Every time I read people on CHUD waxing nostalgic for films that got them started on the path to movie love, I feel a little out of place. Sure, I saw and loved many of the same movies everybody did – as a child of the 70s/80s we all grew up on the same blockbusters and kids films*, but for me the movies that were really influential, that really changed the path of my life, were the fucked up ones that I probably shouldn’t have seen when I was between the ages of 9 and 13. One of them was Ken Russell’s The Devils, a Spanish Inquisition film that’s as perverted as it is strange and beautiful. Oliver Reed, Vanessa Redgrave and a veritable army of slutty nuns, plague victims and medieval wackos star in this film, which has been completely absent from DVD thus far. It’s weird how many crappy films can make the cut – two or three times! – while something as sublime as The Devils languishes in obscurity. And Ken Russell’s a pretty well known director! This isn’t just your run of the mill nunsploitation film.
Now Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere is reporting that The Devils will get a DVD release this May, and it’ll be the 111 minute original cut, not the 107 minute version that was released theatrically in the US in 1971 (I haven’t seen the movie since I rented it on VHS at Video Van in Kew
Gardens, Queens and then dubbed myself a copy, so I don’t know which
version was on that tape).
The Devils is a cult movie whose time has come. Let’s hope that Wells’ sources are correct on this one.
*although here’s one I never hear talked about: I think it was a Disney movie, and it was about a flying saucer that crash lands on Earth and the alien family on board tries to live among us. I have never come across this movie again. Any help? I don’t even know the name.
UPDATE: It’s the Burl Ives classic Earthbound.