A not-so-usual revenge story is the best way to describe this above-average no-budget film from Louisiana filmmaker Jack Weis. The story deals with a war veteran named Ted (Ronald Tanet) who has just moved in to a supposedly-haunted little island in the Louisiana bayou. He has a big mouth however, letting people know that he has a big sum of money stashed in his house. The robbers eventually come in and take the money, beating the shit out of Ted and leaving him for dead. All of the sudden, the legendary witch Damballa (Maureen Ridley) shows up and revives Ted, and soon both start a whirlwind romance and take revenge against those who did them wrong.
The story reads like a real legend, Damballa being, of course, one of the main Gods in Haitian voodoo. And it’s fairytale nature is represented in it’s locations. I haven’t seen many films that take place in the Louisiana bayou, but after seeing this I get reminded of just how beautiful the place really is. Jack Weis is able to photograph it a truly exquisite photographic eye, and by adding it a tons of fog machine magic, it makes it look like an even more haunting place. The ritual scenes, with Maureen Ridley dancing, often naked, in the shores of it’s beaches truly add to the hallucinatory nature of the film.
The movie does have it’s faults however. The acting is pretty much non-existent, and the audio is out of sync, like it was recorded in post-production. The most interesting character was definitely Damballa, played by Maureen Ridley, who is both beautiful and enchanting. Sadly this is her first and only acting credit, and seems to have been swallowed by the Louisiana bayou along with her character. Speaking of following works, director Jack Weis would go on to make the fun and exploitative Mardi Gras Massacre, which as much as I like it, has nothing on Crypt Of Dark Secrets. It’s a classy, bewitching, hallucinatory film that deserves to be discovered.