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Lisa is a tourist in an ancient city. When she gets lost, she finds an old mansion in which to shelter. Soon she is sucked into a vortex of deception, debauchery and evil presided over by housekeeper Leandre. Written by
Director Mario Bava had reportedly wanted to do this movie for years. After the huge international success of Baron Blood (1972) (U.S. title: "Baron Blood"), producer Alfredo Leone gave Bava free reign to do any project he wanted. See more »
I prefer ghosts to vampires, though. They're so much more human; they have a tradition to live up to. Somehow they manage to keep all the horror in without spilling any blood.
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During the sightseeing in Toledo, Spain, the tourist Lisa Reiner (Elke Sommer) sees an ancient painting of the devil on the wall and leaves her group for a moment; however she gets lost in the narrow streets. Later she gets a lift with the wealthy Francis Lehar (Eduardo Fajardo) and his wife Sophia (Sylva Koscina). However, their car breaks and stops in front of an old manor. While the driver George (Gabriele Tinti) tries to fix the car, the trio is hosted by the blind owner (Alida Valli) and her son Maximilian (Alessio Orano) that invites Lisa to spend the night in the mansion. During the dinner, they are served by the butler Leandro (Telly Savalas) that resembles the image of the devil of the painting. Lisa seems to be living a strange nightmare, recalling her love from a past life, and trapped in the house with that bizarre family.
The stylish and surrealistic "Lisa and the Devil" is a weird and spooky ghost story developed in a nightmarish atmosphere. The movie is visually very impressive and despite of the flaws and inconsistencies in the ambiguous screenplay, it startles many times. Elke Sommer is extremely sexy and Telly Savalas is very frightening. The conclusion is a little disappointing. My vote is seven.
Fortunately I saw "Lisa and the Devil" first; the opportunist commercial version released in USA with the title "The House of the Exorcism" on the trail of the success of "The Exorcist" is terrible and destroys the creepy atmosphere of the original movie. The good thing is the greater eroticism and exposure of the naked body of Elke Sommer. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Lisa e o Diabo" ("Lisa and the Devil")
Note: On 11 June 2015 I saw this movie again.
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