Connoisseurs of Eurosleaze will be pleased with this nasty little variation on the gothic. In an isolated castle, a fractious, failing aristocratic family has gathered. There is no more money in the family, except indirectly: one brother, now in a vegetative state, is married to a rather wanton woman, who now holds the purse strings. The matriarch suggests that her other son marry her, even though his brother is still alive. The man is properly horrified by the suggestion, and he is also still in mourning for his wife. But then something – the spirit of his wife? a demon? – invades his teenage daughter, who then starts acting out sexually and recreating scenes from The Exorcist.
Nothing hugely original here, and many scenes are SO blatant in copying The Exorcist that one might as well assume that Friedkin’s film was the last word on possession symptoms. What is interesting, though, is that, unlike Friedkin’s film, the connection between the possession and the hypocrisy of the upper class is made perfectly explicit (in every sense). In fact, much of the misbehaviour on display has nothing whatever to do with the demon – it serves primarily to force the characters into a realization of what they really are.
Oh yeah, and there’s plenty of nudity, too, with soft-core sex scenes intercut with obvious hardcore inserts (cue the extreme close-up).
The audio is in the original Italian mono. Now, this doesn’t mean the actors are all properly synched up – standard practise in the Italian film industry was post-production dubbing, and the same is obvious here. Anyway, the mono is fine for what it is, but has clearly aged (there is a bit of static to be heard). Still, the transfer itself is not at issue here.
The print is in fine shape, for the most part (I’ll get to the exception in a minute). There is some grain, and some very minor guitar strings. The colours are very strong, and the film looks quite handsome. It is possible to watch the film with the deleted scenes re-inserted. These are generally character bits, and they look very rough indeed. Your best bet is to watch these scenes on their own.
Apart from the aforementioned deleted scenes extra, there’s the trailer and a featurette composed of interviews with DP Franco Vila and actress Mariangela Giordano (who plays the nun stuck in the Damien Karras role).
This is quite the feather in Severin’s cap – a disinterred bit of sleaze that’s actually quite interesting to watch in between the sex.