Director: Juan Bosch
BCI Eclipse/Deimos

Yet another mid 1970s-era "Exorcist" rip-off, EXORCISMO (or EXORCISM as it was called here on home video) is a Spanish import starring none other than that country's horror superstar, Paul Naschy. Naschy (who wrote the story and co-wrote the screenplay under his real name, Jacinto Molina) claims that he concocted the idea years before THE EXORCIST came out. That may be so, but the resulting picture is a blatant imitation of the groundbreaking Hollywood hit.

Young Leila (Grace Mills, who also played Naschy's love interest in NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST/WEREWOLF AND THE YETI) goes to a satanic love-in with her boyfriend, crashes her automobile, and is apparently possessed by the spirit of her late abusive father. Her diabolical state at first is nothing more than a few tantrums and naughty name-calling, but by the end of the film, she is in full Linda Blair mode. Naschy plays the bearded, pipe-smoking priest, and a youthful Maria Perschy (HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE) is the wealthy mom to Mills and two other adults (she must have had her children at 13 or something!).

Shot mostly in England, EXORCISM -- which never had a U.S. theatrical release -- can be talky, and the priest vs. devil stuff doesn't occur until the last 20 minutes. It is then that we see Mills in some pretty scary make-up that includes nasty sores, blood-swollen lips, and marble-colored contact lenses. She of course vomits (well, dribbles a bit), speaks with a man's deep voice, screams, and displays her bedroom athletic skills. When Father Naschy isn't busy making coffee or collecting "odd" things, he's trying to help this very dysfunctional family, and eventually performs a classic exorcism (he even hallucinates a rubber snake popping its head through the kitchen faucet!). There is some expected gore and nudity, and several ensuing murders occur to keep the thin plot moving along, tossing in a few red herrings, including Naschy's character. The U.S. dubbing is often charmingly laughable (watch when Naschy speaks with a pipe in his mouth), and director Bosch certainly was no horror specialist. A big hit in Spain, this is still a must for followers of Naschy (who does a nice job in a rare non-monster/non-murderer role) and Euro trash enthusiasts in general.

Previously available on DVD from a company called Eclectic, this fully uncut new release from BCI puts that semi-legit disc to shame. Like with BCI’s earlier release of VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES, the image looks pretty stunning. Apparently shot open matte, its presented full frame, and compositions always look fairly accurate. Colors are bold for the most part, with excellent picture detail, and the source for the High Definition transfer (the original negative) is in impeccable shape. The audio contains two different options; Castillian with optional English subtitles, and English-dubbed mono. Both tracks sound fine, with no hiss or distortion.

The best extra on the discs is a half-hour video interview with Naschy (speaking in Spanish with optional English subtitles), as he comments on how horror films of his era have a charm and quality which he doesn’t believe can be repeated. He then goes on about different subjects and qualities his films have, and adresses a number of specific titles (A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE, HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE, BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST, NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF, HUMAN BEASTS, etc.). All in all, it’s a great interview. Naschy also introduces the film, and other extras include an international theatrical trailer, alternate "clothed" scenes (which still offer some glimpses of female nudity), the Spanish beginning and end title sequences, and separate still and poster/video art galleries. Again, Mirek Lipinski does a great job with the liner notes, which can be found in the insert booklet. (George R. Reis)