The 70’s were a hedonistic time and self-indulgent time. There were more films about Satanism during the entire decade than there were about GOD, just an interesting fact. This isn’t an American phenomenon either, across the pond in Europe and Spain; they were doing their own dirty work. One of the best was ‘A Candle for the Devil”.
Two sisters, Veronica and Marta, who run a small Spanish Inn, and are slowly going mad! Religion and sexual frustration are two of the biggest breaking points for any person and this film shows us why. Veronica deals with her needs by sleeping with a younger man, though she remains dressed during these shenanigans, but Marta has a different and more interesting method. Marta likes to watch young men naked then punishing herself to a sexual climax by running through the thorn bushes, each laceration pushing her forwards sexual climax. I know, I’m liking that too.
Anyways, back to our story. A young girl comes to town with some girlfriends and they flaunt their sleazetastic selves around the Inn like mad, including topless sunbathing on the roof. Well, Marta, who is uptight anyway, isn’t having any of that. She heads up to drag the girl down if necessary, except during the confrontation the girl falls through one of the religious themed windows and dies. Psycho Marta takes it as a sign and decides to rid the town of all immoral visitors. Soon, Laura (Judy Geeson), sister of the dead girl, May (Loreta Tovar), arrives to find her sister missing and decides to investigate, not just her sisters disappearance, but the strange meat being served for dinner…
A Candle for the Devil was directed by Eugenio Martín, the man who brought us "Horror Express". I would have liked to see him do more horror since he was a skilled director, but you can’t always get what you want. One thing we do get is plenty of 70’s style madness. This film touches on most of the popular early 70’s plot points including religious psychosis, cannibalism, and loose sexuality. Yep, they just don’t make them like they used to.
This is a deranged kind of film, more Psycho than creature feature obviously, but a serious addition to any fright library. “A Candle for the Devil” is also known as “It Happened at Nightmare Inn” No matter the title, you should find this motel of the macabre. Check in and check it out.
You can catch this rarity playing on The American Horrors Network: