Lisa and the Devil / The House of Exorcism: Remastered Edition
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LISA AND THE DEVIL: While on vacation in Spain, an American tourist (Elke Sommer) is drawn into a terrifying world of mystery, madness and murder in this surreal spine chiller directed by Italian horror maestro Mario Bava. A blind countess (Alida Valli), her imbalanced son (Alessio Orano) and a creepy bald butler (Telly Savalas) who carries around a mannequin all come into play in this fantastically bizarre tale liberally spiced with gruesome, gothic deaths.
THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM: Lisa and The Devil was later re-edited and re-released as The House of Exorcism (1976, 91min), adding the horror of diabolical possession, following The Exorcist's phenomenal success. After seeing the devil (Telly Savalas) in an ancient Spanish fresco, comely tourist Lisa Reiner (Elke Sommer) meets him in the flesh. Satan soon takes over her soul and drives her into the hospital, where American priest Father Michael (Robert Alda) does his best to exorcise the demon.
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Top customer reviews
If you are a Mario Bava fan, this is one you should definitely check out!
Savalas's Leandro, the butler who may be Satan, is the undoubted highlight of the film. Alternately cunning and downtrodden, obsequiously offering cake "with chocolate sprinkles", trying to sneak a smoke and having to quickly replace it with a lollipop(!) whenever the disapproving Countess comes by, ranting as he stuffs his face in an empty dining room after the meal in a scene both hilarious and chilling, he delivers what should have been a star-making performance a year before his first appearance as Kojak. Nobody else touches him in the acting department, though all are capable enough.
The original film was re-cut with cheap "exorcist" scenes to remake it into HOUSE OF EXORCISM after some unsuccessful screenings in Italy and at Cannes - which either was a financial success (according to Producer Alfredo Leone, who'd shot much of the replacement footage) or as big a financial failure as it was a creative one (Wikipedia). I'm not sure why the original did so poorly - it's a brilliantly subversive, darkly humorous supernatural thriller that I really think needs to be reassessed as the lost classic it is.
I will not do business with this dealer again.
This movie is basically Elke Sommers acting possessed writhing around spewing obscenities at a stupid priest character, and Telly Savalas standing around supposed to be Satan in the background throughout most of the film.