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Author Topic: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)  (Read 4836 times)

mrb

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Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« on: 17 Jul 2007 - 08:44 »

**CONTAINS SPOILERS**

 
Directed in 1978 by Ugo Liberatore, Venetian Black is the tale of a blind 14 year old boy called Mark who is plagued by visions of a strange satanic couple & a dog eating human hands.

His sister Christine and her chap George take him to Venice for a vacation where they stay at his grandmothers. Mark continues to have visions and his sister gets increasingly pissed off, barking things like "are you deaf as well as blind now!" at him. They hate each other.

Christine is due to inherit a large boarding house from the Winters, a pension in which her brother (married to the Winters daughter), wife and child met some strange death.

That evening whilst at mass, Mark is disturbed by a vision of the satanic man, a moustached fella wearing a long black cape holding a cane, sans the satanic woman and the hungry black dog. Christine tells him to shut the f*ck up and go and stand at the back of the church. Which the poor little blind blonde kid does - unfortunately knocking over a candle, which rolls toward the grandmother and sets her coat alight. Hysterically, nobody notices this (including the woman who's on fire) untill she's practically engulfed. The congregation, priest, Mark and Christine all stand around while the grandmother falls to the church floor and burns. Mark asks what's going on, but they don't answer, just stare like they want to toast marshmallows or something. No-one tries to put her out.

Mark is covinced to go and live in the Winters house by the priest who tells him about a magic well in the grounds containing miracle healing water that can fix his blindness. Sounds reasonable so they move to the pension, where we immediately recognise Magdalene Winters as the woman in Marks visions - in case we don't realise, Pino Donnagio provides a LOUD cue and we zoom into her face.

George and Christine set up home in the pension, they plan to marry but Christine refuses to have sex beforehand.
Mark continues to trip out, a chandalier nearly kills them all, worms and maggots come out of the taps, Mark hears maniacal laughter. Christine becomes increasingly pissed off with her brother, especially when he tells her he's seen the satanic man killing Magdalene with his cane (indeed in a brief respite from exposition, we see Marks' vision of the cane puncturing her neck and the ensuing jet of blood). "I'm going to have you locked up!" she protests but they check on Mrs Winters anyway...to be fair, she is looking a bit peaky, and promptly dies of heart failure.
In her dying gasps Magdalene tells Mark of the evils of the coming Whit Sunday and warns him to allow no one to enter the house on that day.

Mr Winters hangs himself (the viewer will know how he's feeling by now), right in front of Mark and Christine on a stairwell, this is shot from beneath the body and is quite amusing. At the following days funeral, the satanic man attacks Mark with his cane but his sister scoffs saying he's just walked into something : "You're a basket case!".

With the Winters gone, Christine promptly turns the boarding house into a brothel (although she claims the 'foreign students' are just helping her out) , George bitches about it (eh?) and goes away on business, Mark wishing him a hasty return.

A boat trip seems like a pleasant diversion for Mark and his sister, but the boat catches fire. As luck would have it, a tall dark man with a moustache (where have we seen him before?...oh, thanks Pino!) is on hand to rescue Mark, who struggles with him, 'recognising' him as the man with the cane.
You would have thought this act of heroism would annoy Christine, but she instead takes quite a shine to 'Dan' (he's really THE DEVIL folks) and invites him round to their knocking shop, er, pension. It's Whit Sunday.

Dan moves into the shining-a-like Spooky Room Twelve, and proceeds to flirt with Christine, much to Marks disgust. He trys to run away but Dan just brings him back and 'comforts' him with maggot filled water.
At dinner Christine cuts her finger, so Dan sucks on her bloodied finger, which seems to delight Christine so much that she stands up and allows Dan to plunge his own digit up her front bottom! This she enjoys even more, "thankyou, it's stopped bleeding", she says.

