Directed by Juan Bosch
Distributed by Deimos Entertainment
Two years after Linda Blair’s head spun 360 degrees into our horror-loving hearts, the Devil was still hot at the box office both here in the States and abroad. The average horror fan can name at least ten Exorcist knock-offs without even trying, and truth be told most of them — much like the demon alleged Karras’ mother of doing — sucked cock in hell. Or at the very least, they’ve been hell to sit through. Can anybody make a decent possession movie other than Friedkin? Enter Spain’s horror icon, Paul Naschy. If anyone *ahem* possesses the chops to make one work, it would be him, no? Not really.
Meet Leila (Mills). After spending some time hanging around your garden variety satanic cult, she inadvertently becomes the host of a murderous foul-mouthed demon. Shit, all Regan did was fuck around with a Ouija board. This chick was really asking for it. As you may have guessed her family has only one hope, the fountain of religious machismo known as Father Adrian Dunning (Naschy). Of course there are some other miscellaneous plot devices thrown in here and there including an unrealized murder mystery, but basically Exorcism is just the same old fire and brimstone.
The main problem with this flick is that the real reason we’re here — you know, the devilish antics — really don’t start until the final third of the film. We get around twenty minutes of possession preceded by seventy minutes of sub-par whodunit crap. Even when things do get going, other than a quick bed levitation and some good make-up (for its time), there’s really not a lot to see here. I guess you cannot improve upon perfection. Friedkin’s film set the benchmark and has never even come close to being dethroned. We can only pray that everyone stops trying.
On the supplemental side of this digital Eucharist, we get an adequate little package. The film sports an introduction by Naschy himself and has been restored and remastered complete and uncut. It almost looks and sounds better than it deserves to. After we’re treated to the movie, we can check out the original Spanish credit sequences and a still gallery or have a look at the theatrical trailer. Actually, since all of the good parts are in the trailer, you may just wanna watch that and call it a night. YAY convenience!
From there, if you so choose (although I cannot imagine why you would), you can watch alternate clothed scenes from the film. Yep, in some regions Exorcism‘s usage of bouncing tits and those gloriously thick Seventies bushes were considered a big no-no, so different versions of said scenes were filmed to appease the authorities. On a side note: I now realize how much I appreciate a good bikini wax.
Things are wrapped up with a twenty-seven-minute long interview with Naschy regarding his films, his career, and horror in general. This is by far the best reason to get your hands on this disc. Truly interesting stuff from one of our genre’s last living legends.
All in all, there’s no real reason for casual fans to rush out to add this one to their collections. Only completists (like myself) will want to have this little devil riding high. If you can sift through the slow pacing, you’ll find some good stuff here and there including some unintentional humor that almost make this a worthwhile viewing experience in and of itself.
The power of Christ compels you to rent!
2 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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