SEPTEMBER 2, 2008
OK, I promise, tomorrow's movie won't have a goddamn thing to do with Christianity, the Bible, etc. With The Antichrist (Italian: L'Anticristo) being now the FOURTH movie in a row to have at least some plot elements revolving around the Bible, I am feeling a bit Jesus-ed out. If there was such a thing as an occult expert that only applied to horror movies, I feel as if though I may be qualified.
An acknowledged Exorcist knockoff, The Antichrist is actually pretty damn awesome. While some elements are stolen wholesale (like the exorcism sequence, which involves a priest who arrives covered in shadow, a door that's about to be pounded off its hinges, and pea soup), it's different enough to warrant a look. Instead of a young girl, the Devil takes over a 20ish woman, and since this is an Italian movie, you know what that means – gratuitous (and blasphemous!) nudity. Sure, Linda Blair got herself off with a crucifix, but she was still clothed (I hope that doesn't read as disappointment – I'm not that much of a perv). Alberto de Martino goes for erotic displays of demonic possession here; not only does the Amanda Plummer-ish Carla Gravina bare all, she also sticks her tongue out in ecstasy for a good 30 seconds as the Devil has his way with her (her resistance is quickly abandoned). Hot.
She also, over the course of the film, alludes to fucking her uncle, her father, and her brother (and even before she is possessed, she displays unreasonably high amounts of jealousy toward her stepmother). Her possessed dialogue is also full blown R rated; it makes Regan's occasional "Do you know what she did? Your cunting daughter!" type stuff look downright PG rated in comparison. Plus, the possessed voice sounds a lot like the killer's in Tourist Trap (which came 5 years later), so that was a big plus for me. Of course, all this just makes the movie all the more entertaining, and gives it enough of its own identity to forgive the plot theft from Friedkin's film.
There are also some fantastically silly moments that don't have much to do with the possessed woman talking about incest. For example, late in the film, a man tumbles down a giant flight of stairs, and you can actually see the guy making himself elongating his fall by pushing and flipping himself over when he gets "stuck" on a few steps along the way. The flashbacks (Gravina is the reincarnation of a devil worshipping woman) are also pretty deliriously fun, as you get guys with goat heads chanting, lots of "Priest! Bastard!!!" type yelling, etc. And even though it's not laugh out loud funny, I was tickled by the fact that the title appears twice in the opening credits, just in case you forgot I guess.
One odd thing about this DVD release (from Anchor Bay); while the bulk of the film is dubbed (at least the Italian actors are; standard procedure for these films is for everyone to just speak their native tongue so English and Italian audiences only need part of the film translated for them), the first 10 minutes are not, nor are there any subtitles. Granted it's pretty easy to figure out what's going on (I was about ready to just try to watch the whole thing in Italian and see if I could more or less get the gist), but it's still a bit odd.
The only real extra is a ten minute retrospective by De Martino and Ennio Morricone, composed the score with Bruno Nicolai. A "TV spot" is also included, but it's just what appears to be an actual still from Exorcist (doesn't look like our gal's bedroom at any rate) while a guy rambles about "The Tempter", which is what I guess it was originally called over here. The one below is much more informative.
What say you?