31 Nights of Halloween Horror part 23: Sodoma’s Ghost
31 Nights of Halloween Horror: Part 23 in a 31 part series.
A horror film reviewed, every night for the month of October. Tonight we’re talking about:
Sodoma’s Ghost | Dir. Lucio Fulci | 1988/Italy | 84 mins
The Godfather of Gore
When I say Fulci, one would immediately think of The Beyond or Zombie or City of the Living Dead. When I say Fulci, the last thing anyone should think of is Sodoma’s Ghost and sadly there is a good reason for that.
In the late 80s the Italian horror movie market was fast declining along with Fulci’s health. He was still churning out horror films on a yearly basis, but the budgets were drying up and poor Fulci was not left with much to work with, in his post horror hay day ending in 1982 with New York Ripper things would sadly go down hill for Fulci films. There were shining moments in stuff like Manhattan Baby, Murder Rock or Aenigma but nothing ever came close to his ’79 – ’82 reign as The Godfather of Gore. Among his late 80s fare, Sodoma’s Ghost was probably the worst of the lot.
Willy the Nazi
The movie had a good premise, it opens with a night of debauchery during WWII in a French Villa as a bunch of Nazi’s have a drug induced alcohol-fueled orgy with some prostitutes. Coke is snorted, champagne is licked off bodies, one girl is ridden around like a horse and Willy the Nazi is getting it all on film (that is actually his characters credited name in the film). Then the Allies drop a bomb on said villa and the good times come to an end.
Cut to present day and 6 friends (3 guys and 3 girls) are on their way to Paris when they decide to take a short cut and low and behold they end up at the Villa. Low on gas and with night coming and their car headlights not working, they decide to see if anyone is home. When no one answers the door, they find a key and let themselves in.
The Villa is elaborately furnished and fully stocked with food, some is even cooking on a stove. When no one comes home they decide to spend the night and head back out the next day. That night Willy the Nazi appears in one the girl’s rooms and seduces her. Was it all a dream? The way this movie is turns out, more like a nightmare.
The next day the rambunctious group head back out and try to find their way to Paris. Not really knowing where they are, they make a wrong turn and drive around in circles, despite needing gas and driving in the car for what seemed like maybe two minutes they find themselves back at the Villa and it is getting dark. Did they really drive around in a big circle or did the house lure them back? Into the Villa they go and make themselves at home once again.
Drunk horny guy
This time they find themselves trapped. The Villa won’t let them leave. None of the windows or doors will open. So one of the guys decides to hit the wine cellar and get drunk, after much inane dialogue he stumbles up to bed to find a group of Nazi’s playing cards at a table. Willy the Nazi challenges him to a game of High Card Russian Roulette where if he wins he can have the prostitute in the mirror (don’t ask, it makes about as much sense as anything else happening in this film). Drunk horny, this guy is up for the challenge, however in this game instead of putting the gun up to your head and pulling the trigger, they play the Nazi way where you have to pull the trigger three times. In what is meant to be a tense scene in the film really draws out with no pay off because you know the effects budget isn’t going to allow for someone blowing their brains out. So anyway drunk horny guy wins, goes off to find the girl, finds her, grabs her tits, they deteriorate and decompose in his hands, he freaks, splits runs into one of his buddies who he imagines is a Nazi and tries to strangle him, trips falls down the stairs and smacks his head and dies.
Might have been better if he just blew his brains out to begin with. For whatever reason, they drag drunk horny guy’s body into the parlor and it begins to rapidly decompose in one of the only really Fulci like effect scenes in the movie.
Some more boring supernatural shit happens which nobody seems to be all too alarmed about until they find a can of film which they feel some how must hold the key to what is happening to them. Lo and behold in another Fulci ending that makes zero sense, the film wraps up with everybody back to normal waking up in a field with a destroyed villa and they hop in their car and head on their way. Sorry to spoil the ending for you, but I actually did you a favor so you don’t have to suffer through this the way I did.
Fulci, Fulci, Fulci.
So what went wrong here? The movie has a great premise, Nazi sleaze haunting a villa that traps 6 people as they are attacked and hunted by Nazi ghosts. Even the movie poster would lead us to believe this. Plus, it’s directed by Lucio Fulci and you may have one of the most amazing films ever. Instead what we got was one of Fulci’s worst movies, and it suffers from one of the biggest sins of any movie, it is boring.
Some movies like Don’t Go Near The Park are completely inept and shitty beyond redemption, so stupid you almost can’t wait to see what idiocy happens next. With Sodoma’s Ghost, there is no fault in the film direction or cinematography, it’s the acting that is completely uninteresting. While there are six characters, there might as well have only been two, because they all look and act the same. I can only tell them apart by their acid washed jean jackets. The pointless dialogue and dubbing also sadly kills this movie, it is either to excitable when it should be mellow or too static when it should be enthralling. Nothing really happens to move the story along, it is too much of everyone exploring the house and getting on each other’s nerves as much as mine.
The Nazi ghosts have no look to them to make then look supernatural, the decomposing body is the only remembrance we have that this was directed by the maestro. But with probably zero budget for anything, he tried to do what he could. It seems in this movie Fulci traded in the gore for boobs, as there are more tits in this one film then all his other films combined.
Unfortunately one of this month’s worst movie comes from one of horror’s greatest directors, simply on the merit that is dull and uninteresting despite having Nazi debauchery, nudity, a decomposing corpse and lesbian overtones. Go figure.
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