The Night of the Sorcerers (1974)

Article #1575 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 6-7-2005
Posting Date: 12-4-2005
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Featuring Mario Kosti, Simon Andreu, Kali Hansa

An exploration team in Mumbasa find themselves victims of the curse of the leopard people.

This movie opens with a bunch of African natives performing a sadistic ritual on an unwilling white woman. They have just completed the ritual when a surrounding military force opens fire on the natives and kills them all. Then there is a startling twist that would have worked a lot better if it had been edited well, but in some ways, this moment is indicative of the whole movie; one hand giveth, while the other hand taketh away.

To give an example of what I mean, some of the horror scenes here are really eerie and effective, particularly when the dead natives pull themselves out of the cairns built for their bodies. Other moments are unintentionally hilarious; any sequence with the fanged leopard women cavorting around in their fur bikinis in slow motion is more likely to elicit snickers rather than shudders. At least one thing both of these types of scenes have in common is that they’re still better than scenes of conversation between the main characters; for some reason, director Amando de Ossorio just can’t bring these scenes to life.

Still, I think I’ll cut the movie a bit of slack. It’s a lot better than MALENKA, for one thing. For another, I have the short dubbed-in-English print, and this of course drags down the quality a little. Still, this one just doesn’t hold a candle to Ossorio’s Blind Dead movies.


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