Entertaining erotic vampire flick
Michael Toland | Austin, TX USA | 04/06/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Naked women, lesbian and heterosexual sex, vampires, black magic and a great creepy old castle to film in...what more do you want? Despite what you may think from the cover and the rather intrusive new title card, this film was originally titled Veil of Blood and came out in the early 70s. It was filmed in Europe, but everybody speaks (heavily accented) English, so I'm not sure if it's Swedish (one of the stars is a Swedish sex siren) or German or what. Anyway, read the plot description on the back of the video box very carefully, otherwise you won't know what the heck is going on most of the time. It involves a cult of women attempting to resurrect or reincarnate their dead vampire queen. Their process involves some sort of, well, horniness spell that, ahem, agitates everybody in the castle, except for the cross-wearing doctor who's agitated enough by incestous feelings toward her brother, who's too busy gettin' busy with the Swedish sex siren parenthetically mentioned above to notice. There's also a beautiful young brunette who is the alleged reincarnation of the dead vamp, though she's barely a footnote to the proceedings until the last 20 minutes or so, and her lesbian caretaker, who also gets it on with the SSS and willingly joins the vampire cult. Got all that? It doesn't matter, really, as the plot, while fascinating, plays second fiddle to the hallucinatory atmosphere. Every person, male or female, gets naked at least once. There's very little gore but a whole lot of psychedelic tribal drumming, and the spooky castle should get its own co-starring credit. Nobody's gonna put this on their list of all-time faves, but it's a vastly entertaining watch for the erotic horror enthusiast."
Not as much ecstasy as I was anticipating
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 01/06/2004
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This German film, which was actually released in 1973, would seem to offer fans of erotic horror a nice little treat. Perhaps it did at the time of its release, but the whole thing comes across as rather bland these days, and this resulted in a little disappointment for this viewer. The storyline itself also has some virtues to it, but the film's rather sparse elaboration of what is actually going on combined with its actors'/actresses' sometimes hard-to-understand English accents keep it from realizing its true potential. The plot revolves around the infamous Baroness Danielle Vaga, an infamous German aristocrat who cut a bloody swath through the pages of mediaeval history, taking delight in impaling many a victim and reportedly drinking her victims' blood. Strangely enough, the local villagers look upon her as a vampire and eventually burn her at the stake. Unfortunately, they forgot to thrust a "cross of Vaga" (actually, I could never really understand the word associated with the cross, so I'm just guessing it was "Vaga") through her heart. Thus, the Baroness swears she will return some day. It just so happens that a few ladies have been invited to the old castle, ostensibly to discover which of them is a true ancestor of the Baroness. Only two of these girls really matter (and I might add that these are the only two attractive women in the entire film); the constantly hot and bothered Helga carries the movie, as far as I'm concerned, during certain stretches. You also have a pair of uninvited guests who are looking for help following an automobile accident: this is a female doctor of arcane lore and superstition and her seemingly useless brother. Brother and sister are very close - much too close. With everyone in place, we learn bits and pieces about the Baroness' return, watch half-naked women dance and chant to annoying drum music, and meet with only mild erotica on our way to a finish I found disappointing.There is no gore to speak of, the erotic horror claims are highly exaggerated, all but two of the characters are either unimportant or unlikable, and there is nothing the least bit disturbing or frightening about the castle environment. Despite these facts, the movie actually holds together pretty well - if you can figure out the vague and hard to comprehend dialogue that tries to explain the point of the whole story. One should be aware that this film has also appeared under the titles The Devil's Plaything, Revenge of the Black Sisters, and Veil of Blood. I wouldn't go to the trouble of searching for a copy of the film, but it's worth watching."
Fun, maybe not for the whole family
R. Schaffer | NY, NY | 05/04/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Joe Sarno was an early director of erotic films who always added a bit of psychological depth to his tales, as well as hints of perverse sex (incest is a favored topic in many of his works). We're not talking Ingmar Bergman here, but unlike many other grindhouse directors, Joe's films are elaborately plotted, well acted, and nicely shot. No blurry out of frame compositions here. Devil's Playthings exhibit many of these traits. The vampirism is left in a gray area, as we are never sure if the Countess is a real vampire, or simply acting out the influences of the cult who believe they have reincarnated her. There is implied brother/sister incest, and true to the period, writhing females painted with mystic symbols. Where are these cults, anyway? Sign me up! The film is soft core, but exudes an erotic throb, and the gals are swell. The head of the cult is one of those women who is creepily sexy. If you're looking for an offbeat piece of retro-erotica, this film will do nicely. And try other Joe Sarno works, they don't disappoint."