Vicky, the teenage daughter of a neighbouring gallery owner, takes Mark to the magical well. Although the water contains snakes and rats he splashes it all over with gusto. Nothing happens. Professing intimate knowledge of the houses' secrets, the girl shows Mark to a hidden room behind a fake cupboard. It's a cobwebbed room containing a dusty chair, mirror and little else. Mark 'sees' Vicky sit down in the chair, before Dan/Devil appears and kills her by stabbing her in the cheek, at length, with his cane...all played out to insane synth warbling.
Vicky however resurfaces outside moments later, and Christine blames Marks vision on a small childs doll in the hidden room. This confuses him in itself, but when he puts it on the floor it bleeds copiously down the staircase & there's mad cackling. He looks bemused. Who can blame him?
Dan has had enough of the boys accusations and leaves. His work here is done.

Christine is also confused, she's still a virgin but now also pregnant, sensing some anomaly she decides to kill herself, but the priest reassures her saying "conception is strange, anything is possible". She readily accepts this, along with the priests suggestion to drag her chap George back to 'be the father'. The two are married but she still refuses to boff George, who is beginning to believe Marks' tales of the Devil moving in, killing everyone and screwing his sister.
George takes to hanging out in the storeroom welding massive sculptures that look like torture chamber devices, all metal and spikes. "why are you doing this?" asks Mark. "I'm hoping someone will run into them" he replys. Fair enough.
He also takes to downing bottles of liquor like they were fizzy pop.

On another relaxing boat trip (with her sister played by CANNIBAL FEROX's Lorraine De Selle) Christine falls downstairs and starts to give birth, everyone stands around staring blankly, almost as if they're receiving no direction  but up pops Olga Karlotas as Billie Whitela...sorry, as a spooky midwife, and saves the day.
George sits on deck and tells Mark "Now I see why he wanted you to hate him so much, he wants you to take revenge on his son". How the hell he's managed to figure out that this is some warped reinvention of the Easter story with the Devil in the role of God by this stage is beyond me. But in his boozed up haze he figures that this is the birth of the anti-christ.
   
No one but Mark believes him, so he figures the best thing to do is to take a boat trip (look, they'd hired the damn thing, might as well get a days shoot for your money), he invites the priest for he has a cunning plan.
Whilst aboard, George takes the baby and squashes its neck in his hand, causing it to scream - then of course he simply declares that the child is choking to death and needs to be baptized RIGHT NOW!!! forcing the priest to do it even though he KNOWS he'll get beheaded by Satan, which causes the priest to fall overboard and smack bang into the propellors. Which behead him in a welter of foaming gore. Obviously.

Realizing that he hasn't actually achieved very much with this little skirmish, George takes to the sauce in the storeroom. Whilst sitting idly chatting one afternoon with Mark about the upcoming apocalypse and the beast and what have you, Christine pays them a visit, antichrist in hand.
"I suppose you've come down here for a screw" says George through a haze of booze and stubble. Christine says she sure has, hands the nipper to her brother and proceeds to a porking with George (I suppose he figures, 'Well she's just given birth to the antichrist, but at least she's FINALLY putting out'). Mark, bored by this aural pornography, puts the baby into a crib and heads off to the secret room. Where he encounters the corpse of Vicky sitting in the chair, a wonderful putrescent magotty Fulci-like vision.

With George seemingly happy to get drunk and laid and to hell with it, Mark takes it upon himself to rid the world of this satanic mewling evil. The next day he pushes the baby carriage into a canal. George saves the baby and reunites it with a smiling Christine.

Mark trips out down in the storeroom, he sees a dead dog on the floor with it's brains exposed, the bloody mess being devoured by rats. Vickys' mother appears and tells Mark to go and check on George, so he hides in the bedroom and watches.
George is naked on the bed being straddled by a naked woman as he moans with pleasure, two more naked women enter. Christine, holding the baby, stands watching at the side of the room. One of the naked women hands another a bible - which she proceeds to burn with a blowtorch. George then has a screwdriver rammed into his left shoulder. Christine almost winces. Then, while one naked woman stabs at his chest with a knife, George has a six inch nail banged into his right ear with a lump-hammer.
Mark nods off (eh?), but it's okay because he wakes up in time for the best bit!

