In this re-edit of Lisa and the Devil (1973), a troubled priest attempts to exorcise the soul of an American tourist who has been possessed by the Devil after witnessing supernatural events at a Spanish villa.
Tourist Lisa Reiner faints on the street and is taken to hospital. She shows disturbing sings of demonic possession, so a priest, Father Michael, is brought in to perform an exorcism. However, he first tries to investigate how she became possessed by the devil in the first place. Despite the fact that her personality has now completely blended together with the demonic entity within her, she none the less tells him about the horrific experiences she lived through in the mansion of a twisted Spanish aristocratic family with a dark secret and the devil she met there.
Though it's already listed as being connected with Woody Allen's Annie Hall, which shows The House of Exorcism as a twin-bill on a marquee, it's actually worked into a visual punchline since Woody's character, Alvy Singer, hates Los Angeles, and jovial Christmas music plays while this marquee, along with Messiah of Evil is shown, is shown, representing Alvy's feelings. See more »
This is the page for "House of Exorcism", but most people have confused this film with the Mario Bava masterpiece, "Lisa & the Devil", which explains the ridiculously high rating for this, "House of exorcism." When "Lisa & the Devil" was shown at film festivals in the early 70's, it was a critical success. Audiences responded well to that gorgeous, Gothic horror film. Unfortunately it was a bit ahead of it's time, and was considered too unusual, and not commercial enough for mass consumption. No distributor would buy it. So producer Alfredo Leone decided to edit 'Lisa', seemingly with a chainsaw, by removing just about half of the original film, and adding new scenes, which he filmed two years after the original product! It is important to note that Bava had little to do with these new, hideous additions, so technically "House of Exorcism" is not a Bava film. The original product is a slow, dreamy, classy production. A few minutes into the film, the viewer is jarred out of this dream world, as suddenly we see Lisa, (two years older, and with a very different haircut), begin to writhe on the ground, making guttural sounds and croaking epitaphs like "suck my co@k", etc. Subtle, huh? And the film continues like this, jumping back and forth between a beautiful, visual film, and a grade Z "Exorcist" rip-off. Leone was trying to incorporate these shock scenes, while keeping some semblance of a story intact. He failed miserably. When the choice was made to basically destroy "Lisa and the devil", Bava himself refused, saying that his film was too beautiful to cut. He was right, and it must have been quite sad for this artist to see all his work destroyed and flushed down the toilet. It was many years before the original "Lisa and the Devil" was seen again, re-surfacing on late night television. I had seen "lisa" long before i saw this new version, and it was downright disturbing to witness one of my favorite films "vandalised" in this way. Worth seeing only for curiosity sake. Otherwise avoid this insidious disaster like the plague.
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