As a fan of Italian horror and Italian giallo, this one falls into the “what the fuck” category. Mostly due to the fact it is a different movie with scenes added in for American audiences and thanks to the success of The Exorcist. The original movie is Mario Bava’s Lisa and the Devil, which is still kind of a what in the fuck type of movie anyway. Both of these movies are very disjointed, but still enjoyable, for the most part. Strange mind that Bava, But, the scenes with the exorcism were added in by Alfredo Leone and Lamberto Bava, who is the son of Mario Bava.
Another strange thing about this version, it has four different years listed at the release. Lisa and the Devil was 1973, but I have seen 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 as release dates. I have seen a 1976 release for America, that is 3 years after the Exorcist, so why bother? In some other countries it the release goes into the 1980s, here is a list of its release date. This is a problem with Italian horror, sometimes the release dates are not clear.
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.
Some things to take away from The House of Exorcism. The added scenes are squeezed in and what they do with the plot of Lisa and the Devil is trim it down. The Lisa and the Devil film is stripped and used as a flashback on how Elke Sommer is possessed…kinda. I mean, this is a tall task for any studio. But to appeal to us American’s the Exorcism was added. This was similar to what we saw in the Exorcist, but not as good or shocking. But, there are some good moments and they nailed the nasty language spoken by the possessed Lisa. I don’t see why an entire new movie wasn’t just made. I mean watching Tell Savalis walking around with a dumby for most of the movie was strange enough in Lisa and the Devil…but the scenes with Lisa from the original movie, just didn’t fit in.
One of the best scenes from the House of Exorcism is when the priest is talking to Lisa and she manipulates his mind to see a…former lover? She is nude and trying to tempt him, give him a priest boner before reverting back to the possessed Lisa. It is actually a very good scene, nevermind the naked hot Italian woman.
I like this movie, it is strange watching Lisa and the Devil and The House of Exorcism back to back. But that is the only way to do it. Or not.
I bought the two-pack Blu Ray from Kino Classics from Amazon and it is worth every penny. Give it a try if you’d like. I think they may be on Shudder also. Watch them if you want some disjointed, very visual story telling the only way Mario Bava and Lamberto Bava can do. Gotta love Italian horror.
IMDB.com has a rating of 4.7
I give it a little higher, because the interview with the possessed wasn’t terrible. 5.6