Devil’s work…

devils men bluI have the distinct, and very strange feeling, that I’m being trolled by a boutique label- the fine folks at Indicator have announced that in February next year they are releasing on Blu-ray disc The Devil’s Men, a film which regular readers here (or anyone clicking the link in the title) may recall I saw last month and deemed it the worst film featuring Peter Cushing that I have ever had the misfortune to see. When I saw this announcement in my inbox I did such a double-take, I couldn’t believe my eyes: its is such a strange world sometimes.

As usual, Indicator is being generous with attention and quality- a 2K remaster from the original negative, two versions of the film (the ‘uncut’ version I watched and the edited-down American cut carrying the alternate Land of the Minotaur title) and plenty of extras including a commentary track and an archival interview/lecture with Peter Cushing at the National Film Theatre in 1973. Now, their release a few months ago of another horror film, Corruption featuring Cushing  compelled me into a blind-buy because it had an audio recording of a Cushing lecture from 1986 at the NFT (shamefully, I haven’t heard it yet- damn all these distracting noir). Certainly compared to The Devil’s MenCorruption is a far better film no matter Cushing’s own distaste for it, so was a worthy blind-buy and a lovely package with rigid slipbox and substantial softcover book with essays etc. but the idea that Indicator deem The Devil’s Men even worthy of any release at all, never mind one of their bells-and-whistles numbers…

As a Cushing fan, these archival audio pieces are tremendously tempting to me for obvious reasons. the actor unfortunately passed away before any enterprising laserdisc or DVD producer could enlist him into commentaries for some of his films, so any material of him discussing his work at length is priceless. But this time, its like Indicator are just daring me. The Devil’s Men is a horrible film, clumsily directed and poorly scripted, bizarrely carrying a Brian Eno score and also starring fellow horror-movie legend Donald Pleasance. I can read Indicator’s announcement imagining them stifling a guffaw as they write “this offbeat horror film… an eccentric, bloody cult shocker” as if the words ‘offbeat’ and ‘eccentric’ are euphemisms for ‘shite’ and ‘diabolical.’ Ha ha, its like they watched a different movie or are just testing me with some ghastly jest: they know, they KNOW that I’ve credit enough at their shop from past purchases to cash it in and get this film for ‘free’ but really, I’ve got more self-respect than that, haven’t I? Extraordinary move, Indicator- you are the Devil’s Men indeed.

Clearly the decent thing to do if ever someone from Indicator reads this is to respond by sending me a copy gratis..

4 thoughts on “Devil’s work…

  1. Matthew McKinnon

    The Eno score is a temptation for me, especially from that epochal early period. I’m sure there’s a few people out there who’d shell out for this for the same reason.

    There are quite a few ‘interesting’-but-not-what-you’d-actually-call-‘good’ releases in Indicator’s upcoming slate. Ones I might pick up in a sale but am not rushing to part with £18 for.

    1. That Eno score is probably partly why Indicator deemed this film worthy of release in one of their editions; they likely figured the hardcore Eno fans would go for it if only for completists/curiosities sake. It doesn’t sound like Eno- if anything, because of its 1970s keyboards it actually sounds much like early Vangelis soundtrack work, which has no doubt some appeal to those of us who listened to electronica of that era, that analogue synth vibe. But that’s not enough to warrant buying a film as bad as this at full price.

      Its a pity that Indicator couldn’t have a budget line for films of limited appeal/quality (I know I shouldn’t add ‘quality’ to that, as a films value is always in the eye of the beholder and any film can have its fans). I suppose that remastering and duplication costs being what they are, a Blu-ray release costs the same no matter how bad or minor the film is, so they all cost the same when released, but £16 (at Indicator’s online shop) is certainly too rich for me, even as a Cushing fan. Just as well I saw it beforehand as might have ordered it had it been a blind buy.

  2. You know, when I saw your review the other day, I assumed it was an Indicator title — probably from one of their Hammer box sets — though I didn’t recognise it (not that I know what Indicator have released off by heart, but I’ve read all their announcements down the years). Something made me realise it wasn’t, and I also gathered your disdain for the film (unfortunately I didn’t have time right then to read the full review, but the opening line gives it away!)

    All of which is setup to explain why I too was amused when I saw Indicator announce it the other day. I’m awfully tempted to buy it, just to see for myself. Maybe it’ll keep ’til one of their sales, though. (Especially as, with only a couple of exceptions, nearly everything I’ve bought from them at full whack has still been in stock come sale time.)

    1. Definitely a sale purchase mate, its not worth the full price, certainly not for curiosity’s sake. Mind, I’m sure you’ve more than enough in the to-watch pile to tide you over until the next Indicator sale.

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