Haunted Honeymoon

Film Review: The Eerie Midnight Horror Show (aka The Sexorcist) (1978)

SYNOPSIS:

Satan arises seeking bloody revenge in the guise of an ancient sculpture with a shocking history. The lifelike carving comes to life and rapes a beautiful art student, possessing her soul. In a series of twisted orgies with the unholy demon, the girl is stirred into a manic frenzy, unable to control her sexual impulses. When psychiatrists and doctors are powerless to help the young woman, her desperate parents turn to a priest, an exorcist who ignites the age-old struggle between good and evil, with her tortured body as the battlefield.

Based on a true story, The Eerie Midnight Horror Show is a sex-exploitation Eurotrash classic inspired by the successes of The Exorcist and Rosemary’s Baby.

REVIEW:

Director – Mario Gariazzo
Starring – Stella Carnacina, Ivan Rassimov, Luigi Pistilli

Did Asylum films start back in 1974? Just kidding, but it goes to show you that even back then films were made to cash in on another movie’s success. In this case “The Exorcist.” But you ain’t gonna find no green vomit, head spinning crucifix desecration here. No, it seems all Satan really wants to do this time is turn a beautiful Italian art student into a crazed, sexually charged terror.

The movie starts off with the disclaimer that “the film is based on a true story.” With that in mind, we meet Danila (played by Stella Carnacina), a beautiful art student on her way to an old church to take a look at some old statues. There are two of them, and they each depict a man hanging on a cross. Of the two, one seems particularly curious and darn near lifelike. Almost as if the artist was guided by a higher power. The men around her agree and one of them promptly buys it. This is a priceless piece of art, mind you, but her and some of her colleagues just dump it in the back of their pickup truck and off they go.

Later, back at the school, Danila is left alone with the sculpture while she works on one of her paintings. Uh oh, bad move. The sculpture slowly comes to life and proceeds to tear off Danila’s clothes and rape her, causing the possession. Or was it just a dream? Needless to say everything seems fine until she returns home and finds herself uncontrollably masturbating. Her parents are in shock and quickly call the doctor who, after the examination, proclaims that “a day in the country with good fresh air” is all it will take to bring her back to her senses. But after another dream sequence where we see Danila being nailed to the cross, we discover it is Satan (played by Ivan Rassimov) himself doing all of these evil deeds.

This is one of those movies that is what it is. Cheap and exploitive with a few decent scenes and some unintentionally funny ones as well. One standout scene, at least to the part of it when Satan attacks Danila, is when the sculpture comes to life. It is carved out of wood, but it slowly starts moving, a finger bend here, a twitch there and the chest moving up and down as breath fills its lungs. Kinda creepy and really the only part of the movie where there is any tension.

The best unintentionally funny scene is when the first priest is brought in to take a look at Danila. As she violently thrashes about on the bed, banging her head repeatedly into the headboard and screaming, he just stands there like he is watching paint dry, his expression not showing even the remotest sign of shock or disbelief. When he’s seen enough, he nonchalantly turns and exits the room and, again with a what do I care attitude, informs the parents that an exorcism will have to be performed. Had me rolling.

The first priest aside, the acting is pretty good. Stella stands out as Danila and, with her pouty lips and wide, expressive eyes, she plays innocent seduction very well. Ivan, as Satan, seems to spend most of the movie laughing but hey, roles are roles. Luigi Pistilli plays Father Xeno and does his best to channel his inner Max von Sydow when the final battle is waged, which plays out kinda like the fight in Rocky 2, slugging it out, back and forth until no one is standing.

The effects are mostly well done considering the budget and the movie moves along at a relatively brisk pace. If you can catch this one for free or just love to watch movies about possession, then give it a look. Just don’t go buying wood sculptures of crucified men afterwards and you should be okay.

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