Byleth: The Demon of Incest
Byleth: The Demon of Incest (Italian: Byleth (il demone dell'incesto)) is a 1972 Italian gothic horror film directed and written by Leopoldo Savona. Set in 19th century Italy, the film features Mark Damon as Lionello Shandell who welcomes his sister Barbara (Claudia Gravy) and her new husband Giordano (Aldo Bufi Landi) back to their castle after their trip to England. The two siblings are strongly affectionate for each other and the new marriage has caused Lionello into a mad jealousy which Giordano tries to cure as murders begin mysteriously happening around the castle.
|Byleth: The Demon of Incest|
|Directed by||Leopoldo Savona|
|Screenplay by||Leopoldo Savona|
|Story by||Leopoldo Savona|
|Music by||Vasil Kojukaroff|
|Edited by||Otelo Colangeli|
|Distributed by||Panta Cinematografica|
Byleth: The Demon of Incest was shot in Rome and released in Italy and later in Germany where it was re-edited and featured more explicit scenes of nudity and different editing.
Byleth: The Demon of Incest was directed by Leopoldo Savona, a filmmaker mostly known for being an assistant director for Luigi Zampa, Riccardo Freda, and Pier Paolo Passolini. After making a few spaghetti westerns, Savona directed the gothic film Byleth: The Demon of Incest. The film was shot at Borgo del Sasso, Cerveteri, Manziana, and Elios Film Studios, all located in Rome.
Byleth: The Demon of Incest was distributed theatrically in Italy by Panta Cinematografica on 31 May 1972 with a running time of 95 minutes. A film poster for the Italian release's poster featured very similar art to Il sesso della strega.
On its release in Germany in 1975 as Trio der Lust, the film was significantly different: its running time was 81 minutes, removed dialogues scenes and had more female nudity including actress Caterina Chiani who appears in many Italian softcore pornography films in the 1970s. Both the German and Italian DVD releases of the film contain the German version of the film. Severn Films announced a blu-ray of the film for October 29, 2019 featuring a 2k scan from the negative elements that had been discovered in a Madrid lab vault.
From a retrospective review, critic and film historian Roberto Curti stated that "apart from the emphasis on nudity [...] there is little to recommend in Byleth." noting a "muddled and slow moving" plot and the films very low budget. Curti noted the acting in the film, stating that Mark Damon "gives one of the worst performances in the history of Italian horror" and that he was constantly doubled in the film except for the last scene.