Oh come ON ... are you guys for real? Have you ever heard of Aldo Sambrell before?? Let's start from scratch. First off, the version of this film that our critics here have been commenting on is a cut, full frame, tattered, torn, worn-out, washed-up, nearly colorless, public domain full frame English language version of a Spanish/Italian horror film made in 1973 that is essentially a ripoff of Amando de Ossorio's NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS -- also from 1973 -- mixing voodoo hijynx, sex romps, white Europeans treading on cursed grounds, and "The Love Boat". All we need is Isaac Washington mixing drinks & giving advice.
I'll grant that it's a crummy film, somewhat unimaginatively staged, abounding with laugh-out-loud inept hilarity (my favorite is the image of the cameraman caught in a mirror just before someone's head is smashed into it: D'OH!!), the racial sensitivity of a Three Stooges quickie, and a subterranean ending that makes no sense. It looks to have been shot & edited in under 3 weeks for about as much money as I pay every month for my student loan settlement, made by someone who was either stoned, drunk, or perhaps driving while talking on a cell phone. The remaining English language full frame print has all of visual charm of a pack of cigarettes that has gone through the wash, having been run through various wood chippers, golf ball washing machines, escalator motors, and other mechanical devices that used to pass for film projectors.
WITH ALL THAT SAID, I would rate this as one of the overlooked party movie masterpieces of all-times, and it allows fans of his work to use the very seldom spoken/written line "STARRING THE INSANE ALDO SAMBRELL". Aldo Sambrell was a Spanish stuntman turned supporting actor who spoke enough Italian to get into, gee, four decades of low budget genre films from Sword & Sandal Peplums, Spaghetti Westerns (he totally owns Sergio Corbucci's NAVAJO JOE even if Burt Reynolds ices him at the end), Italian Euro War potboilers, cult Euro Horror Goth-Fests, some Exotica Action Adventure thrillers (see THE DOG if you ever get a chance), probably a Bud Spencer film or two, and found work right up through the CALIGULA cash-ins, Barbarian Craze & Atom Bomb Sleaze movies of the 1990's. He is an utterly priceless actor with swarthy, somewhat menacing looks, athletic abilities, and utter conviction to the occupation of acting who's presence made *DOZENS* of otherwise disposable fluff B to D grade movies more interesting than they had to be. He's still around somewhere, and rivals the great Spanish supporting actor Victor Isreal as the premier madman of cult cinema -- He didn't just play his roles, he *WAS* his roles, and was one of those actors rumored to go into town after the shoot wrapped for the day dressed in character to better flesh out his role over a few drinks at a local cantina as dazed locals gawked in awe.
Here he gets the starring role, based on his somewhat ethnic appearance, of a Carib prince who dares fall in love with someone out of his caste, kills her husband in self defense, and is sentenced to an eternity of damnation as a voodoo mummy crated up in an ornately carved wooden sarcophagus that just happens to find its way into the hold of a cruise liner upon which the re-incarnated Earthly form of his former beloved is taking a get-away-from-it-all pleasure cruise. Someone obviously saw HORROR EXPRESS, as a dimwit decides to investigate what treasures may be secreted into his coffin, and sure enough Aldo's creaky, creepy corpse is soon prowling the corridors of the Love Boat looking for other descendants of those who condemned him (lots of convenient coincidences, but then again it's a small world some days) to chop off their heads, present them as gifts of homage to She Who Was Before, and revive his body with their blood (hence the translated Spanish literal title, BLOODY VOODOO).
Silly for sure, but if you can watch this with not just a suspension of disbelief but a complete disregard for belief, this movie is a Euro Horror party movie HOWLER: Beheadings, nudity, a swanky musical score by Fernando García Morcillo, familiar supporting cast players such as Sambrell's Spaghetti Western cohort Fernando Sancho, sexy Eva León, the always dependable Julio Peña, Alfredo Mayo, Enrique del Río (with real-life spouse María Antonia del Río as the Ugly American comic relief) and a silly but likable story by Santiago Moncada, best known for having scripted the ultra-creepy BELL FROM HELL and Sergio Martino's ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. This wasn't one of his better days but again, it looks as though the film was made incredibly quickly, was meant to be placed on a double bill with something just as forgettable and was not meant to save the world from global warming, unseat elected presidents or put and end to childhood obesity. IT'S JUST A STUPID LITTLE HORROR MOVIE, and with that caveat in mind, a case of beer & some friends to howl at it with this is one of the more entertaining little cheapies from the age of Euro Horror, lost and forgotten for decades. It would be useful to pinpoint exactly which films came first -- NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS, HORROR EXPRESS or VOODOO BLACK EXORCIST since all three share common plot ideas & even some nearly identical scenes. I'll grant this is the lesser effort of the three, but then again it was created from nothing other than maybe twenty pages of script, three or four canisters of film, a bunch of people getting together for a vacation cruise who just happened to be actors & filmmakers. It's a fun, wild little film that was never meant to be taken so seriously: Lighten up, guys!!
7/10: Have another beer and enjoy, even if it is all rather silly ...
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