A trio of witch hunters arrive in town to ply their trade. While this is happening, the daughter of the magistrate agrees to sell her soul to the devil for the ability to take vengeance on the man who killed her lover.
The only Paul Naschy film I've covered to this point is THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN, and even giving consideration for its poor dubbing, I was not impressed by either the movie or Naschy's performance. This marks the first time I've seen him playing someone other than El Hombre Lobo, and I have no problem with him in this one. Here he seems to have the real charisma of a horror star, and on a purely physical level (i.e. recognizing the parts of his perfomance that bypass the poor dubbing), I can sense real emotion and feelings in his character. This is a good thing; I find myself now looking forward to how he handled his other roles.
The movie itself is also fairly effective. It's in familiar territory involving witch hunters and witches, but I think there's a little more to this one than CRY OF THE BANSHEE, for example. It has its problems, of course; some of the nudity feels unnecessary and pandering. The torture and violence is unpleasant, and even shocking at times, but at least the movie doesn't appear to be primarily about sadism. It even manages to make you care about some of the characters, which is quite a trick when you consider how unsympathetic practically all of them are. I mean, is it really possible to choose between an evil that hypocritically believes it is good and one that sincerely believes it is the evil it is?