Danger: Diabolik : Ah, there is nothing so pretty as paisley in high-definition, and nothing so blue as John Philip Law's eyes. Horror fans know director Mario Bava for films like Black Sunday, Blood & Black Lace, and Bay of Blood. But some don't know he directed other genres as well, and excelled in the cheesy crime thriller. (Danger: Diabolik is the main source of inspiration for the Austin Powers movies, by the by.) Right in line with contemporary but better-known offerings such as Barbarella or the Batman TV series, this flick is a must-see for all of Bava fandom.
Lisa & The Devil & The House of Exorcism (double feature)
Lisa & The Devil : Who loves ya, Beelzebub? Why, Kojak… er, Telly Savalas, of course! The lollypop licking Lucifer shadows lovely Lisa throughout this lesser-known, more unusual of Italian giallo master Mario Bava's oeuvres, which was released in 1973 at the height of the cinematic Satanic panic. Cool blonde Elke Sommer (Baron Blood) stars as Lisa, lost in an imposing, ancient Spanish city. After seeing a fresco of the devil, she experiences odd encounters with white-gloved weirdo (Savalas) and a crudely made mannequin who comes to life only be killed, she encounters a wealthy couple (Eduardo Fajardo, Sylva Coscina) and their chauffeur (Gabriele Tinti), who pick Lisa up and drive her to her inevitable doom. Their fancy automobile breaks down in front of a decrepit, oh-so-Gothic mansion — where a blind countess (Alida Valli) lives with her mentally muddled (and badly dressed) son, Max (Alessio Orano). And who should be their bald-headed butler? Leandro is all too happy to see Lisa again, and the wicked games begin!
The House of Exorcism : This is basically a re-working of Lisa & The Devil by producer Alfredo Leone after the first version flopped. Leone decided to re-edit and re-shoot the movie as an demonic possession story, trying desperately to cash in on the success of The Exorcist. Bava’s original Lisa and the Devil morphs into a flashback movie within a movie. Elke Sommer was brought back for extra scenes, with Robert Alda added as a priest.
Also new from Kino Classics & Redemption are:
Black Sunday (1960)
and Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson