SATANIK (1968)
Director: Piero Vivarelli

Based on a French comic of the same name, SATANIK arrived in the wake of other Euro super villain epics such as the French 60s "Fantomas" films and Mario Bava's [DANGER] DIABOLIK. Unlike the lead characters in said comic, the film's female anti hero doesn't wear a leotard costume (except during a sexy cabaret act), and it leans more on Jekyll & Hyde horror themes mixed with picturesque espionage.

The plot concerns Dr. Bannister, an ugly (and old?) woman that suffers from exaggerated aging make-up and a cheek birthmark that resembles a frozen T-bone steak. She happens to work with a professor who has invented a formula proven to regenerate cells in laboratory animals. When she demands the formula be used on her haggard persona, he refuses and is killed for it. After drinking it down, she transforms into a leggy beauty with false eyelashes. Immediately, she enters a life of crime, seducing and double crossing many sex-starved men in the process, but the formula is only temporary and she must continue to consume to retain her youthful appearance.

A Spanish/Italian co-production, SATANIK stars Hungarian-born beauty Magda Konopka, known as a minor Hammer starlet for her supporting role in WHEN DINOSAURS RULED THE EARTH. Spanish horror buffs will recognize veteran character actor Julio Peña (HORROR EXPRESS, HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB) and Umberto Raho from several Dario Argento and Mario Bava films.

Retromedia has presented SATANIK on DVD uncut (nudity and all) and English dubbed. The Eastman colors are very rich, but the image is cropped from its original Techniscope (2:35.1) aspect ratio so there is some fine grain present. The print source is in decent shape, except for some scratches and jump cuts. Audio is scratchy in parts but passable. Extras include a still gallery (featuring the covers of many "Satanik" books) and liner notes by Mirek Lipinski. (George R. Reis)