Director: Luigi Batzella
Redemption USA

Nudity, check. Satan, not so much. Upfront with the nudity straight out of the gate, opening with a slow motion shot of Rita Calderoni running through the woods in her birthday suit, I don’t recall Mephistopheles even getting so much as a name drop. The IMDB lists James Harris as playing “The Devil” but the film is so vague, Harris could just as easily be portraying an alien or the grim reaper. He certainly possesses unearthly powers and prefers his women o’natural, but there is little evidence to suggest him the title of prince of darkness. What is crystal clear however is that Nuda per Satana is a delirious hallucination that doesn’t make one iota of sense but is definitely entertaining.

Following up on a late night emergency call, Dr. William Benson (Stelio Candelli, PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES) stumbles upon a car wreck on an isolated road. The car’s sole occupant, Susan (Rita Calderoni, DELIRIUM) is unconscious and in obvious need of medical attention. Doing what any Good Samaritan would do, especially one with medical training, the doctor leaves the comatose woman alone in his car to look for help. Stumbling across a sprawling estate, the doctor is shocked to discover that the residence is occupied by a lively and healthy Susan. Dressed in clothing from a bygone era, the young woman embraces the doctor, euphoric over their apparent reunion. Puzzled, the doctor eventually succumbs to the woman’s embrace and the strange atmosphere of his new surroundings, but he can’t quite shake the feeling that something is just not right. Eventually coming to, Susan is none to happy about being deserted on the side of the road and climbs her way up to the mansion's front door where she is greeted by the estates owner (James Harris). Accepting his invitation to stay and freshen up, it isn’t long before Susan runs into Peter, the doctor’s slimy doppelganger who is quick to offer Susan his “apologies” for abandoning her earlier. With time seemingly standing still and day turning to night and back at a whim, both Susan and the doctor will have to struggle to remain sane as their mirror images battle for dominance and sexual identity.

While its set pieces and costumes give NUDE FOR SATAN an air of gothic horror, make no mistakes about it, the film is pure, unadulterated trash. Random lesbian make-out sessions seem to be incorporated for no other reason than to pad out the film's duration and despite the three main characters, every participant is either partially clothed or fully nude throughout the film. I’m not complaining mind you, I appreciate an impromptu scene of girl-on-girl heavy petting as much as the next trash aficionado. What’s surprising is how such arbitrary scenes seem to comply so naturally into the film's bizarre logic. Written and directed by Luigi Batzella (THE BEAST IN HEAT aka SS HELL CAMP), nothing in the film is clear and there is no real effort put forth to explain any of the goings on. It is just as likely that the duo died on the road and is trapped in a sadistic purgatory as it is that they have both stumbled trough a rift in space and time that has landed them in another dimension. The plot (and I use the term lightly) is so ambiguous that you could draw a different conclusion as to William and Susan’s fate with each viewing.

Resembling a cross between Robert Goulet and a young Paul Naschy, it’s hard to take James Harris seriously as the devilish host. While he plays a number of roles in the beginning that help guide our protagonists to their inevitable fate, James is dressed up like a generic Dracula for the majority of the film and while his ability to magically disrobe a woman in the blink of an eye is impressive, he just doesn’t have an air of Beelzebub about him. His butler, played by Renato Lupi (APOCALYPSE JOE) is far more menacing than his debonair master and a thousand times creepier. If any one actor stands out in NUDE FOR SATAN it is without question Rita Calderoni, who is thankfully sans clothing for most of her screen time. That’s not to say that Stelio Candelli doesn’t give an equally surreal performance, but his bosom isn’t nearly as ample. The buxom beauty has the most memorable scene of the film, in which she finds herself trapped in giant spider’s web. Screaming for her life the beauty is besieged by what could only be described as a giant paper mache spider piñata. If NUDE FOR SATAN had any creditably, it was all lost after this one unforgettable scene. While there are a least three other women who covert nude throughout the picture, mostly during the film's ending which plays out like an audition for a Kenneth Anger film, Rita is never upstaged particularly given that the other naked participants could vastly benefit from visiting the crafts service table a few times.

Redemption previously released NUDE FOR SATAN stateside in ‘99 through its then distribution deal with Image Entertainment, followed by a release in the U.K. in 2004. For its latest manifestation Redemption has presented SATAN with a 2.35:1 letterboxed print that looks quite nice with very little in the way of grain or scratching. Picture quality is slightly muted as are colors, but nothing that isn’t common of the period. Audio is presented in both the original Italian and English Dub with optional English subtitles available. Both tracks are clear and while I usually prefer an original language track over a dub, given the film’s exploitation temperament, the English Dub adds more to the overall sleaze factor. Before the film begins there is a title card in Italian, a language I admittedly do not read, but I believe it mentions that the source used for this edition is a composite of an Italian and English dub print, as there is a brief moment early on that features non-removable Italian subtitles.

The DVD case lists a number of extras, including a 25 minute documentary on Jean Rollin titled “Virgins and Vampire”, but don’t look too hard or too long as they are nowhere to be found on this release. An obvious misprint, there are still a number of special features still to be had, including the film's original Italian language trailer, which does a fantastic job of selling the film. A stills gallery and trailers for other Redemption titles such as KILLER’S MOON and VIRGIN WITCH, round out a disc overflowing with Euro Trash. (Jason McElreath)