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Cross of the Seven Jewels/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Cross of the Seven Jewels
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OK, before I get started I just have to say . . . I am not making any of this up. This movie really exists. This isn’t a badly timed April Fools prank. I am not drunk and I am not high.

Having said all that; if the following synopsis makes absolutely no sense that is entirely the fault of Marco Antonio Andolfi, the writer/director/editor of ‘Cross of the Seven Jewels’. I just work here.

On a visit from Rome Marco is greeted at Naples train station by his cousin Carmela who he has not seen since they were kids. Some junkie crooks snatch the jewel encrusted cross that Marco wears on a chain around his neck and although the cops catch up with them the thieves have already fenced the hot item. Marco spends the remaining 80 minutes of the movie looking confused. You will too.

When Marco returns to his cousin’s house he discovers that the girl he thought was his cousin was only pretending. His real cousin tells him the girl’s name is Elena and that night Marco goes to a horrible nightclub, resembling a 1980’s high school disco full of tank tops and bubble perms, and asks complete strangers if they know her. He gets beaten up by some low-rent Mafia types but a girl named Maria takes pity on him.

Later that night Marco visits a local antiques dealer and demands he return the stolen cross. The guy says he sold it already and Marco has to hand over a fistful of cash before the old geezer will tell him who bought it. Just then the clock strikes midnight and Marco suddenly transforms into a bare-assed, hairy-faced Rat-Yeti-Wookie-Wolf-Man monster and somehow causes the antique dealers head to melt!

The next morning Maria decides that she’s in love with Marco who is heading off to a rendezvous with local Mafia boss Don Rafaelle, purchaser of a certain, highly desirable ‘Cross of the Seven Jewels’. Marco is handcuffed at gun point by the dapper gangster whose suspicions are aroused when he discovers that the only things the stranger is carrying upon his person are ‘a pen and a tissue’. This apparently means Marco must be a cop.

Of course roll-on midnight and Marco gets hairy, busts his cuffs and, while the camera lingers on his naked man-buns, throws Don Rafaelle through a coffee table. Reverting to human form in front of Maria, his clothes miraculously reappearing, Marco displays an astonishing aptitude for under-statement when he says; ‘Something bad happened, right?’

It seems that Marco’s mother screwed some shaggy escapee from ‘Planet of the Apes’ at a black magic S & M soirée and she gave the supernatural Cross of the Seven Jewels to baby Marco to protect him from his damn dirty dad. Grown-up Marco needs to wear it to control his hairy midnight outbursts. I hope you’re following all this.

Marco visits lingerie wearing fortune teller Lady Armesia, who received the illusive Cross as a gift from admirer Don Rafaelle. She agrees to hand it over to Marco but insists that he does sex with her first. Tough call. Stripping off and getting down to business Marco fails to notice the time. Uh-oh, its 12 p.m. and our hero turns all Yeti-fied mid hump, foaming at the mouth and throttling his date without missing a stroke.

In bursts a kid wearing a ‘Back to the Future’ jacket (and the Cross, yay finally!) and unloads an Uzi at Rat-Yeti-Wookie-Wolf-Man Marco! It was at this point that I thought I might suffer some sort of aneurysm. When the credits finally rolled, over a shot of Marco and Maria walking a poodle while the face of Jesus Christ gazed down from the clouds in the blue sky above them, I had lost all control over my bodily functions.

‘Cross of the Seven Jewels’ combines haphazard editing that wouldn’t look amiss in a 1970’s Turkish sci fi flick with the kind of distracted staging of scenes that characterises Doris Wishman’s eccentric oeuvre and some of the most distressingly inept ‘special’ effects this side of an Al Adamson picture; it introduces numerous characters and sub-plots for a single scene before completely forgetting about them, insists that aging Spaghettisploitation regular Gordon Mitchell grimaces like a goon whenever he’s on camera and drowns the whole fiasco in an utterly unhinged soundtrack of discordant clanging, synthesizer abuse and saccharine orchestral schmaltz. Shit, writer/director Marco Antonio Andolfi makes Bruno Mattei look like Fellini!

By 1987 the Italian horror movie was threatening to become an endangered species and it’s frankly tempting to accuse ‘Cross of the Seven Jewels’ of contributing one of the final nails in the coffin lid of the once illustrious tradition but . . . I cannot help but be charmed by any film so awkward, so whacked out, so impoverished of anything even remotely approximating a good idea! Surrender to the madness and once its 82 minutes are up you may have slapped your palm to your forehead so many times that you find yourself proclaiming aloud that ‘Cross of the Seven Jewels’ is the best Rat-Yeti-Wookie-Wolf-Man movie ever made!

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Narcan is the GCDb's esteemed UK contributor. As a youth his earliest exploitation film experience was a My Bloody Valentine/The Funhouse midnight double bill. Grindhouse icons that he holds in highest regards are Christina Lindberg and Frank Henelotter. Two of his favorite exploitation genres include Nunsploitation and Lucha Libre.
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