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In Paris, the former priest Mathis Vogel writes pornography for a magazine. When the deranged priest watches an erotic show based on a Black Mass, he believes that the cast and audience are possessed and he goes on a murder spree to exorcise the demons of his victims. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
There are reportedly at least three very different versions of "Exorcism" around. I am reporting here on Eurocine's original version as recently released by Anchor Bay.
Jess Franco surely is a gifted director. Although most of the few movies I know from his immense production are below average, they often include some ingenious scenes and a good soundtrack which largely saves the movie. Nevertheless, I start to get disappointed when the movie does not develop its potential because the director just didn't take the pain to think a little about constructing some tension and a climax.
This applies, e.g., to "Female Vampire" and to "Exorcism". The first part of the movie brings us to a strange world. People are visiting phony black masses featuring the slaughter of a pidgeon and sadomasochistic rituals in order to get sexually aroused. Jess Franco plays an ex-priest who writes S/M-stories for a magazine "based on true experience" stating that "you have to know evil in order to fight it". He is attracted to the lesbian S/M-performer Anna and on the other hand pursues the participators of the black masses with bloody and deadly exocirsm rituals. There are nice interiors which were shot in a beautifully decorated "day time hotel" near Paris.Unfortunately, after having introduced all this material, the movie gets completly stuck. Instead of developing, e.g., the character of the priest, his madness (as he did for example in "Jack the Ripper"), Franco just repeats the shots of black masses and exorcism over and over again or fills the movie with extended sex scenes. This leads utterly to boredom and the ending lacks any interest to justify the waiting.
As usual, Franco has trouble to keep his camera in focus and the editing is crude. Take for instance the ending. Franco brings Anna to his castle outside of Paris. Then, Anna phones somehow her friend to tell her that she is alright. A few seconds later, we see Franco back in his Paris appartment and then driving back to the castle (so that his pursuers have the chance to follow him). Although the timing might be possible, I found this unnecessarily confusing.
So the movie is just another unfulfilled promise by the director. It is without technical merits and doesn't deserve much attention.
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