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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Inquisition Re-enactment!
For any folks out there who might have wished that the (typically) brief flashes of inquisitional torture often shown in films depicting medieval witch trial scenarios (such as "Mark of the Devil"- Stuart Gordon's "Pit and the Pendulum"-"Goya's Ghosts"- etc.) were longer (and stronger!) ... THIS film is 4 U!

Purportedly based on real witch trial testimonies in...
Published 15 months ago by Ramm

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish entry into the "inquisition" genre.
This is a somewhat amateurish entry into the "inquisition" genre. The two victims are definitely attractive and their torments are quite thoroughly detailed. I give full marks to the producers for being able to convince the victims that complete nudity is the only way to accurately portray the horrors of the inquisition. Do not expect any competent acting, but,...
Published 5 months ago by sardonicus


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing Inquisition Re-enactment!, October 18, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
For any folks out there who might have wished that the (typically) brief flashes of inquisitional torture often shown in films depicting medieval witch trial scenarios (such as "Mark of the Devil"- Stuart Gordon's "Pit and the Pendulum"-"Goya's Ghosts"- etc.) were longer (and stronger!) ... THIS film is 4 U!

Purportedly based on real witch trial testimonies in South America, back in the day when the Catholic Church was 'doing its' worst' to the females of the realm via trumped up trials for heresy & witchcraft - this 'film' focuses on a particularly sleazy bit of inheritance grabbing by the local clergy. A recently 'orphaned' young 'heiress' and her female friend are accused by greedy church officials of consorting with the devil and other heretical mis-deeds, and both are 'put to the question' as the torturous interrogations were euphemistically referred to back then.

The director wastes little time in getting the 2 attractive girls into the dungeon and out of their clothes and pretty much the whole 100 min run time of the film is devoted to chronicling the various torments their naked bodies are subjected to in an effort to get them to 'confess', and sign their property over to the Church. The director adopts a bit of a documentary style by interposing quick cuts of various individuals giving 'statements' to the inquisitors about the women 'on trial' but the focus always shifts immediately back to the action in the dungeon so that the basic element of continuity IS the torture. In that regard many of the basic persuasive 'methods' are covered - flogging, branding, stretching, pricking, and 'the Spanish Horse' all get ample screen time.

The production values for the film are fairly decent with some atmospheric location shots in real historic buildings, but there is a bit of an amateurish quality about the whole affair. The two principal actresses do a good job, though, of suffering and screaming right up to the climactic burning at the stake scene. What makes all the nudity & torture somewhat less 'gratuitous' is, of course, the factual historic context and comment upon the corruption of the Church. In focusing so intensely and lingeringly on the abuse of the 2 naked girls this film walks a fine line between being offensively sexploitational and/or historically relevant. It is to the director's credit that he manages to use the excessive violence and nudity to lend a sense of poignancy and pathos to the proceedings that reinforces the underlying theme of the repugnant abuses against humanity that were carried out, in the name of religion, throughout much of the European world at that point in time.

