Retro-review: New on BluRay as part of The Shout Factory’s The Paul Naschy Collection II; help me out and pick it up on DVD/BluRay here on Amazon!
Directed by Juan Bosch (as Joan Bosch)
Written by Juan Bosch (screenplay) (as Joan Bosch), Jordi Gigó (as Georges Gigo), Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina)
Starring Paul Naschy, Maria Perschy, María Kosty, Mercedes Molina, Jordi Torras, Luis Induni, Roger Leveder, Joan Llaneras, Marta Avilés, Juan Velilla, Florencio Calpe, Dora Santacreu
I’m diving into the second Shout Factory Collection of Paul Naschy films. Once again, this is a wonderful showcase of a talent that deserved more recognition. Paul Naschy, former circus strongman turned filmmaker and actor, starred in a ton of genre films ranging from monster mashups to giallo mysteries. I’ll be covering this new collection is going to be a treat. Here goes…
EXORCISM follows a wealthy family full of complex affairs all of them seemingly worse than the next. When the patriarch of the family dies, the wild child of the bunch Leila (Mercedes Molina aka Grace Mills) becomes seemingly possessed by the spirit of her dead father after attending what seems to be a Satanic ritual with her boyfriend. When trying to deal with Patricia’s problems through psychological and medical means proves unfruitful, the family reaches out to Father Dunning (Naschy) to perform…dun, Dun, DUN!…an exorcism!
If you’ve seen THE EXORCIST then you’ve seen this movie. While the reasoning behind the possession is way more in your face and overly explained by excess partying with the wrong people, the results of the possession is pretty much run of the mill. There’s all kinds of writhing on the bed, speaking in tongues, and excretion of bodily fluids, but just on a much lower scale since the budget here is probably that of THE EXORCIST’s caterer’s paycheck. Instead of pea soup being catapaulted from the possessed’s gob, it’s simply her spitting and blowing spit bubbles as the camera looms in. Because it follows the story beat for beat, it really is hard to take altogether seriously.
But Naschy does just that and as always, is the highlight of the film. He plays a surprisingly virtuous character with less complexity than his usual roles. With a diabolical and scheming family all after their father’s fortune in the wings, Naschy’s role as the Exorcist is one of the sole good characters. I feel Naschy is best when he either plays a bad guy with the heart of gold or a flawed yet well intentioned character. Seeing him in such a squeaky clean role just isn’t as interesting. Still, he handles the last act with a full on exorcism that is both thespianly and physically demanding with much ease.
While is isn’t one of my favorites of Naschy’s collection, the way EXORCISM rips off THE EXORCIST is almost quaint. Released almost instantly after the film that became a world wide phenomenon and released in Spain first, EXORCISM seemed to have been racing to introduce a portion of the world to the horrors of possession. I find it interesting that there were audiences who saw EXORCISM before THE EXORCIST and thought that Blatty and Friedkin were simply ripping Naschy and Co. off. Nevertheless, the film apes the original very well on a low fi level and any Naschy performance is worth a look see.
Other films in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.2!
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE
A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE
Other films in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.1!
NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB
VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES
BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL
Other Paul Naschy Films!
A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON
If you like the review above, help me out and click on the link to buy it on Amazon here!!!