(1973, It, 80 min) Dir Antonio Marretti. Cast Vincent Price, Barbara Steele, Patrick Magellan.
Reuniting Price and Steele following Corman’s The Pit and the Pendulum, Marretti’s The Spanish Inquisition finds the two of them in the same torturer/victim relationship as before. Young Francis (Magellan, still hanging around from Circo Nero and still wooden as all hell) longs to run away with his love Elizabeth (Steele) but when he finally drums up the courage to act he is interrupted by the arrival in town of the dreaded Spanish Inquisition. Price is Inquisitor Medina and from the time he first arrives he has his eyes set on Elizabeth. It all gets a bit Witchfinder General from then on – he concocts an accusation against her so that he can get her alone for some special torturing and, despite Francis’ best efforts, gets her up on the stake for the finale. But, just when you thought that unlike the Python’s Inquisition this was totally expected, Elizabeth’s head turns into a writhing ball of snakes and her unfurling bat wings snap the ropes that bind her to the stake. Yes, that’s right – she actually is some sort of Satanic hell-spawn and of course the Inquisition are running about like headless chickens because this is the first time they’ve actually seen a demon. But Elizabeth quickly blinds Inquisitor Medina and grabs a now not so keen Francis, making off into the dying sun. The special effects are terrible but points are scored for the unexpected.