Halloween month continues at Balladeer’s Blog!
CROSS OF THE SEVEN JEWELS (1987) – Where has this film been all my life? I want to have this movie’s children and I’m a guy!
Cross of the Seven Jewels is easily the worst and weirdest werewolf movie I’ve ever seen. Forget The Werewolf of Woodstock, forget Face of the Screaming Werewolf, forget Werewolf vs the Yeti and all of Paul Naschy’s other lycanthropy flicks. You can even forget the muddy-faced wolfman from Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein. Marco Antonio Andolfi starred in this film under the name Eddy Endolf plus wrote and directed it as well.
Andolfi was openly influenced by Paul Naschy’s werewolf films from Spain, but produced a cinematic mess that captured neither the eroticism of Naschy’s Waldemar Daninsky movies nor their goofy charm. Marco’s depiction of a werewolf is a bit … eccentric … and can only be described as “just a little something for the laaaadieeessss.”
When Andolfi transforms into a wolfman he somehow loses his clothes (which illogically reappear on his body when he reverts back to human form) and he sprouts long bushy hair in only a few places. The first place is around his face with his mouth left bare, making him look like he’s wearing a big hair-mask with eye-holes. The second place would be his hands and the third place is his crotch, which conveniently becomes bushy enough to block out the sight of his genitals. The rest of his well-built body is butt naked.
Remember An American Werewolf in London? Well, think of this as An Italian Werewolf in his Birthday Suit. Speaking for myself I would LAUGH if a werewolf who looked like that came after me, but I’m not a character in this film and they all take the lycanthrope seriously. The movie’s hero (also named Marco by the obviously vain Andolfi) has been cursed since he was a little boy. No full moon necessary, either, just nightly transformations into a were-beast as punishment for his mother abandoning the Satanic cult she belonged to. His mother gave him a necklace with a cross containing seven jewels – the title object – and this necklace prevents him from turning into a werewolf.
The movie starts with a sexy femme fatale posing as Marco’s cousin setting him up to have the priceless necklace stolen by thugs from the Camorra, the Mafia’s less-celebrated criminal counterpart. Without that necklace our hero begins turning into the very odd-looking werewolf I described earlier. Each night the wolfman is at large as Marco’s quest to recover the stolen necklace continues against the most ineptly- rendered gangsters ever committed to celluloid.
The Camorra chief behind it all looks like he’s wearing a Groucho Marx nose-and- glasses mask and his underlings are somehow even less threatening. But the crooks aren’t the only ones after the Cross of the Seven Jewels. A Satanic cult is also after the relic, a cult led by a very old Gordon Mitchell, famous from Spaghetti Westerns, Peplums and the occassional spy flick. This cult worships (or enslaves – it’s never quite clear) a hairy wookie-type monster called Aborym: the same monster that killed Marco’s mother long ago by inflating her like a balloon until she burst open. (No, seriously.)
Since Andolfi wrote all the dialogue it’s hilarious how all the hot female characters repeatedly tell Marco how good-looking he is. Happily all the dialogue is dubbed, so viewers get that Old School bad movie fun of the characters’ lip movements never coming close to matching up with what they’re saying. Various characters are always talking about gang wars, cocaine networks, police corruption, terrorism and human sacrifices but nobody DOES anything about them. It’s like little kids saying “wouldn’t if be cool if we” (insert activity here).
When Marco – in werewolf form – isn’t mauling people or throwing them against walls so hard their faces melt (don’t ask) he’s having sex, either in his human form or wolfman form. There’s a very ugly bedroom scene complete with foamy drool running down Marco’s werewolf face and onto his partner when he transforms in the middle of his performance. Ewww.
Throughout this mess our hero is helped by a prostitute named Maria and a psychic called Madame Amnesia (?), who likes to give readings dressed in her sexiest lingerie. All this plus kinky Satanic masses, psychedelic flash-backs and flash-forwards, a musical score by Paolo Rustichelli and memorable lines like “What’s that whore doing? Humping the phone?” and “End of sleeping period”, which absolutely NOBODY has ever said to ANYBODY to wake them up.
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