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I have to admit, I LOVE these Italian "rip-offs" of "The Exorcist"/"The Omen"/"Rosemary's Baby" that were big in the 1970's, even the bad ones. But this one is actually pretty good. I'd rank it ahead of Ovidio Assontis' "Beyond the Door", Alberto DeMartino's "The Antichrist" and Pier Carpi's "Ring of Darkness". It's difficult to compare it to "The Eerie Midnight Horror Show" or "Malabimba" because those were more straight-out sex romps. It's about on par with DeMartino's second attempt "Holocaust 2000", but it is more scary and less over-the-top silly. It was probably influenced to some extent by Nicholas Roeg's "Don't Look Now", what with its Venice setting and its young blind protagonist who keeps having apocalyptic visions. The protagonist is pooh-poohed by his sighted older sister (Rena Niehais), but she doesn't seem to find it strange when everyone around them starts dying--first their guardian, then the couple who own the pension they come to stay at (which somehow results in them inheriting the place). Then a sinister man from the boy's visions shows up at the pension and seduces the sister, impregnating her by a not-so-immaculate conception (she only gives him oral sex!). After the baby is born, the blind brother makes several attempts to kill it (the most memorable scenes in the movie), but he may be playing right into Satan's hands. . .
These Italian "rip-offs" are almost all a lot more original than they're given credit for. The low-budget Italian industry simply lacked the money to imitate big-budget Hollywood spectacles like "The Exorcist" or "The Omen" too much(and they lacked the sensibilities to imitate the subtle paranoia of a film like "Rosemary's Baby"), so they were forced to be inventive. This one has some especially effective scenes such as when the boy goes to drink out of a holy well in an effort to cure his blindness only unbeknownst to him, it is apparently full of rats and slimy black snakes!
The cast is also impressive, especially the female cast. German Playboy Playmate Neihaus turns in a surprisingly good performance (and not-so-surprisingly gets naked several times). And speaking of getting naked, the perpetually unclothed Ely Galeani and Angela Covello also show up as part of the sister's strange but very sexy babysitting coven. And Greek actress Olga Karlatos, who would later appear in several Lucio Fulci movies and as Prince's mom (!) in "Purple Rain" also appears as an especially ambiguous and mysterious character. Of course, it greatly helps everyone's performance that the English dubbing is pretty competent for a change . Good movie. Check it out
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