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
Jess Franco directs and stars in this 1974 film about a crazed ex-priest who was defrocked for the severity of his beliefs. After witnessing a series of staged "Black Masses," he becomes convinced that the participants are possessed by Satan and kills them in order to "exorcise" their demons.
Although this storyline has a lot of potential, the film never really delivers. Franco's acting is, well . . . let's just say that he should stick to directing. The script could use a little work, too. The priest says almost exactly the same lines every time he performs an "exorcism." Aside from that, Franco was apparently trying to make the film as "transgressive" as possible by loading it with gratuitous full-frontal nudity, suggested auto-eroticism, bondage, sexualized torture, simulated intercourse and girl-girl makeout scenes. There's even an orgy thrown in (set to a ridiculous '70s wah-wah-guitar soundtrack). The result is a film that tries to be both porno and horror film, but doesn't really succeed at either.
This DVD from Synapse Films features several worthwhile extras, including the first-ever commentary by Jess Franco, an alternate opening sequence, the trailer from the heavily-cut U.S. release (titled "Demoniac") and other goodies. According to the liner notes, this film was restored from a number of different sources, so you see color shifts and slight jumps throughout the movie. It's slightly annoying at times, but nothing major. The monaural soundtrack is less than perfect (not uncommon for rare, older films like this) but doesn't detract from the viewing experience too much.
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