Back in 1974 Italian horror director Mario Bava made a gothic horror called Lisa and the Devil, which sounds like an 1980s metal band. But I digress. Sadly this project was never able to find a distributor. In a bid to get some kind of payoff for the flick, producer Alfredo Leone re-edited and provided some added footage to play off the popularity of The Exorcist. This is the horrific result!
Lisa (Elke Sommer) is enjoying some touristy fun in Toledo, Spain when she runs across a very strange man with a mannequin. As you try to wrap your head around that whole sequence, Lisa collapses, starts spouting profanities and writhing around. A nearby priest, Father Michael (Robert Alda) rushes with the hospital with her and quickly determines that Lisa is possessed by Satan! I think all the cursing, green spewing and crusty makeup gave it away.
Satan speaks through Lisa and describes why evil is on this earth, and it has to do with an old mansion and the horrible family living there in the 1920s (I think). There is a mysterious butler Leandro (Telly Savalas), a few long rotting corpses, some scandalous affairs and lots of gothic atmosphere. Lisa is somehow involved in all this (and yet is a different girl, maybe, I think). As the story unfolds Father Michael decides that to cure Lisa he must travel to the House of Exorcism and do battle with old scratch himself!
- Bava’s atmospheric visuals create some great Gothic moments
- Savalas seems to be having a good time
- A few moments of amusing gallows humor
- This reedited version makes little sense
- The added footage is pointless and padded
- The dubbing is pretty awful
Let me just say that if you want to see this film, find the original version Lisa and the Devil and avoid this mess. The added footage is horribly unoriginal and slows the already measured pacing down to a crawl. Sure it’s fun to see Elke Sommer swear like a sailor, but those scenes get old too fast. More intriguing is the original material with the evil family and gothic blood fest. But it’s so hacked up that most of the fun is drained away. This is up there with Voyage to the Planet of Prehistoric Women for a plain mess of a re-edit.
Scores (out of 5)
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