The moon hung low in the sky like a leper’s testicle: bloated and swollen, with a hint of green. Steel clouds occasionally obscured its pockmarked surface, casting shadows across the cobbles before me. I had arrived in Cairo the previous morning, choosing to spend my first 36 hours in the company of a cadre of acrobatic dwarfs, visiting the city as part of a world tour or some such. Their skills on the trapeze are only eclipsed by their skills in the bedroom, I assure you.
My slippered feet whisked me forward. A near invisible circle of Sudanese assassins shadowed me, allowing me to walk without fear from the cut-purses and murderers that the Khan el-Khalili is so famous for. I had come to this world famous market in search of a rare treasure that had so far eluded my grasp. Dark whispers in the deepest corners of the world had lead me in this direction, but it wasn’t until a recent scrying ceremony, performed by a Důr shaman using elk bones thrust into an earthen berm and then heated to bursting, that I knew exactly where I would find the object I had coveted for so long.
Using a wooden fetish provided by the shaman, I made my way through the twists and turns of the bazaar. A strangled cry from the darkened aisle to my right informed me that one of my guards had happened upon a road agent. As per my instructions, his heart and liver would be removed and incinerated in a glass brazier fueled by plump Sago worms, thus ensuring that the would-be murderer’s entire lineage will die in horrible pain and agony.
As the fetish in my hand grew colder and colder, I knew I was at last arriving at my destination. A final turn, and I knew I was there indeed. Before me stood a wooden stall, lashed together using camel sinew and intestines. It looked as if it would collapse at any moment. A bewildering sign reading “Worm Rape” in hieroglyphs hung out front. The proprietor stood huddled in the shadows, wearing filthy rags. He reeked of dung smoke and as he bobbed his head and smiled, I could smell his breath from 10 paces. The smell was a combination of curry and another smell that made me think that this man had not too recently been making out with a hobo’s ass.
His collection of wares was meager, I paid them no mind. He immediately sensed my reason for being there, as he turned and brought up a brass box from behind his counter. The box, fashioned in the Dolei tribesman way, was entirely covered in hammered brass which was then punctured with an awl in a deliberate fashion. The wrong person opening this box would very quickly find themselves without hands and tongue. He opened the box and offered its contents to me. I dropped a bag of gold coins on the counter and snatched up the object, moments before the entire structure collapsed onto the screaming merchant due to the weight of the gold. In my shaking hands I finally beheld…
Jess Franco’s Les Demons, made in 1972, gives us an epic tale of masturbatory nuns and the randy Inquisition. If you aren’t completely engorged within the first 15 minutes, have your pulse checked. Our movie opens with the Inquisition performing their godly duties, namely the exposing of a witch. And expose they do! Breasts are quickly bared as boiling water is poured on the old witch being put to the question. The water doesn’t evaporate, and she looks haggard enough, and possibly has a wart somewhere on her body, so a witch she is!
In short order, a pyre is erected and the witch is burned alive. Stupidly they don’t shove a rag into her mouth, and she uses what little time she has before going to meet her master to curse everyone present. She claims her daughters will avenge her, by opening their thighs no doubt, which Franco wastes no time in getting to. The noble Lady DeWinter is in attendance, along with the head Inquisitor Jeffries and his brother-in-arms Renfield; all fall under the curse. Lady DeWinter, fearing reprisal from said daughters, talks Jeffries into scouring the countryside for these saucy wenches.
Their search brings them to a convent, where we find the Mother Superior at odds with her feelings. Seems she happened upon the flaming hot Sister Kathleen, who was engaged in naked rubbing with herself, which caused the normally unflappable Mother Superior to immediately soak 3 sets of habits. Not only this, but Kathleen also has trouble paying attention during Bible class. Her penchant for self exploration coupled with her day dreaming surely means, yep, you guessed it... she’s a witch!
Kathleen and her chaste Sister Margaret are brought before Lady DeWinter, who performs the tried and true test of whether a nun is a bride of Christ or a bride of Satan: The Broken Hymen Exam. The Lady performs it herself, and a couple of finger jabs later we have our witch! Kathleen is whisked away by the Inquisitor Renfield, who is in service to Lady DeWinter in more ways than one.
