(1975, It, 112 min) Dir Paolo Andreotti. Cast Nicoletta Elmi, Carla Gravina, Mel Ferrer.
Whereas the majority of exorcism films take their cue from The Exorcist and follow the story from the perspective of the parents and/or the priests, The Night the Devil Came for Sandy takes a different perspective – that of the possessed. As if that wasn’t innovation enough, as suggested by the title the whole film also takes place over the course of one night. The film opens with young Sandy (eleven year old horror vet Elmi) being tucked into bed by her mother who leaves the night-light on and goes downstairs. All is quiet until, just before Sandy drifts off to sleep, a voice comes from the darkness at the far side of the room, the voice of a small boy. “Hi Sandy,” says the voice from the dark, “My name’s Phillip.” Sandy sits up and peers into the darkness but can’t see anyone there. “Hi Phillip,” she replies, “Why are you in my bedroom?” The voice laughs. “Because I want us to be friends.” Soon enough the conversation trots along from inside the bedroom to the inside of Sandy’s head and Andreotti has plenty of excuses to throw all sorts of madness at the screen, from hair-raising dream visions of a blood-dripping Satan in her room to savage biting attacks from the possessed Sandy on the clergy (hastily assembled in the middle of the night via, presumably, some sort of exorcism hotline). Pretty well handled from the usually schlocky Andreotti with an appropriately bonkers Morricone soundtrack.