By its' very nature and topic this is a pretty harsh viewing experience and adults only fare. Full female nudity & graphic brutality abounds but nothing 'pornographic'. Regardless, it certainly gives one their monies worth on the medieval torture front. The film itself is widescreen format in super sharp digital quality - the extras on the disk are sorta 'hidden' in the Espanol 'language option' of the start-up menu (included are some 'out-takes' from the movie and a 'commentary' track w/ the film's director and 'star' Amy Hasketh) - Spanish language w/ English subtitles. For what it is - I thot it was well done and would recommend it to those who may enjoy such topics.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Interesting...., October 25, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
After watching an interview with Amy Hesketh on YouTube where she talked about this film, I decided to check this one out for myself, this is a very disturbing film, like the Starz miniseries "Spartucus", we get to go back in time & witness human nature at its worst, there is no candy-coating our history here, based on actual accounts, we get two women, Amy being one of them, who are arrested by so-called men of God who has them tortured, they are stripped naked & what follows is a series of tortures & floggings, Amy is even put on a rotating rack over some hot coals, when you watch the blooper reel, you know no one was hurt, however, we are given a glimpse into what went on during this time in our history, thousands of women were subjected to this kind of abuse by so-called men of God, the inquisitions were a horrifying reality, it shows how religion can be so corrupted by men who are power hungry, & want to instill fear in others, I give the director credit for not holding back here, the stake burning scene at the end is hard to watch with Amy screaming, however there is a twist at the end that is quite satisfying, I won't spoil it here, my only complaint with this DVD is that it would not play on my DVD player, but did play on my PC DVD player, so I know it plays, but I am not sure it is Region 1, it says all regions & I have others that are all regions & play fine, so if you decide to buy, make sure you have a DVD player on your PC.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable for those interested in the subject matter, July 24, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
Having read a translated copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, I found this to be the most accurate film about the trials of the inquisition. I feel it outdoes The Pit and the Pendulum as far as historical accuracy, but you can tell that the budget for this film was limited. Amy Hesketh's performance is the best of anyone in the film and you get to see alot of her...literally. I did notice that some of the effects were lacking a bit of polish that could cause them to pass as more realistic, but overall it was well done. I have heard some people complain about the length of some of the torture scenes and the burning scene, mainly that the scenes went longer with the screaming until it became uncomfortable/annoying; however I felt that this conveyed more of a sense of what it would have been like to witness it firsthand. Not the best movie ever made, but if you have an interest in the Spanish Inquisition you should give this a view.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The inquisition in South America, July 10, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (PAL) (DVD)
Highlighting the hypocrisy of some of the inquisitors and their quest for wealth and possibly their perverted enjoyment of the pain they inflicted in the pursuit of rooting out heresy....entertaining....for those voyeurs and sadists out there ms. Hesketh and her companion nicely display their naked bodies in chains and on the rack whilst emitting realistic groans and contorted features...it held my interest for the duration...more interesting in its depiction of South American life under the colonizing power...no complaints from me
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Job By Amy, July 22, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
This is a great film in it's genre. They definitely made an effort at historical realism tho on a limited budget. There is lots of nudity but no embarrassing genital focus. Amy has quite a bit of experience under the name Jane Von Detlefson and is excellent in the torture scenes. The other girl is a relative novice but serviceable. I must admit I'm partial to Amy and would not have bought the film if she were not in it. She is so effective in every torture scene. She is not beautiful but cute in a kind of sisterly way with a decent body. The roast her on a spit scene is a classic. She looks and acts scared and I guess to a certain point she really was. The burn at the stake scene is very well acted tho it's not staged really well but I guess they did what they could. Some have complained that some scenes are too long and that might be true but one can always fast forward. I didn't, I loved all the torture stuff. Guess if we want Amy we're stuck with Jac Avila for the duration. Maybe he makes a passable villain but he puts me in mind of what was said about Robert Mitchum late in his career that his face looked like an old shoe.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Maleficarum, November 4, 2013
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
"Maleficarum" is a film about the Spanish Inquisition as it was practiced in South America (a little known topic compared to the relatively widely-known Inquisition as it was practiced in Spain). This movie was actually shot on location in South America, with a mostly Bolivian cast and crew, and that gives it a certain something that other Inquisition-themed films lack, I think. In addition some research was done in regards to the costumes, which are accurate for the time period.

