Saturday, July 30, 2011

Exorcismo (1975)

There’s never wrong with a Paul Naschy movie, and when all other movies fail to entertain, Naschy is there with a magnificent beard doing his job like a real man! Exorcismo isn’t known to be either the best or the bloodiest in Naschy’s vast filmography, but I found it to be better than I thought it would be. Why? I guess because I have a shitty taste in movies, but also that the script was pretty decent and easy to follow. Not so episodic, but with a clear and quite interesting storyline.

Paul Naschy is Father Adrian Dunning, a local priest in a small British small town somewhere. One of the families he knows has a couple of rebellious daughters, and a whiny big brother, and something is terribly wrong. One of the girls, Patricia (Maria Perschy) has gotten herself involved in satanic worship and drugs, mostly due to her boyfriend. But when even he starts to stay away from her, it’s quite clear that Patricia has gotten possessed by something during the childish satanic games. Soon members of the family and staff is starting to get killed by someone twisting their necks, and it’s up to Father Adrian to solve the murders and get the evil spirit out from Patricia’s body!

Exorcismo is a quite slow movie, not much is happening except Patricia getting angry and her family looking worried. But the occasional bloodless murders and the bearded presence of Naschy make up for the pacing. I read a review were someone wrote that this movie has a “mediocre performance from Naschy”, which is of course as stupid as it sounds. Sure, Naschy was Naschy and he mostly played the same version of himself, but most actors do – even if the critics will deny it. What’s interesting with Father Adrian is that he’s a-sexual, which is very unique in Naschy’s case. He’s famous for getting laid numerous times in every movie, often showing off his muscles and hairy chest. But not here, Father Adrian seem even aggressive against when women show him some interest, which once again strengthens Naschy’s ability as an actor. His character don’t need to fuck around, he’s a man of the lord and has other pleasures in life.

The story gets more creepy during the last fifteen minutes when Patricia’s demon finally manifests himself in her look, and it’s extremely effective. Way better and scarier than in William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, but maybe not as spectacular. From the dried face and transparent slime running from her lips, to the nasty eye lenses, this is just awesome and very well-made.

If you turn your expectations down a little bit and doesn’t expect gore and nudity, Exorcismo is a decent and cozy Spanish horror-thriller with a very fine performance by every one, and Naschy in the front row of course. I recommend the OOP release from BCI, easy to find on eBay or other places who still might have it in stock.

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