OTR Wednesdays is back and we resume our journey with the great detective and another episode of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. This week, we journey back to May 15, 1944 as Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce star as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the Adventure of the Missing Bloodstain.
As the pandemic appears in our rearview mirror, Jeff Owens and I one again return for our 5th visit to the Nightmare Junkhead Podcast! Yes, it’s time to journey Into the Mouth of March Madness 2022!
This year, Jeff and I sit down with Greg and Jenius to talk about the final two films in the 1982 bracket to help determine the definitive horror film of 1982. This year was, without a doubt, the toughest challenge to date as we’ll be talking about The Thing and Creepshow!
Tune into episode 327 to find out which which film survives to the next round. And thank you Greg and Jenius for having us back once again!
We’re back and ready to launch into cosmic adventure with Professor Bernard Quatermass! In episode 66 of the Classic Horrors Club Podcast, Jeff and I take a look at The Quatermass Xperiment (1955), Quatermass 2 (1957) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967)!
Don’t forget to check out the video companion on our YouTube channel. It contains exclusive content not available in this month’s podcast that you don’t want to miss!
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Comin up next month, we’re celebrating the films of Lon Chaney with a discussion about three of his classics…He Who Gets Slapped (1924), The Monster (1925) and The Unknown (1927)!
In episode 757 of the Dread Media Podcast, Desmond Reddick and I wrap up Folk Horror February with a look at the unique 1970 Polish film Lokis: A Manuscript of Professor Wittembach. It’s another example of how knowing a little more about the culture and history behind the film can greatly enhance the viewing experience.
Lokis is currently available on streaming through Shudder and on Blu-ray as part of the All the Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror box set.
Folk Horror – Il Demonio (August 27, 1963)
Cast: Daliah Lavi as Purificata
Frank Wolff as Antonio
Anna Maria Aveta as Sister Angela
Story by Brunello Rondi
Screenplay by Ugo Guerra, Licano Martino & Brunello Rondi
Directed by Brunello Rondi
Plot: A young woman in a remote southern Italian village speaks to Satan and curses a man after he rejects her advances, resulting in her family and village seeking an exorcism to cast out the evil.
My Review: Il Demonio is a forgotten film from a time period of great change in the horror genre. Being released in 1963, just five years before Night of the Living Dead changed the landscape forever, it more than deserves to be rediscovered now in the 21st century. Set in a remote Italian village during a time when superstition battled with modern common sense and science, it’s a tale that seems somewhat quaint by today’s standards. Purificata is a young woman who has opened her heart to Satan as a way to win the man she loves, Antonio, who is now engaged to a more sensible girl. He wants nothing more to do with her, regretting his past transgressions, but Purificata won’t settle for anything less than what her heart desires. After placing a curse on him and his new bride, she has opened herself to be possessed, but I often wondered if she ever truly was and was simply suffering from some mental health crisis or derangement. We follow her story as she is shunned by her family and village, only to endure a questionable exorcism by a lecherous local named Uncle Guiseppe, which is nothing more than a vicious rape. Eventually, a priest and nearby convent do their best to save her. Unfortunately, the story does not end well for those involved.
What amazed me as I watched Il Demonio were several sequences that clearly inspired The Exorcist a decade later. We witness Purificata pleasuring herself in a way that seemed similar to Regen’s controversial crucifix scene, although not as graphic. We also see Purificata spitting on the cross as villagers attempt to hold her back. And in what was clearly an inspiration for The Exorcist, we witness a spider walk sequence that is far more convincing and chilling that what was attempted in The Exorcist. It’s criminal that this film has never been properly credited for the inspiration, at least in any documentary or article I’ve seen or read. Its’ surrealistic themes of love and challenging societal norms through eroticism and paganism truly make this a film well-worth discovering.
- Israeli actress Daliah Lavi had a brief career but also starred in The Return of Dr. Mabuse (1961), Two Weeks in Another Town (1962) with Kirk Douglas, The Whip and the Body (1963) with Christopher Lee, The Silencers (1966) with Dean Martin, Casino Royale (1967) and Catlow (1971) with Yul Brynner.
- Frank Wolff also starred in The Wasp Woman (1959), The Twilight Zone (1960), A Dollar for Django (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), The Great Silence (1968) and I Am Sartana, Your Angel of Death (1969).
- While Bruno Rondi may not be remembered for his directorial credits, of which there are only 13, but he was a contributing writer on La Dolce Vita (1960) and wrote the screenplay for 8 ½ (1963), directed by Frederico Fellini. One of his last films, of which he both wrote and directed, was the cult classic Black Emmanuellle, White Emmanuelle (1976).
- While the creepy spider walk scene has been repeated in numerous films over the years, it has often been credited as originating in The Exorcist (1973). While that sequence was originally deleted and only replaced in recent years courtesy of the director’s cut, the premise for it actually originated ten years earlier in this film.
- Il Demonio was not a success upon its’ original release. In fact, Brunello Rondi was accused by some of being anti-Catholic. This may in fact be due to the timing of the film’s release, having been shot during the Second Vatican Council and released several months after the death of Pope John XXIII, a time of great change and, perhaps, over sensitivity within the Catholic Church.
Availability: Il Demonio is currently available on streaming through Shudder and on Blu-ray as part of the All the Haunts Be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror box set.