-budget and made by a guy who was on his way out, there wasn't much care in how the film was shot or seen made, so any relic of a video print of this is truly outstanding. The color palette is much more vibrant and reveals great greens in the trees, browns of the tree bark and ground, along with some of those grays and whites in the rocky cliffs and mountains. The blue skies and water also look amazing here. The practical visual effects of guts and gore look wonderful in their various shades of red coloring with some decent purples and dark blues around. Black levels are as inky as they can get and the skin tones are fairly natural.
The detail allows for those icky special effects to ignite the eyeballs with drips of blood, fleshy muscles, and gory entrails when needed. The latex makeup also looks great here, along with the textures in the wardrobe. The film grain is heavy in most areas, but it gives all that filmic quality that a B- movie like this allows. There are some minor issues with warps and scratches, but Vinegar Syndrome has done an excellent job with its cleanup.
This release comes with a DTS-HD 1.0 mono track that gets the job done. Sound effects are sparse, but when they happen, it's the silly aspect of playing the same animal sound or door open on a loop dozens of times. It's rather quite comical. The score always adds to the suspense but never gets to that full immersive quality. The dialogue is clean for the most part, but it can sound a bit tin-canny. Still, it's amazing the job Vinegar Syndrome has done with this audio mix.
There are 71 minutes of extras included in this release, including vintage and new interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. They are very much worth the time. There is also a decent commentary track from the director on a few select scenes.
Devil Story is a film that had big intentions and was going to be a serious thrill ride of horror. That didn't quite pan out for the filmmaker and its cast due to an extremely small budget. The result was that the world received one of the worst films ever made that makes Birdemic look like Shawshank Redemption. But that's the unique charm with Devil Story - it's so bad - it's great. Vinegar syndrome rolls out the red carpet for it as well with some solid video and audio presentations, along with some wonderful bonus features. Recommended!