Huntress: Spirit of the Night (1995)

Okay, so here we are in the third week of Full Moon Fever II: Torchlight Diaries and we’re done with the space babes for the month, but we’re not done with another reference I’ve been making all month long.

This week, I’m gonna take a look at Huntress: Spirit of the Night from 1995. This is about a family curse, some aristocratic family, and it appears to be about some mood. Now, that said, it’s still a mid 90s erotic thriller from Full Moon, so you can bet your ass that we’re gonna get a lot of sexy with that heaving mounds of mood. Oh yeah… That reference I said I would be making…

The film is directed by Mark Manos. Now, early on in his career he directed some episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares. In fact, he’s done a shitload of TV shows even as recently as the new MacGyver show and Interrogation. So that’s not for nuthin’. He did a handful of Full Moon’s horror movies, including their pseudo-superhero film Dark Angel: The Ascent, which I covered last fall. So he was a bit of Full Moon bullpen kind of guy.

But what else did he do?

Ha ha! Well, I’ve referenced these things a few times this month already. Right around the time he did Huntress, he did four Playboy videos. I swear to god I didn’t plan this. When I was in my late teens, and early 20s, I quite enjoyed the Playboy library of videos and magazines. So I saw a fair share of these videos. So when I kept talking about how the sexy scenes of the previous movies had that heavy vibe of Playboy videos? I knew what the fuck I was talking about. In fact, I know for a goddamn fact I watched one of Manos’ Playboy video – the one for Playmate of the Year Stacy Sanches. I liked her a lot. I am also pretty sure I saw his other in 1996, Playboy’s Fast Women. I like racing and girls so… You know.

Anyway, those two videos came after Huntress, but the following year from those, he did a Playboy celebrity video for B-Movie sexploitation queen Shannon Tweed and a really popular one for Farrah Fawcett. So did he get that job because he knew a guy and was qualified? Or did he earn his stripes with shooting similar vaguely sexy and vaguely erotic scenes in Huntress? There’s only one way to find out…

Watch the fuckin’ movie.

The movie opens with a couple high class jerks having a literal pig’s head for dinner before the woman goes over, takes the guy’s tie off, ties his hands, rips his shirt open, and licks a giant butcher’s knife. The knife is to cut open her own shirt so she can tease the dude tied to the chair while she sits on the end of the table with her legs open. Suddenly, she realizes she’s not alone with this guy. In fact, she and this guy are in a restaurant putting a show on for everyone. She wakes up in a train car from a dream with the guy sitting across from her the guy she was dreaming about. She walks out of the car to the guy’s dismay (I mean it wasn’t like HE knew what she was dreaming about), and we get credits.

I gotta say… I’m on board with this nice cold open here.

This girl is Tara Wexford (Jenna Bodnar). She’s returning to her family home in Northern Wales for her father’s funeral. She has been living in Boston, and tells a friend of her father’s that she’s only here to get his belongings and affairs in order and she’s going back to the States. That friend of her father’s says she really doesn’t want to stick around long.

Jenna Bodnar sans sexy knickers or knife to lick.

She sees an old friend at the funeral, Michelle (Blair Valk), a French girl she has known for years. She’s had power of attorney over the Wexford stuffs and said that Tara’s father was quite upset when Michelle ever brought up Tara coming home to care for him or deal with his funeral, etc. Michelle also dismisses the old friend of Tara’s father as old and superstitious like so many people in the town. The good news is that Michelle believes she knows someone interested in buying the Wexford home.

Michelle invites Tara to a party in order for her to see an old crush of hers, Alek Devane, a suave motherfucker who is quite smitten with how Tara looks tonight. He says lots of things that makes Tara rather juicy in her panties. She’s an architect and he talks about how great buildings are like a beautiful woman and stuff. Like how it all comes together to create an allure and such. Michelle tries to lighten the mood around that place by spiking Alek’s drink with an aphrodisiac. I mean, sure. What are old friends you’ve not seen for like a decade for if not to drug someone to get you laid?

You know what I like about this movie? We’re almost 20 minutes into this movie and they’ve kept the eroticism to a minimum. There was the cold open that had a little boob, but it didn’t carry on for very long at all before it was revealed to be a dream. Now, there is a brief flash of a little sensual kissing and touching when Michelle tries to convince Tara to make good on her childhood fantasy of making it with Alek, but it’s kept to a very brief moment. It’s a little sexier than what we’ve seen in the previous movies this month because Michelle is almost like a devil on the shoulder seducing Tara to be seduced by Alek. It’s hot.

Later, they are drunk and the seduction ramps up big time. Michelle shows off Tara to Alek and asks him what he thinks of her hotness. She then goes in for a deep kiss as the French do and it’s a full on three way now while Tara remembers her dream. That causes her to reject that Alek dick and instead forced to watch her crush screw her friend. It’s all very confusing, but a much classier sexy than I’ve seen in any Torchlight movie to this point. Kudos, Mr. Manos.

