Director: Juan Bosch
Eclectic/Sinema Diable

Yet another mid 70s-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) 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!).

EXORCISMO (which never had a U.S. theatrical release) is very dull, 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 uninspired gore and nudity, and several ensuing murders occur to keep the thin plot moving along, throwing in a few red herrings, including Naschy's character. The dubbing is often laughable (watch when Naschy speaks with a pipe in his mouth), and director Bosch certainly was no horror specialist. This one is purely for Naschy fans (who does a nice job in a rare non-monster/non-murderer role) and Euro trash enthusiasts.

Eclectic's DVD is apparently sourced from the 80s VHS release from All Seasons Entertainment. The transfer is only acceptable in terms of the old "ma and pa" days of video rentals. Colors often bleed, and the picture is pretty murky overall. Dark scenes are often horrid, while bright scenes come off much better. The film appears to have been shot open matte for an intended 1.85:1 ratio, so the full frame image at least does not crop out any vital picture information. The English-dubbed mono audio has its share of hiss and pops, but is still acceptable in balance with the substandard visuals. There are no extras on the disc. (George R. Reis)