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Episode 21: Immoral Tales, Part 1: Jose Larraz

With this episode, Kat and Samm begin a new four-part series inspired by Cathal Tohill and Pete Tombs’ seminal film book, Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies 1956-1984. Here they explore a few key films from Jose Larraz, one of the directors explored in depth in Tohill and Tombs’ book. This Spanish-born artist, writer, and director made some of his most famous films in England, such as Vampyres (1974), which was explored in Daughters of Darkness episode two. Here the focus is on Symptoms (1974), The Coming of Sin (1978), and Black Candles (1982). Symptoms, which was recently uncovered after it was believed to be lost for decades, existing only in bootleg form, is Larraz’s masterpiece. The film follows a disturbed young woman (Angela Pleasance) spending a few days in her family’s country house with her friend Anne (Lorna Heilbron), but Anne soon begins to hear strange things happening at night.

The Coming of Sin similarly follows two women in a country estate: a wealthy amateur painter (Patricia Granada) and a young gypsy girl, Triana (Lidia Zuazo), temporarily staying with her. Triana suffers from a disturbing, recurring nightmare about being assaulted by a naked man on horseback (Rafael Machado), and soon he shows up at the estate just as she and the painter begin an affair… The fun and sleazy Black Candles utterly lacks the dreamy, surreal qualities of Symptoms or The Coming of Sin and was disavowed by the director himself. Also set an isolated house, this follows a group of Satanists who prey on a woman (Vanessa Hidalgo) investigating the mysterious death of her brother. Goat sex and orgies ensue.

Don’t forget to please order a copy of the next issue of Diabolique Magazine in print here.

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  1. Black Candles is unbelievable! I didn’t realize it was made by the person that made Vampyres. Looks like I’ll have to dig up Symptoms, too. I’m excited to hear the Franco episode.

  2. A great listen! I was unfamiliar with Larraz’s work until Mondo Macabro released Symptoms this past year. A poignant and beautiful film indeed. Rollin and Robbe-Grillet are two of my favorite directors, so this may be my favorite series yet.

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