Upstairs, Christine and her sister and the others have got dressed, and are claiming that George has left. They read a note that he 'left' for Mark, and lay the table for supper.
This scene recreates the last supper tableaux (last seen on the DEVILS REJECTS admat). Whitsun, Easter.....geddit?
After dinner the ladies don full-head rubber masks of monkeys and skeletons, and drink and smooch to the strains of Pino's sultry sax arrangments. Mark sits and sulks. One of the women trys to ply him with hooch and puts a skull mask on him, but he's having none of it. By this stage Christine is too sh*t-faced to stop Mark from taking the devil baby from it's crib, she slurs something about love and passes out in a plate of food as he wanders off with it.

In the bedroom Mark places the baby on the floor next to some hacksaws. He sits on the bed flicking through the burnt bible, then stands, picks up the baby and throws it face first with all his strength onto Georges spiked sculpture. The child's naked so the closeup looks pretty good when three or four massive metal spikes ram through its body. Mark leaves the baby to drip and has another nap.

When he awakes Mark goes to the magical well and wets his face...and his sight is restored. One of Christines friends tells him to pop along to the cemetery and apologise to his sister for killing her baby and all , "it's Easter Sunday, a day of forgiveness - she'll understand". Quite right, worse things happen at sea, right?
When Mark gets to the cemetery he finds only an open coffin spattered with blood, the baby and mother gone. Then George pops up and 'explains' that the child was killed so that it could be ressurected in a mockery of christ as the devils son.

The final scene shows Mark on a boat and sitting at the back are Christine and the antichrist.

Sorry this is more of a synopsis than a review, thought it might be worth a chuckle.
mrb.
 
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Paul

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #1 on: 17 Jul 2007 - 19:43 »

MrB - I've only dipped in and out of the above, out of fear of reading spoilers. I've not seen this film and to be honest, hadn't heard of it, either. Not got my copy of Blood And Black Lace at hand to refer to, so my quest is, where has this been released?
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Stephen Grimes

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #2 on: 17 Jul 2007 - 19:46 »

Not much point in watching it now  :-\
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mrb

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #3 on: 18 Jul 2007 - 12:29 »

The tape is lost under piles of tapes....it's, er, a european tape?

Seriously, this is worth watching for the baby scene alone.
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mrb

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #4 on: 18 Jul 2007 - 12:32 »

Not much point in watching it now  :-\

Do you reckon they could fit my 'outline' onto the back of any future dvd releases?

 :D
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Jonny

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #5 on: 23 Jul 2007 - 10:45 »

...where has this been released?

It had a VHS release in Finland, letterboxed and in English if I remember correctly.
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Kalibre38

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #6 on: 24 Jul 2007 - 07:56 »

Xploited has this movie on DVD but it's in Italian only.

http://xploitedcinema.com/catalog/damned-venice-p-5001.html
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Diabolik

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #7 on: 25 Jul 2007 - 15:55 »

...where has this been released?


It had a VHS release in Finland, letterboxed and in English if I remember correctly.


It also had a release in Denmark, also letterboxed and in English

Inspector Tanzi

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #8 on: 25 Jul 2007 - 18:56 »

Never seen it but i wouldn't mind doing so.
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ecc

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #9 on: 14 Jan 2008 - 00:29 »

Sunrise Tapes also released a widescreen version in English with Dutch subtitles.  The cover has the title as VENETIAN BLACK but the onscreen title is DAMNED IN VENICE.

zykl0nb

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #10 on: 14 Jan 2008 - 08:12 »

A couple months back I mentioned Damned in Venice in a thread on custom fandubs/subs, I've still got the Italian DVD, and I've recently gotten a rip of it with an English dub, one weekend I may try to slap the two together and see if I can make something watchable from the two
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ecc

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #11 on: 14 Jan 2008 - 18:15 »

If you got the English audio from the Dutch release, keep in mind while synching them up that there are one or two brief points (reel changes I think) where dialogue and shots get repeated (Sunrise usually used well-worn prints but this one looked quite good).

magnus

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Re: Damned in Venice (1978, Ugo Liberatore)
« Reply #12 on: 15 Jan 2008 - 19:08 »

This is such a great film! I liked it very, very much, wonderful, foggy atmosphere. I have the Sunrise-tape and it is lovely, there´s also two swedish vhs releases, same print as the finnish one.
A fan-dvd would be a very good thing, as the vhs-tapes are rather rare and it´s a bit to much dialogue to be interesting if not understanding what is said. I think many here would like this one!
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