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November 18th, 7pm Library Auditorium

Okay everyone, this is the one you have been waiting for.
This is the one that is absolutely famous in LDS film underground.
Newly restored.
You haven’t seen anything like this.
It is not to be missed.
Tell your friends and your aunties.

November 18, 7pm Library Auditorium

Watch The Trailer


THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH (1974) Los muertos, la carne y el diablo


In the early 1970s, recent convert to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, José Maria Oliveira, sought to use his position, expertise, and experience in the Spanish film industry to expose audiences to the plan of salvation. He produced two films, BEWARE OF DARKNESS (1973) and THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH (1974). Both deal with tortured souls in the afterlife who will only find peace by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal savior. These were commercial films, with many genre elements that would broadly qualify as ‘horror’ films, but he additionally sought to promote his faith through them.They have since all but disappeared into history. The BYU Motion Picture Archive, located in the Library’s Special Collections, acquired copies of these films in 2020. Newly-restored in High Definition, these films will be presented and premiered to a public audience in the Library auditorium this Fall for the first time in over 50 years for reconsideration (October 21 and November 18, respectively).

Film Plot

A professor delves into the study of the world of the dead, eventually delving so deep as to visit as an observer. There he will learn of the torment of the deceased who cannot satisfy physical pleasures. His visit to the underworld will alter the rest of his life.

Film Materials History

In 2020, Ben Harry, curator of the BYU Motion Picture Archive, was able to procure a 35mm composite (both sound and image) color print of THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH from the director/producer/writer José Maria Oliveira directly. The Filmoteca Espanola lists that they have one copy of each of these, but their condition is unknown, we may have the only two playable prints in existence. Production of the films was intended for an international audience, so the Spanish actors delivered lines in English, but then English speakers dubbed over the voices so that they sounded correct. These prints have no subtitles and would need such for a Spanish speaking audience.

Filmmaker José Maria Oliveira

José Maria Oliveira is a filmmaker who began his career by working for the William Morris Agency in Spain. In 1966 his life would be changed with his conversion to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he had to travel to France to be baptized as the Church was prohibited in Francoist Spain. Desirous to spread his excitement about his new faith, and his particular interest in the ideas of the spirit world, he called upon actors and other industry professionals to support his production of two feature films, BEWARE OF DARKNESS (1973) and THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH (1974). As a Mormon answer to Day of the Dead/ All Saints Day celebrations in Spain, both of these films engage with the world spirits enter when separated from their bodies, seeking to offer audiences both entertainment and opportunities for reflection. He had hoped to have it screen at this time of year.

Joséis 88 years old and currently resides in Salt Lake City.

Restoration Process

The 35mm projection prints we received had been previously projected, resulting in physical damage. Both films have some damage at the beginning of each reel (about every 20 minutes, damage is mostly scratches) and the colors have faded to pink.

Student Hunter Hill has meticulously restored the color for this project. Having completed the first two short internship projects for the Motion Picture Archive, coloring this feature is Hunter’s most involved project yet. Re-balancing allowing the film to bear its materiality while also restoring what was intended and present in its originality, scratch removal was not utilized. But the image was stabilized and the colors restored to a reality-approximate balance.

BYU Motion Picture Archive screenings

The “Archive Classics” series
These are rarely seen films that have a particular context that BYU can best augment.

“Rarely seen” –the BYU Motion Picture Archive possesses a rare material that cannot be seen elsewhere, or it simply is not often or easily accessible.

“Particular context” –these films have a connection to Latter-day Saint artistry, history, or depiction, and at BYU will receive the proper context to be of particular meaning to an interested audience.

Audience: those particularly interested in scholarly content,Latter-day Saint artists, andunique cinematic experiences.

Restoration Presentations

These presentations highlight the work of faculty, staff, and students at BYU where the BYU Motion Picture Archive produces newly-restored materials. These will be presented with explanations of the work performed by the archive.

Audience: those particularly interested in BYU / Utah County history, student work and Church Media History.

THE DEAD, THE DEVIL AND THE FLESH(1974) qualifies in both of these presentation groups