FEBRUARY 26, 2010
I have slept through and/or left running in the background movies that I had an easier time following than Exorcismo, which I sat and watched in its entirety with only a few text messages distracting me, at least for the first 45 minutes or so. And then it hit me - I wasn’t having trouble following it - it’s that there was nothing for me to follow. Apparently assuming that people really love that first 45 min of Exorcist where not much is happening, and not so much the 2nd and 3rd acts with all the pea soup and cruci-fucking, Exorcismo gives us roughly 75 minutes of nothing and then finally applies some pancake makeup to the female lead and gets the show on the road with 15 min left to go (and even those are a bit slow).
A big problem with why it’s so stiff is that they actually try to hide the fact that it’s an Exorcist ripoff, which doesn’t work in the slightest (possible solution to the problem - name the movie something with more than 2 letters’ difference). It’s actually sort of like a mystery, with corpses turning up and you don’t know who is killing them. Could it be Naschy? Or the seemingly well-meaning sister? Or the crazed girl who keeps swearing at people after miraculously surviving a massive car crash? I’ll let you ponder that one. That we aren’t even offered the kill scenes (which would have been kind of cool - a Giallo riff on the Exorcist plot) is inexcusable. I understand the logic - seeing the murders would make the killer’s identity obvious, but since when do these folks use any sort of logic?
As with any 70s Spanish horror movie (particularly one that’s a sleazy knockoff of a good movie - did I mention this movie offers nearly wall to wall bare breasts?), there’s plenty of fun to be had with the terrible dialogue, whether it be poorly translated (“My sister is possessed... like something is possessing her...”) or simply poor, offering things that you just don’t hear very often, like “They celebrate a thing called Dark Rights, and other things. It’s a pretext to consume drugs and share in sexual orgies. I hear it’s all organized by a group of weirdos.” I also particularly enjoyed this exchange:
Guy 1: “I’m certain you’re wrong.”
Guy 2: “I hope you’re right.”
According to my notes, I also apparently enjoyed someone saying “Sonofabitch”, but I can’t remember the context anymore (note to self - write your reviews in order, and within 48 hrs of viewing the movie). The female lead is also a delight, since I spent a good chunk of the movie wondering if she was possessed yet or not, since she’s just sort of a spoiled bitch. Not to mention old enough to be one; part of the intrigue of Exorcist is that Regan was this sweet 12 year old girl. This broad is like 17 or something (played by a 21 year old at least), and the closest she gets to being sympathetic is early on when she exchanges a few pleasantries with Paul Naschy, but a few minutes later she tells him she hates him.
Naschy takes on the Merrin role, and unsurprisingly he’s the best thing about it. It’s the first time I’ve seen him play a completely heroic character, which sort of added to my (very mild) enjoyment; I kept expecting him to do something terrible, get possessed himself or something, but nope. He kills a possessed dog, that’s about as bad as he gets (possessed or not, I’m not down with dogs being killed in movies!).
Oh, and there’s a guy who may or may not have been inspired by Blofeld and thus may or may not have inspired Dr. Evil:
I was also tickled by the opening credits, as they are oddly incomplete (only the first couple actors and director Juan Bosch). I assume this is a result of the credits being translated from Spanish, as “Spanish Credits” is one of the features on the special edition DVD. Sadly, Blockbuster did not send the special edition, but some piece of junk full frame transfer. Thanks a lot, jerks.
I dunno, I sort of have a soft spot for these things, but I’d probably never bother watching it again, nor would I recommend it to anyone but completists. The Antichrist was way more fun, and Lisa and The Devil at least has Kojak. Besides Naschy, the best this one offers is a character named Debbie Gibson.
What say you?