Judge Dylan Charles is possessed...by Paul Naschy!
Our review of Exorcism (1975) (Blu-ray), published November 7th, 2012, is also available.
"This being inside my daughter, what does it want?!? What is it looking for?!? Why? Why did he turn her into something so heinous?!?"
Leila (Grace Mills) has been hanging out with the wrong crowd. You know; devil worshipping, blood drinking, human sacrificers. That kind of crowd. When it turns out her miscreant ways have let a little bit of devil into her soul, her family turns to the one man who can save them:
Or, more accurately, Paul Naschy as Father Adrian Dunning.
Paul Naschy is a legend of Spanish horror. He's done almost 90 films, including the Waldemar Daninsky wolfman series. Exorcism is one of the rare instances where he plays a straight up good guy.
Exorcism suffers from the unfortunate problem that it was always be compared (unfavorably undoubtedly) to The Exorcist, a movie that came out earlier and covered this particular topic better. When Reagan was possessed, she peed on the floor at her mother's wrap party, masturbated with a crucifix and did a crabwalk down the stairs. When Leila is possessed, she throws a tantrum at her birthday party and runs out the door yelling about how much she hates her family. In short, Leila acts like a normal teenager and everyone finds this odd and demonic.
In fact, we have to wait till the end before Leila finds it in her heart to do some real mischief and it's in the last 20 minutes that Exorcism really shines. Leila's devil side finally comes out and the special effects kick up a notch. Which is good, because before the effects were limited to unrealistic blood and spooky sound effects.
There's just not a whole lot of scariness coming from this possessed girl. Or from the movie in general. There's a vague atmosphere of creepiness, but not a lot of fear inducement. Part of the problem is a lack of characterization. All of the characters are only shown skin deep. There's the bratty possessed girl, there's creepy boyfriend, and, oh look, there's naïve mom. They're just there to be devil fodder.
But for the most part, Exorcism is campy fun, with a bunch of nudity to spice it up.
Deimos has done another stellar job in presenting a Paul Naschy film. There's a load of extras, including an interview with Paul Naschy and the dreaded alternate clothed scenes. Mr. Naschy discusses a broad swath of his career and it's interesting to hear him discuss his opinions on the genre. The clothed scenes show how bland Exorcism would have been otherwise.
In the end, Exorcism is not as shocking or thought provoking as, say, The Exorcist or The Omen. And it doesn't really show Paul Naschy at his most vibrant. He's fairly restrained, as opposed to his portrayal of Alaric de Marnac in Horror Rises from the Tomb. But Exorcism is quick, fast moving fun.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Deimos Entertainment
• Introduction by star Paul Naschy
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