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An ex-priest escapes from an asylum and kills people in God's name. This is a re-edited Spanish-language version of L'éventreur de Notre-Dame (1975) and XXX version Sexorcismes (1975) with newly shot scenes.
This is a pretty well, if highly praised, film from the Spanish director, which is (apparently) available in three different versions. The version getting all the love and praise is the Spanish version while the French and Italian versions are re-edited with hardcore scenes and an alternate cast added to the mix. The version I watched was the Italian one, which is hard to review due to the hardcore scenes, which were added. The basic plot, I believe, is the same from each version and centers on a woman (Emma Cohen) who suffers a breakdown after the suicide of her sister (played by Lina Romay in this version). Soon after the suicide the sister begins to see her dead sister inside a mirror, which causes her to go out, bring men home and kill them. Again, it's really hard to judge this film due to the added scenes and the fact that the Spanish version is apparently totally different but there was enough here to I loved to recommend people seeing this but at the same time you should certainly try and get the original version (which I will be looking for). The film reminded me a lot of Franco's Venus in Furs, which is among the director's best films. There's a deeply haunting, sad and tragic nature and atmosphere, which runs throughout this film and it wasn't hard to get caught up into the mental state of the main character. Franco's direction is very sharp throughout but most of the credit has to go towards Cohen who is simply terrific in the film. She doesn't have to resort to nudity or cheap thrills to get her performance across. I guess the best way to explain it is that she comes across like a spirit and just floats from one scene to the next, slowing breaking down in front of our eyes. Sadly the disc I watched also didn't feature any subtitles so I couldn't follow any of the dialogue, which there was plenty of and I'm sure if I could follow the story more I would have loved it even more. The hardcore scenes, which again, were added, are pretty ugly and add absolutely nothing to the movie. These scenes really killed everything that was going on so I found myself hitting the FF button through them. I'm hoping to track down the director's cut soon since most fans think this Italian version is a complete mess. If it is a mess and I enjoyed it this much then I can't wait to see what the Spanish one offers.
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