Cross of the Seven Jewels (La Croce dale sette pietre) opens with a Satanic ritual that involves a pair of lesbians, some guy whipping a woman and another couple simply going at it. This is all overseen by the group’s High Priest (Gordon Mitchell, Three Graves for a Winchester, She). This is all to raise a demon that looks like the Roger Corman version of Chewbacca.
Meanwhile, Marco Sartori (Marco Antonio Andolfi, Adam and Eve) has arrived in Naples and met his cousin Carmella whom he hasn’t seen in twenty years and can’t stop going on about how pretty she is. At least not until a couple of thieves on motorscooters steal the jewelled cross he wears around his neck. Then he goes into a panic. As if that wasn’t enough he also finds out that the woman that met him at the station wasn’t his cousin but her friend Elena.
Written, directed by, and starring Marco Antonio Andolfi, Cross of the Seven Jewels is one of the strangest films to come out during the last days of the Italian horror boom. And it’s up there with Project: Metalbeast in terms of overall lycanthropic weirdness.
How weird is it? Marco goes looking for Elena in some random club where he gets grabbed by some mafia muscle who somehow knows he works for a bank patronized by billionaires and who want him to be their man on the inside. He also meets Maria (Annie Belle, House on the Edge of the Park, Absurd) a drug dealing hooker who knows his name even though he never tells her it. We also never do find out why Elena pretended to be his cousin, the two of them vanish from the plot entirely.
If you’re wondering where werewolves fit into all of this, the cross that was stolen from him is the Cross of the Seven Jewels and it’s all that keeps him from turning into one when there’s a full moon. And with a full moon coming up he needs to find it and fast, otherwise, he’s going to turn into the most ridiculous-looking lycanthrope in history.
Allegedly shot as early as 1982 and left on the shelf for a few years, Cross of the Seven Jewels is the kind of oddity that should have found a following by now. Between a werewolf that doesn’t have air on its body so you can check out its abs, ass and other bits, a plot that sees Marco slaughtering his way through the Italian mafia in his quest for the titular piece of jewelry while using such distinctly un-lupine abilities as the ability to make people’s faces melt. It’s pure WTF cinema.
While the transformation scenes are done in the same timelapse style as the original Wolfman or Paul Naschy’s films the gore, which includes an exploding womb, is the result of the kind of cheesy practical effects fans of 80s Eurotrash cinema know all too well. Cross of the Seven Jewels saves most of them until the last act, but there’s plenty of demon sex, naked werewolf violence and general insanity to keep you occupied until then.
TetroVideo, who has already released vintage horrors such as Blood Massacre and Hate Crime, will be releasing Cross of the Seven Jewels in a version remastered from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative at some point later this year. Planned extras include an alternate version released under the title Talisman and Riecco Aborym, a thirty-minute sequel Andolfi shot in 2007. You can keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for an announcement when the date is finalized.