ROBIN HOOD AND THE DEMONS OF Satan (Alfio Caltabiano, 1970) **
This is a genuine – and genuinely obscure – one-of-a-kind oddity: its original Italian title, UNA SPADA PER BRANDO, translates to "A Sword For Brando" but, this being (technically) a swashbuckler, the hero is called thus for his skill at brandishing a sword and not after the legendary Method actor. I am sure that some of you are asking themselves what a peplum is doing included in a Horror movie marathon but, as the illegitimate English title implies, our dashing hero battles devil-worshipping villains who, not only dress up in a skeleton's costume, but have their headquarters located within a crypt! For the first third of the movie, there is an effective and plentiful Gothic atmosphere as Euro-Cult starlet (and future hardcore porn star) Karin Scubert and her sister are chased at night across the Italian streets by a band of aforementioned 'demons' until, of course, Brando makes his belated appearance and saves the day; however, as was typical of this particular type of film and of Italian genre cinema in general, things are not permitted to remain grim for too long and, in fact, they get bawdier and sillier by the minute. Indeed, what we do get are interminable bouts of fistfights between the inept skeletons (who get thrown around in every conceivable direction) and Brando and his trio of friar sidekicks (played by, among others, Gerard Herter and Tano Cimarosa)!! Inevitably, these scenes spark the occasional laugh from indiscriminate viewers (one 'skeleton' bursts out with a hilarious "Most Holy Beelzebub!" cry after being hammered on the head a' la Bud Spencer by the chubby, ex-mercenary friar) but, by the end of it, one does get to pine for the chills provided in those opening sequences. Curiously enough, composer Carlo Rustichelli makes use of his own brooding (and instantly recognizable) love theme from Mario Bava's WHIP AND THE BODY (1963) during several instances in this movie albeit to an infinitely lesser effect!
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