The Netflix Connection #2: THE BLACK ROOM
Aroused by their new surroundings, the couple’s ambitions for romance are stymied by either bad timing - like, the furnace inspector’s appearance - or inconvenient interruptions - like, Jennifer’s younger sister, Karen (Augie Duke), who’s not the biggest fan of Paul and who happens to be visiting them, just earlier then expected. Further complicating things is the release of the imprisoned demon who then possesses Paul. I know! All Paul and Jennifer wanna do is get laid! WTF!
Still, as Dawn is kissed by and fondled by an invisible assailant while she's sleeps, and some of the special effects were impressively and believably done, like when her lips are kissed and her nipples are played with. Dawn clearly responds favorably, as if she were giving in to an erotic dream of her own invention. As a fan of some sexploitation films and horror films that have nudity in them (sometimes because they have nudity in them, like director Jean Rollins’ entire oeuvre), this sexual aspect of the prologue wasn’t a problem with me. But it took me a while to accept that the demon was in both rooms at the same time, which seemed inconsistent with Miss Black’s argument with the demon. So, there was momentary confusion on my part.
For instance, I liked tall, good-looking Lukas Hassel’s performance as Paul, especially when he’s inhabited by the demon, well, more accurately, an incubus, and he starts looking at all the women around him as things to be played with and interacted with sexually. Speaking of which, I actually learned an incubus is a male version of a succubus (I know, I’m slow!), and by definition, both are demons that have sexual intercourse with sleeping members of the opposite sex; although in this case, our incubus is horny 24/7), There’s also a nice moment when the incubus admires himself (Paul) appreciatively in a cool wall mirror, as he sees the body he’s inhabiting for the first time.
The whole scene in the restaurant offers some more outrageous moments and also gets to reference, in spirit, one of Kanefsky’s other credits, CLICK, a soft-core cable series based on the erotic Milo Manara comics.
Like, Karen in her first scene. They establish that there’s no love lost between Paul and Karen, but when Karen gets there, obviously made up (for extreme comic effect, I’m assuming) as a Goth girl, she seems so antagonistic towards Paul, she just comes across as a bitch, so I’m wondering why she was even invited to the house. Although, once we get through the first confrontational scene, I found her character’s scenes more tolerable. So, I’m chalking that up to the writing, not Augie Duke’s performance, who I found interesting. It was just an off-putting introduction to Karen.
Also, I wondered why the incubus felt compelled to reveal this whole origin story in the first place with Jennifer and Karen. Part of me thinks he was coming on to Karen because of her "Goth-y knowledge" of the occult and so, was almost bragging about his origins to her as a way to impress and seduce her..? I think the way the conversation begins at the table, there’s some evidence of the writer/director’s intention. And I think that idea works, but then it wasn’t really developed and it just comes across as exposition. And if that wasn’t the idea, then it really just comes across as expostiion.
Re: special effects make-up, there’s also a scene where we get to see burn make-up and that looks pretty good, too. Although, I’ll be honest, part of me also felt the degree of the disfigurement also seemed too tame, but that’s probably just me being a pain-in-the-ass. Although, I also thought we shouldn’t have seen the victim’s long hair, as if the fire only affected her face. True, we see the results of the accident two years later, still... Howvere, the way the victim dresses all enshrouded in black adds a nice mysterious touch.
Finally, occasional plot inconsistencies. For instance, if there’s only one incubus, how was he in two rooms simultaneously in the opening prologue?
Most viewers probably won’t be having second helpings of the film like I did, and when I first watched this film, I wasn’t as forgiving over-all. So if I were to rate this film in some way, I’d give it a straight up 50/50, a sadly wishy-washy rating on my part.