I guess to not miss out on the fun the other two are having, Tara spreads a little bit of the aphrodisiac over her boobs and takes a swig. I’m not too sure what that did because as she watches Michelle get that Alek, it fades to black. It comes back and Michelle is driving Tara home and says, “Hey, you know that stuff back there with us making out and shit? That was hot. Come to a party this weekend and don’t say no. Instead, say yes to party and having sexy times. Byeeeee!” And she drives off.

It should be pointed out that there’s a bit of a hubbub in the town because someone got attacked by an animal. The town is kind of weird about it with all the guys out in force to find the animal and kill it. Tara doesn’t quite understand all the fuss, but her family’s driver, Geoffrey, well he says it’s a weirdo old town with old customs and old superstitions. As she is looking around an old building on her father’s property, she sees the mob off in the distance shooting at something, and in her surprise at the gunshot, she turns to see a naked girl huddled in the corner.

Tara asks why the villagers were chasing her, but when she touches the girl, the girl starts to burn up and a white ball of light flies out of her body and starts chasing Tara. It makes animal sounds too. When the light finds Tara, it tears off her cloths and kind of merges with her. The naked girl in the corner takes off running.

The next morning, Tara wakes up all kinds of hung over and notices a bunch of shit on her legs. After a shower, she takes special interest in her body before knocking off a wine glass from the counter and catching it smoothly and inhumanly quickly. She has a huge appetite and talks about the weird dreams she had the night before. After a brisk morning run, she gets a call from her dad’s friend, Ty Bodi, who tells her they need to meet to discuss her safety. He tells her that there’s a curse as old as the village itself. He tries to tell her about the curse but he runs off and leaves behind a rosary.

Bodi is played by Charles Cooper. He was a long time character actor but appeared in a couple things I know quite well. First, he played Korrd, the Klingon ambassador in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. If that wasn’t enough, he came back in 1990 to play a Klingon in a couple episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation (“Sins of the Father” and “Reunion”). That’s rad.

After the mysterious meeting with Bodi, Tara decides to get a pint at the local pub, but gets the cold shoulder from the natives. She does not get a cold shoulder from American ex-pat photographer Jacob who noticed her at the funeral earlier. They seem pretty sweet on each other. Meanwhile, Michelle and Alek discuss some sort of evil plans that Michelle has been cooking up for a while. Alek is concerned about this photog getting in the way. But Michelle? Well, she’s so cool under pressure, she will go naked on top of a piano to convince Alek that all is fine.

You know what I like about this movie? Everything. There’s enough mood here to carry that creepy stuff. The eroticism is held to a minimum for maximum effect. Blair Valk is sexy as the bad girl, but Jenna Bodnar is extremely alluring as the normal girl who is also our good girl dealing with some carnal stuff deep down. Bodnar reminds me a little bit of Kelly Preston and has a really engaging smile. I think it also helps that, while she was no stranger to erotic films of the 90s, or breast implants, she is not as glammed up in this movie as the other heroines we’ve seen so far this month. What’s especially interesting, there are other movies she was in that you can see pics of where she is much “sexier” by the standards of erotic flicks of the era, but give me this version all day and night.

Okay, back to Jenna Bodnar being sexy as hell in this movie. Tara decides to take a late night walk in just her little robe and, finally, at the halfway point of the movie, we have an extended scene of vaguely erotic writhing and somewhat sexy exploration of her body with her hands. Now… I said vaguely and somewhat, but this has been my favorite of the month so far. Jenna Bodnar is just sexy as hell and I can get behind whatever strange, black-eyed writhing and panting and exploration of her own body that she wants to do. I am on board with this.

The next day, Tara is walking and chatting with Michelle who is trying to get her to into bed with Alek still, but she’s not interested in chasing past crushes. She’s got this Jacob dude that she wants to hang out with and learn more about animals. In fact, that night, she’s hanging out with Jacob and turns off all the lights, tells him to use the lightning to take pictures of her to see if he can capture her real self. It’s, again, a very sexy scene that lets her kind of play with her more animalistic stuff that she’s dealing with more recently. It’s a lot of her running around in the rain, doing some playful stuff with poses when the lightning flashes, and then she gets naked and does more sexy stuff, but…

That beast is getting out.

One soft core sex scene later… Jacob and Tara come back to her house and she receives an invitation to a party Alek is throwing. He’s frustrated that she’s bringing Jacob with her, but Michelle says she’ll make sure he is preoccupied so Alek can focus on Tara to convince her to sell him the Wexford Estate. Geoffrey tries to send Tara back home, but she isn’t so sure she wants to leave anymore. Tara presses and Geoffrey finally hands over her father’s diaries that speaks of a “beast” that has taken people in the village. In fact, her mother was one that had been taken by this beast and it forced Bodi and her father to kill her.

Bodi tells Tara the story. The beast was apparently a black panther. It got free and killed some animals. Someone killed the panther and the owner, a “traveling gypsy”, came and placed a curse on the town. The soul of the beast will possess a woman in the town until one day, a person will be possessed to a point that the woman will be transformed into the beast again. He shows her a picture of the most recently possessed person and it was the naked girl in the shed that night that Tara was possessed by the glowing light.

