Blood Orgy of The She-Devils (1973) DVD Review

bloodorgy1BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE-DEVILS (1973)

Dir – Ted V Mikels

UK release – 18th August 2014 from 88 Films

Starring- Lila Zaborin, Victor Izay, Leslie McRae, Tom Pace

88 Films are proving once again an interesting label, releasing some cult classics. This time with the brilliantly named film from ultra low budget schlock auteur, Ted V Mikels. Though sometimes a great title doesn’t necessarily guarantee a great film, even though there’s parts to admire in the films camp charm, there a lot of flaws that are typical of the directors output.

The plot so to speak is pretty slap shot, in the respect that it focuses on Mara (Lila Zaborin) leader of a coven of witches, who practices sacrificial rituals, conducts séances and also gets her female disciples to look into their past lives, mostly to see how their previous incarnation was tortured and burnt at the stake or stoned to death for being a witch. In this coven is Lorraine (Leslie McRae) who convinces her boyfriend to come along to one of the séances. Her boyfriend Mark (Tom Pace) is shocked by the ritual and its revelations and starts to tell his good friend Dr Helsford (Victor Izay) of Mara. But Helsford is convinced that Mara has more sinister and dangerous purposes behind her use of magic, and sets about to confront her.

Mikels is a director who has made a large body of films, and still making them to this day, usually with lurid titles such as THE CORPSE GRINDERS (1971), ASTRO ZOMBIES (1968), and THE DOLL SQUAD (1973).

bloodorgy2Though as mentioned before the titles can be good but the finished product can be a bit of a disappointment. BLOOD ORGY suffers from that, and like his other films, the overall picture, even at a brief 78 minutes, starts to drag and is padded out with, scenes of witches being tortured and burned at the stake or stoned to death, scenes that wouldn’t go amiss in an Andy Milligan film alongside scenes of conversations about the history of black magic and witchcraft between Dr Helsford, Mark and Lorraine, to almost make a quasi documentary on the subject.

We also get a sub plot of Mara being hired to assassinate an ambassador and then being double crossed by those she has been hired by, which is quickly resolved and really only serves as a function to show more black magic rituals. Admittedly you have to give credit to Mikels, who obviously saw the power and the money potential in creating a film involving black magic, and it’s no doubt he went out of his way to research the subject, and to try and capitalize on the success of other devil orientated suburbanite films, most notably ROSEMARY’S BABY (1968), though doesn’t have even half the budget of that film and this is where the picture no doubt suffers. Though I have to appreciate Mikels singular, no budget vision in parts and that I ended up enjoying certain scenes, such as the sacrificial rituals with Mara barking out orders, and then possessing her coven to perform a ritual dance and commit the sacrifice, usually of a male victim, these scenes carry kitsch, tacky and camp quality to them.

Zaborin herself as Mara, is entertainingly bad in her role. Fans of over the top scenery chewing performances will love her as the leader of the coven, as she relishes barking out the dialogue during the rituals and séances, in particular the séance involving her being possessed by American Indian spirits is a master class in bad acting.
There’s nothing to hate about BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE DEVILS, but then there is not much to say that it’s a classic film either. If you’re a fan of Mikel’s then you will love it, if not then you may find it tedious and boring.

bloodorgy3Overall I enjoyed certain elements of the film and liked its low budget stylings, but felt it suffered from a meandering lack of pace. Still you can’t argue that Mikels has managed to keep a singular low budget vision to this day, with his next film already listed on IMDB to be released next year entitled PARANORMAL EXTREMES: TEXT MESSAGES FROM THE DEAD. Great title I’m already hooked by it, but then I wonder how the film will be?

5/10

James Pemberton

About James Pemberton

James has been a horror fan ever since he was 6 when he used to watch hammer horror films on late night tv. He is currently living and working in Manchester, occasionally gets work on helping out with short films and music videos, and in his other spare time like to go to heavy metal gigs, cinema and horror film festivals and has attended Frightfest in London 3 years in a row, as well as Frightfest Glasgow, and Grimm up North festival. He is planning on trying to get to either Fantasia in Montreal or Sitges in Spain, some point in his life!
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