THE DEVIL’S HONEY *** Italy / Spain 1986 Dir: Lucio Fulci. 82 mins
Although consistent with its filmmaker’s career-long diversions into different genres and fads, Fulci’s contribution to the post-BODY HEAT erotic thriller cycle (in the same year as 9 ½ WEEKS) was considered a left-field choice after carving out a splatter niche in the early 80’s. A silly but fun soft-core soap opera with a sadomasochistic streak, it deserves a place in cinema history if only for the classic line “My name is fear. But you can call me Jessica”.
Said Jessica (the wooden but gorgeous Blanca Marsillach) is introduced licking the spit off the face of musician boyfriend Stefano Madia before his co-workers pretend to be busy while they sex it up in the recording studio. Check your pulse if you’re not aroused by the sight of Blanca Marsillach getting pleasured with the business end of his saxophone. Soon after wanking him off while they speed along on his motorbike (and complaining about being treated like a piece of meat), Jessica suffers a mental collapse when he’s killed in a road accident. She blames surgeon Brett Halsey for letting him die, capturing him for a series of abuse sessions. Halsey, later in Fulci’s odd horror comedy TOUCH OF DEATH, is fun as the miserably married surgeon, first seen dismissed as a “monster” by a British prostitute who had unenthusiastically pleasured her minge with a lipstick for his viewing pleasure. Fulci delivers all the sex, nudity and close-up crotch shots the market demands, plus a welcome dose of camp melodrama as Marsillach breaks down while watching home videos of her forced sex performance on VHS. Attractively shot in Sitges and Venice, it’s of its time and not without charm, while also prefiguring the development of the American erotic thriller in the early 90’s. Years before BODY OF EVIDENCE and BASIC INSTINCT, the anti-heroine descends into madness, keeping her captive man on a leash, feeding him dog food, ramming his bleeding face into her crotch and pouring hot wax on his body. This is how all great relationships begin.
Review by Steven West