Okay, so I thought this was a werewolf movie, but ’tis not. It’s kind of a werewolf story, curses, Romani, transformation into an animal, etc. Alas, it is a panther that we have here that’s giving Tara these sexy nights and urges to writhe around. Now, how does Michelle and Alek play into this? Let’s find out…

Jacob is on the way to pick Tara up for the party and his car breaks down. He gets picked up by Michelle who offers him a ruffied drink. So now he’s late to pick her up. Alek has sent a car to pick Tara up since she is late. We see that Jacob is passed out and gets dumped on the side of the road by Michelle.

But it’s time for Cinderella to show up to the ball…

Gorgeous.

At one point, Tara goes to check out some taxidermy in a study, and watches a couple plowing each other in the next room. She then overhears Alek and Michelle talking about some secret at the Wexford estate that will make them very rich and they are using Tara to get to it. She runs out of there and even does some neat acrobatics thanks to her new beastly powers to get away. She goes to Jacob’s place and sees some of the pictures he took of her during that thunderstorm the other night. In one, she sees her black eyes and realizes some bad shit is going down. Meanwhile, Alek calls Geoffrey to pick Tara up, but she gets home while he’s gone. Jacob shows up after regaining consciousness and Tara shows him the diary.

She found a key earlier that goes to a bookcase she has never seen open before. The reason why it’s never been open before is because there are fake books inside it. What’s behind the fake books is the secret that Michelle wants Alek to get. The façade leads to a stairway that leads to a vault where our heroes investigate.

Michelle and Alek stop Geoffrey and knock him out. Back at the estate, Jacob and Tara find a room full of priceless paintings. Apparently, someone in Tara’s family stole these paintings and now Michelle and Alek want to reveal them to the world and sell them off for fortunes. Tara destroys the paintings. Michelle locks Tara and Jacob in the room with the burning paintings to suffocate.

I gotta admit… I was not expecting grand theft art to be part of this story. I pegged Alek and Michelle to be monsters too, but… Nope! They are seeking to steal the Wexford dirty little secret. Meanwhile, Bodi is hunting Tara because, you know… Beast and shit. Tara is able to find a secret way out of the crypt. Tara and Jacob get in his car to try to leave town, but Bodi is waiting for them in the back seat.

Bodi tells Tara to pull over and Jacob acts to try to get the gun out of Bodi’s hand but he shoots him in the arm. Bodi says this has gone on too long, and Tara agrees. She wrecks the car but only succeeds in killing Jacob. As Bodi closes in on her she begins to change. She runs into the woods and Bodi says there’s no place she can hide. She continues to run and…

Credits.

That’s it?!? I kind of feel like this is the epitome of “the money has run out so we had to end our movie”. Obviously this was meant to have a sequel. Remember, during the 90s, everything Full Moon was doing was sequelized. There were Subspecies movies (which this movie reminds me a bunch of that first film in that series), Puppet Master movies were all over the place, and you got Trancers. So I have no doubt that this was intended to be a series to pick up from here, but it’s a bummer of an ending for a movie that I was quite enjoying.

Michelle and Alek get away scott-free. Jacob is killed BY OUR HEROINE. There is literally no ending. I was loving about 80% of this movie. We had this creepy atmosphere of this small, superstitious town in Wales dealing with a real curse. Our leading lady is my new girlfriend. Everything is great, right? We believe there are a duo of baddies who might also be monsters. The erotic element is handled with much better care, but then this art shit comes into it. I feel like there was a bit of a corner that the writer, James Sealskin, got himself into and he had to do something with the Michelle and Alek part so it was just petty thievery. There’s also a missed opportunity to have Tara be able to control the curse that just kind of accidentally happened to her and she can become something of a hero or misunderstood anti-hero or something. There’s something here, but the movie doesn’t have time or ability to play it out that way. It barely had time for what was here.

It’s one of the bigger letdowns in B-Movie Enema history. The movie had its chance to be one of the real diamonds in the rough, but only comes across as a fairly decent piece of, I dunno… Quartz or something, in the only kind of rough. I still like this movie quite a bit. But where Dark Angel: The Ascent more or less stuck the landing, this one misses and it’s a real shame because this is a better movie than that one.

Oh well, still likely to be the best film of the bunch this whole month too.

And with that, we’ve crossed the halfway point of Full Moon Fever II: Torchlight Diaries. Next week, we cross the terminator into the new millennium with 2000’s Zorrita: Passion’s Avenger. I am going to assume that is not as good as Huntress could have been. Anyway, that’s next Friday.

As for tomorrow, go over to the B-Movie Enema YouTube page, or come right here to the website to watch episode #3 of B-Movie Enema: The Series! This week, I’m traveling back to the early days of the blog again to revisit one of the worst of the movies covered here – Jess Franco’s Oasis of the Zombies. That’s not exciting for me, but should be a good time for you if you wish to tune in. Either which way, we’ll definitely be here next week to talk about passion’s avenger. Until then, stay cool, Enemaniacs!

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