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Don’t be fooled. None of the men in this movie are ripped like that guy in the mask.

José Ramón Larraz month continues with Black Candles, a soft core porno thinly disguised as a horror flick. I really should have done my research on this one. The movie opens with a hetero sex scene which is intercut with scenes of a woman poking a voodoo doll with a pin. The man in the bed dies of a sudden heart attack, which causes his beautiful young partner to become even more excited. WTF?

Well, she’s so excited because she and the woman with the voodoo doll (the dead man’s wife) and a bunch of other wacky friends of theirs are a satanic cult. They had to kill the guy to lure his sister to his house in England, supposedly to settle his estate, but really because they plan to marry her off to Satan. Along the way the woman from the first scene does it with a goat and a guy who turns against the cult gets killed by having a sword shoved up his bum. Are we having fun yet?

At first I wasn’t so disappointed, because the lead actress (Vanessa Hidalgo) had a bangin’ body, and her nemesis/sister-in-law (Helga Line, also of Stigma) looked damn good for a woman in her fifties. But I was expecting some good old trippy Euro-horror stuff between the sex, and I didn’t get it. Just more sex, and people hanging around talking about the devil. Even the lesbian scenes were cringeworthy, which is bad. Besides, if I’m going to watch a porn movie, I’m going to watch about ten minutes of one, not an hour and a half, unless it’s one of those weird and watchable shot on film ones with a plot from the 70s.

So I only kept watching because I wanted to see if the girl got away and how all that played out in the end. I guess it says something for the film that I was able to do that. Or something against me, and my self-preservation instincts. What I got, in the end, was a classic “was it all a dream” conclusion. If that’s what you want, watch All the Colors of the Dark for some of the nudity and more of the trippiness. Shit, even one of Doris Wishman’s horror/sex movies would have been more interesting.

I guess if you like exploitation films an awful, awful (emphasis on awful) lot, or you don’t have an internet connection to get free porn, you would like Black Candles. Of course, if you don’t have an internet connection, I don’t know why I’m addressing you since you can’t read this. For me, all it did was make the logical thinking kick in and start tearing apart the plot, which is when you know a horror movie has pretty much failed. I don’t know why the intended Bride of Satan just didn’t escape during one of her solo trips into London from the country estate where most of the “action” took place.

There is pretty much nothing you could say to me, and no “herbs” you can make me drink, to get me to hang around your house with a bunch of weird horny people for weeks waiting to become the Bride of Satan. Especially when the wedding ceremony just involves the bride getting the old in-out on an altar from an ugly guy in a priest collar while everyone watches. No thank you, I’ll take a second job or go to night school rather than insist on getting whatever my brother left in his will. I will admit it’s fun to hear a British person say “herbs” since they pronounce the “h.” But not fun enough to make me want to get married to the devil.

Luckily, Black Candles was packaged on a disc with another movie, an Italian flick called Evil Eye from 1975, which is more along the lines of the Euro-horror fix I was expecting. I’m going to cover that one here on a Thursday. The disc also included a special feature called “The Grindhouse Experience” which consisted of three exploitation trailers for Pick-Up, Legend of Eight Ninjas, and Don’t Answer the Phone. (Notice that the title card for the martial arts movie says Legend of Eight Ninjas in one part of the trailer, and Legend of Eight Samurai in another. I don’t remember what title I own the movie under, but it’s boring. And very long.) But as far as Black Candles is concerned, what I’ve learned is that my Larraz fandom doesn’t extend to his “sexy” offerings. Fortunately, he has plenty of other films, and we’ll be getting on to one of his late period slashers next Monday.

Check out similar trailers, as well as the awesomely 80s ballad “I Don’t Want This Night to End” from Legend of the Eight Samurai Ninjas, below.