Period piece set during the Inquisition about a witch-finder general who falls in love with the village beauty, who has made a pact with the devil to seduce and condemn the man who is ... See full summary »
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The devil, following in the footsteps of Christ, decides to become flesh and take a stroll around Earth to see how humans have progressed, and have a little fun creating havoc and mayhem in the process.
Period piece set during the Inquisition about a witch-finder general who falls in love with the village beauty, who has made a pact with the devil to seduce and condemn the man who is killing off Satan's servants. Written by
Paul Naschy's directorial debut amazingly emerged to be superior to most of his work for other film-makers. Thematically, it amalgamates WITCHFINDER GENERAL (1968) with THE DEVILS (1971): Naschy is the appointed Inquisitor who falls under the spell of a local girl (Italian starlet Daniela Giordano from Mario Bava's atypical FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT  and who, in a recent interview for the "Stracult" TV program, singled out the Naschy film as her personal favorite!). He has her lover killed (intermittently depicted as in a Sergio Leone picture, with harmonica accompaniment intact!) though, in an online review, it is stated that he was not responsible after all?! but is eventually brought before the court himself for associating with a sorceress. In fact, Giordano has sold her soul to the Devil (seen in effectively grotesque make-up not unlike that of a villain from some contemporaneous anime[!] and, reportedly, played by the star himself) and deliberately given in to her leading man's advances in order to bring him down!! At one point, he is haunted by the vision of a scythe-wielding Death but, since she ends up sharing his fate, one supposes the girl is ultimately disillusioned by her twisted beliefs while, ironically enough, Naschy acquires grace through martyrdom!
The period ambiance is splendidly evoked, there is discreet use of gore (notably a nipple torn off by a huge pair of pliers!) and a surprising amount of nudity (gratuitous perhaps but not really exploitative). Of course, the "Malleus Maleficarum" tome and the plague (which, again, it is stated elsewhere to be the handiwork of the Devil himself!) never seem to be too far away in this type of film. Still, Naschy's script offers reasonable subtext: his character's position is coveted by the second-in-command (who proceeds to gleefully supervise the Inquisitor's own subsequent trial), a local blind-man is constantly snitching on the usually-innocent townsfolk (though he takes inordinately long to report the real witch who schools the heroine in the Black Arts!) to the relevant authorities until he predictably gets his just desserts, while Giordano for whom, with her true love gone, life has lost its meaning gradually comes to realize the power of Darkness and willingly becomes its servant and vessel. Incidentally, I was under the impression that INQUISITION was one of two efforts about which the writer/director/star felt the proudest (the other being THE TRAVELER , which followed this viewing in quick succession) as per "The Mark Of Naschy" website but, having double-checked, it transpired that that film was the serial-killer thriller THE FRENCHMAN'S GARDEN (1978) which, however, seems to be rather hard to come by...
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