(1974, US, 92 min) Dir Art Blitzen. Cast Angela Raider, Pete Diggs, Harry Pork.
Given that The Exorcist’s release coincided with the ‘Golden Age’ of porn with Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door and so on, it should come as no surprise that someone would meld these two types of blockbuster together. Unfortunately that person was ‘Artless’ Art Blitzen and his effort What Did They Do To Patricia? (whose title, incidentally, is nonsensical) might actually be a step down from the likes of Jesus Franco’s Lorna the Exorcist, if such a thing can be believed. Angela Raider plays history student Patricia who has been possessed with the Paluzu, a spirit from an old icon, and of course this renders her an insatiable nymphomaniac. By the time the church gets around to drafting in a pair of priests to rid her of the demon she’s already drained three men of their ‘lifeforce’, which means exactly what it sounds like. Unfortunately for both the viewer and everyone in the film too, the aforementioned priests are sex-crazed lunatics with a rather unfortunate method in mind of divesting Patricia of her demon. This film is all kinds of wrong – not just in a moral sense (though you’ll feel in need of a wash afterward) but also aesthetically, as everything seems to take place in a series of nightmarish bedsits and in them ‘Artless’ Art seems to spend as much time lingering on the appalling décor or figuring out how to pull focus as he does on recording the ‘action’ itself. Grim.
(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.