Illicit Obsession

Italian gore legend Lucio Fulci (City of the Living Dead & Zombie among other cult delights) goes outside his comfort zone for The Devil’s Honey with fantastic results. Going the full Jess Franco near the tail end of his career, Fulci crafts a kinky and sexually charged shocker that burns up the screen.

The sleazy exploitation flick sees a young woman hunt down the surgeon who accidentally killed her lover during surgery. If you can get past its crazy sex antics, The Devil’s Honey is Fulci’s most fully realized thriller. Both potent and crude, its turbulent relationships capture a strangely exhilarating cinematic dynamic spooling out of control.

If you can get past its crazy sex antics, The Devil’s Honey is Fulci’s most fully realized thriller

The Devil’s Honey stars a European cast featuring Brett Halsey (Demonia), Corinne Cléry (The Story Of O), Bernard Seray, and Blanca Marsillach (Flesh+Blood). Clocking in at only 82 minutes, Fulci delivers a taut erotic masterpiece abut damaging relationships with unchecked abandon. The passionate tale is a wild and unpredictable ride, moving from cheesy erotic undertones into bizarre revenge territory that turns obsession on its head.

Johnny (Stefano Madia) is a bad boy musician in a passionate but twisted relationship with the beautiful Jessica (Blanca Marsillach). She knows he’s bad for her. Horribly treated by Johnny, Jessica has fallen for the saxophone player thanks to his insatiable and controlling sexual demands. Including one of the most unforgettable opening scenes in exploitation cinema as she gets off to his… saxophone playing. In this case a picture is definitely worth more than a thousands words so I’ll leave that up to your imagination until you catch The Devil’s Honey.

Their crazy and often abusive sex romps come to a crashing halt when Johnny accidentally hits his head, ultimately landing in Dr. Simpson’s (Brett Halsey) surgery room. Deeply upset and distracted by his wife threatening divorce right before surgery, Dr. Simpson’s talented musician patient dies on the operating table. The doctor had been seeing prostitutes on the side, which his wife had just discovered.

Now terribly distraught losing Johnny, an unhinged Jessica goes after the man she blames for her lover’s death. Jessica begins tormenting Dr. Simpson, reserving the real torture for his capture. What develops is one of the most bizarre hostage situations ever seen as Dr. Simpson confronts his own problems.

Lacing the storytelling with shock and awe, Lucio Fulci somehow assembles one of his most coherent and warped films. The final act is inspired madness, a fearless director allowing the plot and action develop in the most dangerous manner possible. Mostly known for his reliance on blood and gore, Fulci demonstrates his skills as a master filmmaker in one of his last major movies. The Devil’s Honey is a top-rate erotic thriller with excellent character depth built upon intense psycho-sexual themes.

Video

Making its worldwide UHD debut, Severin gives the 1986 Italian production a new 4K scan from the original camera negative with satisfactory HDR. The improvement over Severin’s earlier Blu-ray transfer from 2017 is quite evident with tighter color saturation and better gamma control, more in line with the timing exhibited by 88 Films’ Blu-ray from a few years ago.

There’s stronger grain reproduction for its gritty textures, finer detail in close-ups and mildly enhanced definition, though allowances should often be made for the rugged film stock Fulci and his cinematographer use in The Devil’s Honey.

The main feature runs 82 minutes on a dual-layer UHD, encoded in decent HEVC with no serious problems. Film elements are consistently solid in good working order, if a few signs of wear and age creep into the 2160p video at times. A thin blue line pops up briefly around the 32-minute mark. Bouts of gritty softness appear in the cinematography.

Saturation is especially prominent for the splashes of red with somewhat deep black levels. I probably would have tweaked the contrast a touch, there are a handful of overly bright scenes with lightened color rendition.

The Devil’s Honey probably isn’t the first Fulci flick that comes to mind for 4K potential but Severin has given the lurid Euroshocker a respectable 4K transfer. The HDR isn’t amazing but the steady picture quality and faithful 1.85:1 presentation pulls out a tick more definition from the negative.

Audio

Mono English and Italian soundtracks are offered in serviceable 2.0 DTS-HD MA choices. Maybe a touch of age creeps into the recording but its score and sound design acquit themselves well in full quality.

The English dub is slightly less impressive in overall sound, though dialogue is clean and clear in both options. There’s nice, punchy imaging for the slow, smoky Jazz music played by Johnny’s saxophone. Like most Italian productions of its era, the soundtracks are both dubbed in post but this time the Italian version “feels” more correct.

Optional English SDH subtitles for the English audio and properly-translated English subtitles for the Italian audio are featured. Both play in a white font.

Extras

Severin puts out a limited two-disc UHD and BD release of the Fulci classic with an exclusive slipcover available at their webstore. Besides the obvious A/V upgrade over their earlier 2017 BD, they’ve added an entirely new interview with star Blanca Marsillach and dug up an archival audio interview given by Fulci himself. The rest are pulled from their earlier disc. There’s little point in keeping Severin’s original BD if you buy this new 4K UHD release.

The Blu-ray is coded for Region A and comes with a reversible cover. The only special feature actually on the UHD is the trailer and everything else remains on the BD.

The Devil’s Honey Trailer (02:46 in HD)

Sax, Lies and Videotape (14:36 in HD) – Interview With Actress Blanca Marsillach

Archival Audio Interview With Director Lucio Fulci By Michele Romagnoli (06:28 in HD with English subtitles)

The Devil’s Halsey (17:26 in HD) – Interview With Actor Brett Halsey

Wild Flower (12:13 in HD) – Interview With Actress Corinne Cléry

Producing Honey (13:22 in HD) – Interview With Producer Vincenzo Salviani

The Devil’s Sax (09:51 in HD) – Interview With Composer Claudio Natili

Stephen Thrower On THE DEVIL’S HONEY: Video Essay (21:43 in HD) – The author Of Beyond Terror: The Films Of Lucio Fulci gives a lucid count of the director’s career at this point in his life.

Fulci’s Honey (16:55 in HD) – Audio Essay By Troy Howarth, Author Of Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci And His Films

Alternate Opening (02:33 in HD)

Full disclosure: This UHD was provided by the label for review. This has not materially affected DoBlu’s editorial process. For information on how we handle all review material, please visit DoBlu’s about us page.

The Devil's Honey
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
5

Movie

Lucio Fulci does his best Jess Franco impersonation with electrifying results in this twisted and lurid psychosexual thriller

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4.5 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution, uncompressed 4K screen shots ripped directly from the UHD:

 


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