As far as the content of the film itself? Well, the cover of the DVD gives a good idea of what to expect. History buffs who want some sort of deep exploration of the topic will probably be disappointed, as most of the film's running length is devoted to the film's two stars being shackled naked in a gloomy dungeon and tortured until they confess to their "crimes". There's some interviews with various characters to break the monotony, but it's basically a neo-exploitation film. Not that there's anything particularly wrong with that, mind. I actually didn't think that the film's violence was necessarily that graphic or disturbing, and there's nothing particularly lurid about the way the film is shot, no explicit sexuality or pornographic themes, but the almost non-stop parade of full female nudity combined with bondage and torture would probably make this an uncomfortable watch for some. The film's main star Amy Hesketh is a pretty doe-eyed brunette who put quite a bit of effort into selling her performance; her co-star Mila Joya kind of plays second fiddle to her after the first couple rounds of torture but for an completely amateur actress she's not bad. If you're a fan of other Inquisition-themed exploitation films like Paul Naschy's "Inquisition", then I'd check this out.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Are you as Brave as Jac Avila?, October 6, 2013
This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
Are you brave as Jac Avila? My admiration grows for Jac Avila's filmmaking with each movie of his that I see, but the first I saw was MALEFICARUM. Movies about the horrors of the Inquisition have handled the subject from all sorts of angles, from Ken Russell's "artistic" THE DEVILS to Jess Franco's THE BLOODY JUDGE. But "angles" are not Jac Avila's cup of tea. He goes at the subject straight up the middle, collision course, no turning back, cowards need not apply. Avila based this movie on an historical incident in South America. Hearing a "witness" spout historical "testimony" that to modern ears is obvious nonsense, then thinking the "authorities" cannot possibly take it seriously, THEN seeing the historically accurate results of that testimony--tortures that grow progressively more extreme--drives the point home and then some. Hypocrisy. Injustice. Despair. Young women heroically defying deranged authority. Hopeless Horror perpetrated by so-called Men of God and condoned by their Church. Avila pulls no punches. And remember, this kind of thing historically went on for hundreds of years, for real! Are you as brave as Jac Avila was in making this film? Only one way to find out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, but flawed, December 15, 2013
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Joe Z (Behind The Curve in Rock Hill) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Maleficarum (Amazon Instant Video)
This is almost as good as it gets. The women aren't fake-boob bimbos. They're both rather average, which makes it more appealing, more gritty, more real. The torture effects are pretty darn good. The restraints, well, mostly good. Cuffed to a wall as shown on the cover, the iron cuffs look like they might actually be effective. A couple of rope scenes, however, less so. The worst is when the Lutheran lesbian lover (as if that's a bad thing) is roped to a metal frame to be roasted over hot coals. Good as far as it goes except for the black and white plastic tape sealing the frayed ends of the knotted ropes. Oops.

This is a disturbing film, not a LOL slasher bit of fun. The violence is very realistic, long and drawn out scenes, and not for the faint of heart. But you can watch it because you know it's not real and the actresses almost pull it off. Almost. Normal women couldn't endure the abuse they endure and, well, about those bits of tape. Still this is not the kind of movie you want to fast-forward through to get to the good bits. The story actually hangs together with the townfolk relating their stories of alleged witchcraft, interspersed with the women being tortured...or is it the other way 'round. Doesn't matter.

4 stars and worth watching again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Torturously Addictive!, October 21, 2014
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
I bought this flick with mixed emotions, as I've heard nothing but positive things about Amy Hesketh as an actress (and director, or co-director). On the flip side, there's the torture, as I have never witnessed a movie with such brutality "portrayed". I was VERY pleased at the movie's deliverance in full. The torture scenes, although long, are as realistic as possible, save for the obvious CGI fire when Hesketh is burned at the stake. The flogger flogged like a pansy, too, but I wouldn't want to leave a mark on the two beautiful leading ladies if I were him, either! You will definitely at some point have to mute the sound, as the screams of agony will no doubt get to be too much to handle.
On a side note, the DVD didn't play in my Xbox360, but worked just fine in my regular DVD player.
I definitely highly recommend this movie.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Amateurish entry into the "inquisition" genre., August 11, 2014
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This review is from: Maleficarum (DVD)
This is a somewhat amateurish entry into the "inquisition" genre. The two victims are definitely attractive and their torments are quite thoroughly detailed. I give full marks to the producers for being able to convince the victims that complete nudity is the only way to accurately portray the horrors of the inquisition. Do not expect any competent acting, but, if attractive women, nude and tortured is what you are seeking, then this film quite adequately fills the bill.
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Maleficarum
Maleficarum by Jac Avila (DVD - 2012)
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