My Name Is Fear: The ultimate onslaught of glossy depravity, “The Devil’s Honey” (1986)

By on September 5, 2019

Severin Films says that Lucio Fulci’s NSFW erotic sex & revenge thriller The Devil’s Honey (Il miele del diavalo) — also released as Dangerous Obsession and Divine Obssesion“unleashes the ultimate onslaught of glossy depravity.”

Watch The Devil’s Honey (1986) and other great Severin Films cult films on Night Flight Plus.

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The Devil’s Honey is the Godfather of Gore’s “most rarely seen film,” one which often reminds many viewers of Adrian Lyne’s softcore sleaze-o-rama 9½ Weeks, also released in 1986, mainly because both films feature either Mickey Rourke or a Mickey Rourke-lookalike saxophonist.

Remember, this was the mid-Eighties and softcore sax movies were all the rage back then — e.g. St. Elmo’s Fire and Lost Boys — but it’s also important to note that The Devil’s Honey prefigures the rise of the American erotic thriller, which probably began with Basic Instinct (1992), followed by films like Body of Evidence (1993), Color of Night (1994) and others.

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The plot here is a relatively straight-forward revenge story which Severin Films describes as an “insane S&M saga complete with sodomy, torture, torrid romance, rampant nudity and a jaw-dropping cavalcade of kink.”

Most of the reviews tend to focus on beautiful actress Blanca Marsillach (“Jessica”), simply because she seems to get naked at just about every possible opportunity.

(Note: the names of the characters in the English version are different from the ones the original Italian version).

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Jessica’s boyfriend is “Johnny” (Stefano Madia), an abusive, kinky, bisexual exhibitionist sax player who dies on the operating table after a motorcycle accident.

The dangerously disturbed Jessica blames the super-stressed surgeon “Dr. Simpson” (American actor Brett Halsey, who’s starred in 1959’s The Return of the Fly), who she believes is responsible for Johnny’s death, and so she kidnaps him, taking him to a beautiful seaside home, which apparently comes with a large fierce-looking dog.

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Wearing her boyfriend’s ridiculous Cosby sweater, Jessica smashes the doc’s car with an axe while she keeps him tied up naked at the beach house, strutting around naked herself while reciting poetry (“the Devil’s Honey Pot”).

She also feeds him her dog’s dog food and drips molten candle wax on his back, saying “My name is FEAR…but you can call me Jessica.”

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Whenever Jessica remembers some repressed fucked-up memory about Johnny, Fulci flashes back to their life together to show us what had happened, mainly to reveal significant parts to their story, like how the sax man got his girl pregnant but also how he fucked with her mind by playing around with a loaded pistol.

It’s during these moments in bondage that Dr. Simpson finds himself becoming strangely attracted to the vindictive young woman holding him captive, and they soon seem to develop a perverse love for one another, a kind of in Stockholm Syndrome-esque erotic affair.

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Corinne Cléry also stars as Simpson’s nagging divorce-plotting wife, “Carol,” and here’s where we should probably also mention that her husband visits a prostitute, “Anna” (an uncredited Eulàlia Ramon).

Fulci himself even makes an uncredited cameo appearance here as a seller of bracelets.

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Read more about The Devil’s Honey below.

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The Devil’s Honey was shot in and around Venice, Italy, while some exteriors were shot in Sitges, just outside Barcelona, Spain, all while Fulci was still recovering from hepatitis and other health issues.

The screenplay — credited to Jaime Jesús Balcázar, Lucio Fulci, Ludovica Marineo, Sergio Partou, Vincenzo Salviani — may not have actually needed five different contributors, including the director, in order to get the ultimate point of the film across, but there must have been a reason all five writers needed to be credited, right?

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Brett Halsey — interviewed for Tom Weaver’s Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers (2007) — reminds us that Fulci hadn’t been working for a long time prior to this film’s production, and he continued having various health problems during the filming of The Devil’s Honey.

Halsey says Fulci’s daughter Camilla was taking care of him on set.

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Halsey recalled that after they’d filmed all of his scenes, Fulci and the producers of the film, unbeknownst to him, went back and filmed the sex scenes with Marsillach (“Jessica”) and Madia (“Johnny”), which the other actors didn’t know about until the film was released.

Halsey also starred in Fulci’s TV movie, Touch of Death (Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio), in 1988.

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Speaking of sex scenes, many of which are quite sadomasochistic in nature, there’s a memorable one early on during which Johnny uses his saxophone as a sex aid, “blowing” his girlfriend Jessica until she reaches a mind-blowing climax.

Later in the film there’s a memory of a kinky ménage-a-trois between Johnny, Jessica and Johnny’s friend “Nicky” (Bernard Seray), which becomes a significant pivoting plot point for Jessica.

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One online reviewer correctly points out that The Devil’s Honey “… wallows in a kind of squalid moral torpor that is most definitely on the kinky side…”

Meanwhile, a book about Fulci’s entire filmography, Beyond Terror:The Films of Lucio Fulci, claims The Devil’s Honey is “demented and hot…good sleazy fun and perhaps Fulci’s last truly enjoyable film.”

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As you might expect, due to graphic sex scenes , The Devil’s Honey was heavily cut in the U.S. when it was released on VHS (as Dangerous Obsession) by A.I.P. Home Video, although the 2017 Severin Films version is uncut and uncensored, so expect lots of nudity.

Watch Lucio Fulci’s The Devil’s Honey — newly-scanned from the original negative and transferred in HD for the first time ever — on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.