BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Devil Story (1986) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive - Blu-ray Review

Devil Story (1986)

“I’m the master of the ghost ship!”

Come for the zombie in the Nazi uniform killing random people and stay for the nonstop hilarity as director Bernard Launois gives audiences a wild tasting slice of French horror pie in Devil Story, his first and last horror film.  This is a Z-grade movie where gauze-wrapped mummies spit up what looks like toothpaste (for no earthly reason) and corn fields become endless rows of slow-motion escape for the poor woman trapped in all of this loopy madness.

"t’s twisted, full of endless bloodletting... and completely bonkers"


 

Does it make sense?  Nope.  That’s part of its charm.  Just roll with it, man.  They don’t make ‘em like this one anymore.

Often funny as all of its frightful Z-grade fancies become tweaked out to their maximum, Devil Story just might be the most confounding (and absolutely hilarious) foreign horror film that I have ever seen.  And, yes, I am well-versed in Norbert Georges Mountier's gloriously inept Ogroff!  This one is - believe it or not - on the same level as demonic cats and visible blood pumps take center stage in Northern France for all of Launois’ nonsensical horror fantasies to play with.

It’s twisted, full of endless bloodletting (note the scene where the zombie gets kicked in the stomach by the horse and later set on fire), and completely bonkers as plot, character development, and choice edits are all sacrificed so that Bach’s Toccata in D Minor might fill the French Countryside, not once but twice! 

All of this and an endless supply of bullets that one old man fires in his attempts to shoot the satanic horse stomping about?  It might not be a devil's story, but it certainly is a madman's story.  Starring Véronique Renaud, Pascal Simon, Catherine Day, Nicole Desailly, Marcel Portier, and Christian Paumelle, this shit is B-A-N-A-N-A-S.  Count me in!Devil Story (1986)

To its credit, Devil Story is ALWAYS watchable.   Sure, it is a cheesy French horror film for anyone who likes their soundtracks full of casio sounding keys, wild horses who love rearing to get the attention of scantily clad females, and ghost stories involving cheap-looking model boats and mummies resurfacing from the depths of the ocean for one night of terror, but it works! 

Between all the incessant screams from and that damn satanic horse neighing, it’s hard to really tell what’s going on and, true to form, Launois leaves sanity and plot points for others to worry about.  Juvenile fetishes concerning horror take center stage while the dead rise and a gypsy woman takes control of a zombie.

Beyond that?    You are on your own.  Devil Story, now on blu-ray thanks to a newly restored 4K restoration, is available with a limited edition embossed slipcover (designed by Earl Kessler Jr.) only at VinegarSyndrome.com.

5/5 beers

 

Devil Story (1986)

Blu-ray Details

Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive / Limited to 5,000

Home Video Distributor: Vinegar Syndrome
Available on Blu-ray
- September 28, 2021
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English SDH
Audio:
French: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono; French: Dolby Digital 2.0; English: Dolby Digital 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Reion-free

A young couple, on vacation in the French countryside, decide to stay the night at a spooky old castle, after their car breaks down. Despite being warned about the local legend of a cursed ship which crashed into the nearby cliffs, the wife ventures out into the wild, only to find herself having to fend off a Nazi uniformed mutant, his Gypsy mother, a rogue mummy, a horse possessed by the devil, and more!  Without a doubt one of the strangest horror films ever made in France, Bernard LaunoisDevil Story (or, Once Upon A Time…The Devil) is a mind melting and almost indescribable, heavily gore fueled fever dream. Barely seen outside of its native country, but more than deserving of its growing cult following, prepare to forget everything you thought you knew about weird world cinema as you experience Devil Story, newly restored in 4K from its 35mm original camera negative, and loaded with both new and archival extras and interviews, and on disc from Vinegar Syndrome, in the English speaking world for the first time.

Video:

Newly scanned & restored in 4k from its 35mm original negative, the transfer on this Region Free Blu-ray is probably as good as it gets for this little slasher. Presented in a widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio, Devil Story’s transfer looks pretty clear. The colors don’t really pop thanks to the low budget in play, but there are more refined colors and black levels due to the effort.  Lines are detailed and shadows thick. Grain is high, there are scratches and pops from time to time, but the black levels are solid throughout.

Audio:

A French & English Mono track accompanies the movie.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Complete with reversible cover artwork with art by Steak Mtn, Vinegar Syndrome presents this release loaded with both new and archival extras and interviews.

  • “Once Upon a Time…Devil Story” - making-of featurette with the cast and crew
  • “Once Upon a Time…Bernard” - a brand new interview with writer/director Bernard Launois
  • Select scenes with commentary by the director
  • French TV Coverage
  • Original trailer
  • Reversible cover artwork with art by Steak Mtn

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 4/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars


Film Details

Devil Story (1986)

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime:
76 mins
Director
: Bernard Launois
Writer:
Bernard Launois
Cast:
Véronique Renaud; Marcel Portier; Catherine Day
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Vinegar Syndrome
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 30, 2021 (Fantastic Fest)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 28, 2021
Synopsis: A young couple, on vacation in the French countryside, decide to stay the night at a spooky old castle, after their car breaks down. Despite being warned about the local legend of a cursed ship which crashed into the nearby cliffs, the wife ventures out into the wild, only to find herself having to fend off a Nazi uniformed mutant, his Gypsy mother, a rogue mummy, a horse possessed by the devil, and more!

Art

Devil Story (1986)

 Devil Story (1986)

 

Movie Reviews

Our Tweets

 

You are here: Home Home Video BADass B-Movies Devil Story (1986) Vinegar Syndrome Exclusive - Blu-ray Review
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Letterboxd
Find us on Rotten Tomatoes