Kathleen is tied to an x-shaped wooden flogging apparatus and is being flogged by various Inquisition members, who obviously have nothing against women. Renfield watches, growing more and more horny by the second. Lady DeWinter comes down to spy on the proceedings, wearing a zang-worthy see-through nightgown. Renfield runs into her as he’s leaving, and they both decide to work off the built-up randy-ness by playing a little game of “I’m A Saucy Witch, Please Rodger Me Mr. Inquisition Guy”.
In a surprisingly gentle turn for an Inquisitor, Renfield falls in love with Kathleen (helped in no small way both by Kathleen’s free-range bush and her seemingly endless ability to take whip lashes). He orders two of the guards to set her free.
Meanwhile, it seems that their mother’s curse covers more than just Kathleen, for that very night as Margaret is making ready for evening prayers, Satan Himself pops into the room, dressed as an British fop, as is his wont. He drills Margaret all night long, breaking her over like a shotgun and riding bareback. Filled with lust, and Satan’s Own Seed™, Margaret now knows the joys of being penetrated by a god and isn’t going to settle for less in the future.
Upon finding Kathleen missing, the Lady DeWinter has both guards killed. (They fall silently to their deaths, revealing nothing of Renfield’s instructions. Where does one buy awesome help like this, someone tell me please?!) The Lady is pissed, ordering an immediate search for Kathleen. We flash back to Margaret at the convent. She tells the Mother Superior “I enjoy fondling my body!” and we nod in encouragement. She undresses an awe-struck Mother Superior and begins sexing her up. Allowing it to go on way longer than she should, Mother Superior jumps up and flees, running out onto a balcony, whereupon she throws herself over the side, committing suicide because of her lesbonic tendencies. For shame!
Meanwhile, Lady DeWinter learns of Renfield’s treason, and gives him one last chance: find Kathleen. Indeed he does, but instead of returning Kathleen to the Lady and Jeffries’ clutches, he professes his love and asks Kathleen to run away to Holland with him. Before any of that can happen, however, they are both captured. Finally, Lord Inquisitor Jeffries' true depravity is revealed when he makes a deal with Kathleen: become his sex slave and he’ll go easy on Renfield.
Margaret somehow infiltrates the DeWinter household, posing as a well-to-do princesses. The Lady DeWinter finally gives in to her lesbian feelings, and reveals that she’s been training hard by showing us some Olympic-level muff diving. As everyone knows, vaginas are like fingerprints, and very quickly the Lady realizes Margaret’s true identity. Alas, it is too late, for the curse takes effect and the beautiful Lady DeWinter is reduced to a mere skeleton, albeit one with blond hair.
Margaret frees Renfield and Kathleen, and they flee. They aren’t gone long before Margaret kisses Renfield, killing him! Kathleen realizes that Margaret really is a witch, and has her arrested. Margaret is burned at the stake, but asks Lord Jeffries for one final wish: a kiss from his Lordship. Jeffries can’t resist anything with breasts (including fellow Inquisitors at the annual bacchanal), so he grants it. One kiss later and Jeffries is a skeleton. The curse is complete!
I must say, I absolutely loved this gem of a movie. It had everything. Satan sexing a nun doggy-style, naked nuns being put to the question, lesbian Mother Superiors who can’t control their urges, and copious shots of French bush. Speaking of things French, the extended print I have of this movie isn’t completely dubbed, which made for some amusing scenes. Most of the time the voiceover work was fine, but every once in a while, particularly when someone in the film was angry, the dubbing would disappear and the movie would lapse back into its native French. I realize it was due to this being the uncut version, but it made for some hilarity throughout.
It cannot be overstated how fantastic the sets were in this film, either. French castle architecture was in full effect, with grand vistas around every corner, long stairways, curved arches, and just an overall sense of oppulance. The cinematography was spot on, and I often felt that scenes were framed perfectly, and/or decorated with a critical eye. The music, however, was often out of place I felt. Not that the music was bad, necessarily, but it just often didn’t fit the mood. A long, slow funeral dirge would have been more appropriate, perhaps coupled with carnival music for the sex scenes.
In the end, this movie passes all the requirements for a good nunsploitation movie. There’s plenty of ‘sploitin’ and lots of Inquisition, which I totally didn’t expect. Jess Franco knows his audience, that’s for sure, and Les Demons proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. If I could fault it for anything, I would have to say more sex scenes would have been welcome. In fact, a hour long shot of the two sister nuns masturbating, following by a hour long three-way with Lady DeWinter, and we’d have had ourselves an epic movie. As it stands, I give Les Demons 2.5 Thumbs Up.