Home » ‘The Devil’s Honey’ is a Deranged, Steamy Classic [4K Ultra HD Review]

‘The Devil’s Honey’ is a Deranged, Steamy Classic [4K Ultra HD Review]

To start, I am a massive fan of sexually-charged thrillers. Admittedly maybe a little bit too much. Anyone who catches a glimpse of my TV screen at any given time, or sees what is on my watchlist, might get the wrong impression. It might sound fetishistic, but the subject matter, more specifically the odd combination of intimacy and violence, has always drawn me into this genre. In real life, that combination is terribly dark and uncomfortable. But in the movies, the glossy look and vibrant energy is endlessly entertaining. No matter how nonsensical or sleazy, I’m always at least entertained. Which is why I was so excited to get my hands on a movie that I’ve been circling for years, Lucio Fulci’s The Devil’s Honey, thanks to the good folks over at Severin Films… 

Lucio Fulci, the great Italian filmmaker, is one of the most eclectic directors in recent memory. Fulci has a wide-ranging filmography that crosses all sorts of different genres. What makes Fulci great, in my opinion, is that no story, no genre, no subject matter was either above or beneath him. Fulci was willing to try anything and everything, while maintaining a flair to his work that made him so unique. Fulci’s work, for the most part, is bizarre and hard to understand, violent, over-the-top, and hilariously dubbed.

What I love most about Fulci isn’t just that he couldn’t care less about the audio in his films, but it’s that he seemingly treated filmmaking like a 9-5 job. From the late ’50s all the way through the early ’90s, Fulci was pumping out work on a yearly basis. In the time it took Stanley Kubrick to make eight movies, Fulci made forty-eight. Not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, but still notable considering the quality Fulci maintained throughout that era. Fulci is known mostly for his work in the horror genre, specifically Giallo, with Don’t Torture a Duckling and Lizard in a Woman’s Skin being my favorites. But Fulci has explored so many genres and has so much work that it would be impossible to shout out everything else. Quickly though, because I love them so much, I will shout out White Fang and The Beyond, two personal favorites of mine. Toward the end of his career, Fulci took a swing at the sleazy thriller genre, and the result was the most depraved of all of his work, The Devil’s Honey, which is really saying something…

The Devil’s Honey opens with one of the most graphic and utterly insane sequences maybe ever. Right off the rip, we are introduced to saxophonist Johnny, played by Stefano Madia, and his girlfriend, Jessica, played by Blanca Marsillach,  in a recording studio where Johnny is recording music. Now Johnny is well, err, very horned up to the point where he literally cannot focus on anything but sex. So even in front of the audio technicians in the booth, Johnny brings Jessica into the studio, and makes his advances on her very aggressively, eventually resulting in an extended sequence where Johnny is playing the saxophone, uh, well, directly into Jessica’s you know what. Of course, resulting in the technicians getting up and leaving the studio. Johnny and Jessica keep it steamy early and often. By this point, less than ten minutes into the movie, the audience knows they are in for a wild ride. We are then introduced to another main character, Dr. Simpson, played by Brett Halsey. Dr. Simpson is a married man, but frequents the company of prostitutes. His marriage is in shambles. The Devil’s Honey does an interesting thing where the first time the audience is introduced to characters, they are in the lead up to, or in the midst of coitus. After Johnny forces Jessica to fondle him during a motorcycle ride, mid-ride, mind you, Johnny then crashes his motorcycle while screwing around afterwards, hitting his head, and suffering a deadly concussion. When Johnny passes out some time after his brain gives way, Jessica rushes him to the hospital, where Dr. Simpson attempts to save Johnny by way of emergency brain surgery, but ultimately fails, leaving Jessica shattered into a million pieces by Johnny’s death…

The rest of The Devil’s Honey plays out like a revenge flick, with Jessica seeking revenge for Johnny’s death. Jessica blames Dr. Simpson for his demise. Jessica is beyond hysterical at this point, and kidnaps Dr. Simpson. Seems like a setup leading to the typical conclusion for standard revenge flicks, but The Devil’s Honey flips that on its head and… well… I shouldn’t say. The Devil’s Honey flips the standard revenge flick on its head. The final act is a fever dream of sadistic and sexually charged craziness to go with overwhelming grief and self-realization. Jessica, as well as Dr. Simpson, in a sick and twisted way, in a sick and twisted scenario, eventually make peace with their circumstances, with the help of each other. Somehow, even though the ending is demented in its own special way, it is surprisingly, can’t believe I’m saying this, uplifting. The graphic nature of the movie is actually jaw-dropping, and by the end I was astonished at how transfixed I was throughout the runtime, even though it was so deranged front to back…

Endlessly strange movies like The Devil’s Honey will always have a certain level of cult status. Especially when they are entertaining and have the horniness to go with the violence to boot. Movies with a cult following usually are the ones that do best in the physical media market. The Devil’s Honey, thanks to the good folks over at Severin, now has a new 4K Ultra HD print, and it is stunning to look at. Fulci movies look good in any format, but the vibrant, sleek, and glossy look of The Devil’s Honey oozes through the screen in this new 4K print. The dubbing is the dubbing, it looks and sounds ridiculous when the characters talk, but that is part of the charm of these older genre movies. Fulci was a filmmaker who cared about the look and the visual storytelling, and not as much so when recording audio while filming. At least the dubbing is consistent, albeit ridiculous. I love it, but I’m sure most will struggle with it. The score of the movie, done by Claudio Natili, is enchanting, and the most memorable aspect of the film, even with all the sex and violence. That saxophone tune that plays throughout is synonymous with the story to me now, and melds so perfectly with the story… 

Speaking of this 4K Ultra HD print, not only is the original negative restored and remastered in this format, but there are also plenty of fun special features included as well. After exploring them all, I found the interviews with the stars of the movie, including Blanca Marsillach (Jessica), Brett Halsey (Dr. Simpson), and Corinne Clery (Carol Simpson) as well as the producer and composer of the film to be fascinating, but I especially loved the Fulci-specific stuff on there. The old interview with Fulci was fantastic, but I also loved the audio essays from the Fulci enthusiasts Troy Howarth and Stephen Thrower. And of course, there is absolutely nothing better on god’s green earth than old school movie trailers, especially those that let it fly with nudity and violence in the trailer itself…

Did You Know? Wicked Horror TV Has Classic and Independent Horror Films Available to Stream for Free!

All the credit to the folks over at Severin Films. To keep obscure movies like The Devil’s Honey in circulation with not only restored and remastered prints of the movies themselves, but to also keep the spirit of the special features magic alive with a plethora of additional material for fans of the film to dive into. As someone who grew up on DVD commentaries and special features, it is great to have the ability to dive deeper into the making of the film from the cast and crew themselves, as well as movie historians, while also being able to watch superior prints of the films themselves. Especially in the case of films like The Devil’s Honey that would be harder to come by, even on streamers. Overall, The Devil’s Honey is a graphic and insane, totally unhinged experience. The 4K Ultra HD (Blu-ray disc included as well) is a fantastic collectible for genre fans, and I will find myself frequently rewatching, and showing to friends and family. Well, on second thought, probably not my family…

Wicked Horror Rating: 6.5/10

From Severin Films, the limited-edition 4K Ultra HD release of The Devil’s Honey is available to purchase now.

Link to purchase here!

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