Deviation (1971)
Directed by José Ramón Larraz

Starring Karl Lanchbury Lisbet Lundquist

A wonderful, forgotten British horror film from the director of everyone`s favorite lesbian-vampire-bloodbath, "Vampyres," this shares a lot in common with that better-known and celebrated film. Larraz shot both movies in England, with British actors and a British crew. But the Spanish-born director delivers a sexual edge in both films that the British never came close to in their homegrown horrors.

Like the same year`s "I Drink Your Blood" and even Michele Soavi`s "The Devil`s Daughter," "Deviation" also exploits the early `70s fear we all had of the dreaded hippie.

An unmarried couple have an accident on the British countryside. When he waked up after knocking himself unconscious, he`s convinced he killed someone. He and his girlfriend are welcomed into the home of a taxidermist (Lanchbury) who throws, swinging orgies at night.

As it turns out, the driver did run into someone --- a drugged hippie. The hippie`s friends decide to bury him instead of let the authorities know about it. After forcing the square driver to have sex with one of their women, he`s murdered. His girlfriend is told he left town by train to go to his job, before being handed a joint and invited to join their orgies, which she does, like a lamb led to the slaughter. She carries on carousing with the hippies, despite the warnings of a crippled psychic who lives in the house.

"Our parties are for the younger generation," the taxidermist tells a dirty old doctor who treats one of his heroin victims. The movie`s tagline: "Sex, drugs and rock `n roll was never meant to be like this."

Larraz (operating under the pen name J.R. Larrath) overcame a shoe-string budget to deliver an even better film than his flawed but fun "Vampyres." This one is quiet, atmospheric, intelligent, chilling and creepy, a thinking man`s horror film if there ever was one. It may have even served up some inspiration for "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre." "Deviation" is one film that deserves a resurrection. If only the British could keep making great, atmospheric flicks like this.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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