LA BIMBA DI SATANA (1982) Review


aka SATAN’S BABY DOLL, A GIRL FOR SATAN
Directed by Mario Bianchi
Written by Gabriele Crisanti (story/screenplay) & Piero Regnoli (screenplay)
Starring Jaqueline Dupre, Marianglea Giodano, Aldo Sambrell

Under all of the shots of naked women and droning guitar and synth chords, Mario Bianchi has a halfway decent film in here somewhere with LA BIMBA DI SATANA. The “bimba” in question isn’t possessed by the devil as with the other entries in this exorcism-themed edition, but the structure of this story (especially the ending) owes a lot to William Peter Blatty’s Christ-compelling opus.

The film opens with a funeral, as a family gathers to pay their respects. Immediately, you know this is not your typical family with Antonio (a leering and domineering father), Miria (the virginal daughter), Sol (a nun…?), a priest and a paraplegic. They’ve gathered to say goodbye to Maria, Antonio’s wife and Miria’s mother. But what they don’t know is that Maria’s soul is not at rest and is eager to possess her daughter to enact revenge on Antonio.

In between all of that revenge and possession, there’s a hell of a lot of nudity, groping, and undressing. Bianchi lingers a little too long on these scenes to take LA BIMBA DI SATANA as a serious horror film. Then again, he does get points for putting a creative lesbian twist to Father Karras’ sacrifice at the end of THE EXORCIST. Bianchi also does a great job of taking advantage of the gothic mansion the movie is filmed in, snaking through immense winding stairs, halls with painted ceilings, and what mansion is complete without a dungeon?

Though the mood is right and the setting is grand, LA BIMBA DI SATANA from start to finish is a soft core Skinemax-ish feature where even the nuns wear thigh high stockings and every woman spends more time bare-chested than clothed. I’m not complaining, mind you. But had as much attention been paid to the scares as they were to showing the breasts of every woman in this film, LA BIMBA DI SATANA would be a masterpiece. Apparently, this is a remake of a more hardcore (sex-wise) film called MALABIMBA. Haven’t seen that one, but at least that one seems to have committed to one genre. LA BIMBA DI SATANA tried to get the best of both worlds sprinkling in horror and soft porn here and there, yet never settling on either. Bitchin’ cover art, though, with the devil embracing a naked woman. Too bad nothing like it shows up in the film…

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