The story in this horror movie involves a young woman's unknowing participation in a satanic ceremony which causes her to be possessed by the spirit of her dead father. She promptly begins exhibiting the standard symptoms - curses, vomiting, and even twisting the heads of a few people 180 degrees. Naschy plays the village priest summoned to perform the rites of exorcism, and must fend off the possessed's lewd advances before casting the evil spirit out of her body. Written by
Cheesy Exorcist Rip-Off with Paul Naschy; Not as Terrible as Everyone Says
Maybe I am biased, because I am a great fan of the late Spanish Horror/Cult icon Paul Naschy, but I do not understand how this film is so widely hated. Even my fellow Eurohorror enthusiasts seem to agree that "Exorcismo" (1975) is awful; while this is doubtlessly an incredibly cheesy, silly and trashy slice of Eurosleaze, and furthermore probably the most shameless and obvious of the many European rip-offs of "The Exorcist", I personally still found it to be entertaining enough. I'll be the last one to deny that it lacks suspense and creepiness or that the plot is illogical and stupid, or that the film overall could have used a lot more gore and exploitative elements, and that it has some lengthy parts; personally, I still didn't get bored.
After a car accident, the pretty young Leila (Maria Perschy) changes her behavior drastically. When her brother approaches Father Dunning (Paul Naschy) for help, telling him that it is the bad influence of his sister's boyfriend that has changed her behavior, the priest does not believe him at first. When a person close to Leila turns up dead with the head twisted by 180 degrees, things are getting suspicious...
As mentioned above, the film is probably the most shamelessly obvious rip-off of "The Exorcist" there is, so there is no need to discuss how the plot line lacks originality. There are many elements in this film which may be seen as crappy by some, and as amusing by others. I tend to the second category. The characters are eccentric and their actions often make little to no sense. A Woman who is in her 30s has a son who is in his 30s. Leila's brother and her boyfriend both look extremely weird; the latter lives in a room with silly-looking masks hanging down from strings attached to the ceiling and cupboards on which quotes like "All you need is to f***" are painted. The investigating police-officer is a superstitious freak who thinks the fact that a murder victim was drugged at the time of death is proof that the crime was a ritual murder. The role of a priest is probably not the first one that one might think of as fitting for Paul Naschy, but it actually fits him kinda well (though I tend to like the guy in any role he plays). Naschy is, of course, the main reason to watch this film. Furthermore, there is a lot of stylish sleaze and (as usual for Naschy flicks) tons of gratuitous female nudity. The female cast members are nice to look at: Lovely Grace Mills plays the possessed girl; her mother is played by Maria Perschy, who had previously worked with Naschy in "El Jorobado de la Morgue" ("The Hunchback of the Morgue", 1973) which is probably my personal favorite Naschy-flick, and "Los Ojos Azules de la Muñeca Rota" ("Blue Eyes of a Broken Doll", also 1973), which is also very good. The female cast furthermore includes María Kosty, whose face (as well as her body) is known for her roles in a variety of Spanish Horror and Exploitation features. Everybody keeps complaining about how awful the makeup in this film is, but I actually found it to be decent.
Overall, I can fully understand anyone who calls this film pure crap. It is, without a doubt, cheap and incredibly silly trash; but, personally I still found it entertaining and even enjoyable. This sure isn't for everyone, and apparently not even for all fellow Naschy fans. However, elements such as possession, gratuitous female nudity, satanic orgies, amusing cheesiness and Paul Naschy as a priest are enough to make a film entertaining in my book. 5/10
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