By Richard Winters
My Rating: 2 out of 10
4-Word Review: Carrying the devil’s child.
Jessica (Juliet Mills) is already the mother of two children and now finds out that she’s carrying a third. This one though seems different. He’s growing at a faster rate and she suffers from ‘spells’ where she blacks-out, levitates and speaks in different voices that are not her own. Is she possessed? Her husband (Gabriele Lavia) and Dr. (Nino Segurini) begin to believe that she is.
Obviously this is a rip-off of The Exorcist to the point that Warner Brothers took legal action to try to block its release. To some extent I could care less what it rips-off as long as it somehow improves on the original or at least gives us the same type of scares, but this thing fails on all levels. Instead of playing up the special effects it gives us a mechanical replay of the ones we already saw in William Friedkin’s masterpiece, but at a cheaper and cheesier level.
The dumb story doesn’t make sense. The grainy, faded film stock looks like it was shot on a threadbare budget and the voices of the actors were dubbed in during post-production, which gives it an amateurish quality. There are also too many shots showing the characters walking down the streets of San Francisco. This was mainly due to the fact that the indoor scenes where shot in Rome while the outdoors ones were captured in Frisco, so the producers wanted to get the most ‘bang-for-their-buck’ by implementing as much as they could to their time in The City by the Bay, but it’s not visually interesting.
The music is over-the-top and having Lucifer speak directly to the audience as he does at the beginning borders on high camp. The only reason to catch this is to see Juliet Mills playing against type. She is best known for starring in the ‘70s TV-series ‘Nanny and the Professor’ and has always had a clean-cut image, so seeing here spit out pea soup, use vulgarities and wear make-up that makes her look increasingly more monstrous is fun. She plays the part surprisingly well and gives it her all, which is far more than this cheap production deserved.
My Rating: 2 out of 10
Released: November 21, 1974
Runtime: 1Hour 39Minutes
Studio: Film Ventures International
Director: Ovidio G. Assonitis
From schlockmeister Ovidio Assonitas! The man who gave us “Tentacles” with Henry Fonda, Shelley Winters, Bo Hopkins, etc and the weirder than weird “The Visitor” with John Huston, Glenn Ford, Franco Nero, Shelley Winters etc. They’re both fun to watch! I remember the commercials for “Beyond the Door” when I was a kid and they scared the hell out of me.
Thanks for the comment! I actually found ‘The Visitor’ to be way better than this one and quite entertaining!
Most Italian films until the mid to late ‘80s recorded little to no live sound when on location to save time and money. It is a characteristic of Italian cinema that makes it both charming and other-worldly. It makes schlock look even schlockier but it is a defining part of what makes stuff from Fellini and Leone (etc.) so distinctive. You have to have noticed at some point how Clint Eastwood’s lips match his words but many other actors of the Man with No Name films don’t at all, even when talking to Eastwood in a scene. Without recording sound, all the international actors could speak their native language on set and it would all be dubbed later. So in Italy the Italian actors’ lips match but Wallace, Cleef and Eastwood’s don’t. Same thing for Spanish and German actors in those films. Just FYI.