Eclectic DVD presents
Eerie Midnight Horror Show (aka The Sexorcist) (1974)
"I wonder why this church was deconsecrated?"- Denila (Stella Carnacina)
Stars: Stella Carnacina, Chris Avram, Luigi Pistilli
Other Stars: Lucretia Love, Ivan Rassimov, Gabrielle Tinti
Director: Mario Gariazzo
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (gore, nudity, sexuality)
Run Time: 01h:25m:32s
Release Date: 2003-09-23
DVD ReviewEerie Midnight Horror Show is a dull 1970s Italian exorcism film from Mario Gariazzo, and over the years it has also been known as The Sexorcist, The Tormented and Enter The Devil. I don't get where the Rocky Horror Picture Show-esque title came from for this particular print, but I can assure you there are no transvestites, singing, or floorshows to be found here. Eclectic has a 1977 release date on the backcover, but this is in fact a reissue of Gariazzo's 1974 L' Ossessa.
After a badly spaced card stating "This film is based on a true story" (yeah, right), it jumps into the tale of beautiful art restoration expert Denila (Stella Carnacina) who is summoned to an old, abandoned 15th-century church to restore an eerily lifelike and life-size crucifix, that for all practical purposes doesn't appear to be in need of any restoration. We're told that the figure on the crucifix has all the elements of "power, passion and misery" carved into his features, and that the old church was deconsecrated for having wild, violent orgies. Well, give me that old time religion!
When the body on the cross comes to life one evening (think Mannequin, but with Satan instead of Kim Cattrall), Denila is quickly possessed by a demonic entity, after the requisite sex scene set in front of a burning crucifix, that is. The poor girl then spends the rest of the film either ripping her clothes off, attempting to seduce her father as well as a priest, in addition to eating her own hair, spewing green bile and experiencing some really creepy visions of being crucified herself, which leaves her with a very bad case of stigmata.
In between infrequent glimpses of early 1970s Italian horror (creepy churches, Satanic rites), Gariazzo tries to spice things up alittle, before veering into weirdness, by having Denila's adulterous, hot mom (Lucretia Love) take part in a sex scene (so far so good) where her hunky lover beats her with roses until she bleeds (not so good). But this is largely an excuse for parading around a nude Stella Carnacina, and though that isn't really a bad thing, it is unfortunate it is in such a predictable film. And being an Exorcist knock-off, there is of course the radical priest who is needed to save the day, in this case played admirably by the troubled Luigi Pistilli.
The overall look of this particular print, which is awful, combined with an equally insufferable English dub, will probably kill any potential enjoyment of Gariazzo's film that genre fans might be looking for here.
Rating for Style: D-
Rating for Substance: D-
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: The opening sequence is presented in 1.85:1 nonanamorphic widescreen, but then suddenly changes to 1.33:1 full frame for the duration of the film. Aside from that oddity, this is just a hideous looking presentation all the way around, as the heavily grained source print is nicked, ripped, scratched and badly spliced. Colors are generally too red and quite smeary, with fleshtones appearing often too orange, though mostly just overly pale.
Image Transfer Grade: D-
Audio Transfer Review: The only good thing about the English mono dub is that the dialogue is understandable. The fact that the words and sound effects rarely match what is occurring onscreen is another story entirely. Frequently the audio would cut out entirely for a few seconds, as if dialogue had been hastily edited for television. Loud, annoying hiss is evident most of the time, and during the first scene it was so dominant I thought it was rain.
Audio Transfer Grade: D-
Disc ExtrasAnimated menu with music
Scene Access with 7 cues and remote access
Packaging: AGI Media Packaging
Extras Review: No subtitles, no trailers, and a meager seven chapter stops.
Extras Grade: F
Final CommentsEven the frequent bouts of nudity from ravishing Stella Carnacina cannot resurrect any measurable amount of entertainment from this dull Italian possession flick. The horrible image transfer and the laughably bad English dub only make the journey even more difficult to endure.
Rich Rosell 2003-09-21