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Sex, Demons, and Death

Review by: 
Sinferno
AKA: 
Diabolicamente
Release Date: 
1975
Studio: 
One 7
Genre: 
Sexploitation
Format: 
DVD
Region: 
1 NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 
1.85:1
Directed by: 
Salvatore Bugnatelli
Cast: 
Giorgio Bugnatelli
Mirella Daroda
Gianni Dei
Movie: 
1
Extras: 
1
Bottom Line: 
1

Sex, Demons, and Death? This is not only a film, this was the school psychologist’s exact written description of the pictures I used to draw on my Trapper Keeper during 5th grade study hall in Catholic School, my first intervention by school administrators on a long wayward path to eventual expulsion from St Lawrence elementary. It’s not what you think. I don’t, or ever have worshipped the devil.  I only wanted to design album covers for heavy metal bands when I was young.  Good thing I put all that sick, savage morbid nonsense behind me long ago in my age of unreason and learned to use my artistic talents for something decent normal and worthwhile in my forties. Anyway, this review is about a young satanic teenager and her mad, evil obsession to destroy everyone else in her life through seduction and occult magic. (What the hell are you all smiling at?)

At the start of the film a nice couple Marcello and Micaela Martinozzi still reel from a recent miscarriage.  It is decided that the one thing that would bring them closer together is adopting Michaela’s niece Letzia from a local boarding school and bringing her home to live with them.  You think her relatives might have thought better of this, as Letzia looks exactly like a nineteen year old version of my favorite sexploitation femme fatale, Dyanne Thorne (Ilsa).

Understandably, it isn’t long before the Martinozzis will truly regret the day they ever invited Letzia (Ilsa in A-cups) to become part of their household. Not only does she start seducing the maid, the manservant and Mr Martinozzi himself. But she also performs private voodoo rituals in her room and it isn’t before everyone is getting it on with everyone else. Meanwhile someone is secretly taking pictures of the infidelities, which you just know is going to come up later…As the lives of the Martinozzis and their household are attacked by a dark sinister, spiritual plague it isn’t long before people start mysteriously dying in bad accidents, which worse yet look they were taken from a student film.

So do we have Sex? Check. Demons? Check. And Death? Check. But while this film lives up to its label in only the most basic, symbolic, fast food ingredient sense of the word, there is a whole lot of wrong going on here that oddly enough has nothing to do with a crazy eyed pigtailed Aryan lass who looks like Swiss Misses evil sister performing satanic rites and laughing like Pavarotti all night long while others sleep. Because this film was obviously designed to shock, and failing that, to ultimately become Schlock, I will use the same title traumas to deconstruct it.

Sex.  Yes it is true, the characters here are creatures possessed and they routinely get it on with each other with all the fleeting full frontal follies you might expect. But much like a 1950’s film on abstinence the sex scenes only seem to go on just long enough to establish to you, the viewer how wrong they are, and they end immediately, usually with a snap of the camera by the unseen polaroid phantom.  It is only when certain characters start going nuts in the final scenes of this film and start confronting each other with accusations and polaroid’s when you can actually tell who was supposed to have slept with whom. Spoiler Alert…everyone is hittin’ it/ gettin’ hit.

Demons. I don’t need “The Little Golden Book” version of  the Necronomican to envision believable evil onscreen, but I do like to see dark forces personified slightly more realistically than a teenage girl who can make faces of her soon to be victims appear on the wall with a projector.  Also one of the “scary” secondary spook characters in this film is just a guy who wears a Mexican “Day of the Dead” celebratory skull mask.  If they insist on using such a cheesy, store bought cross cultural characterization for a boogeyman of ultimate, infinite evil it would been nice to hear an authentic scary Mariachi theme (in a minor key) whenever he appeared.  (Come to think of it, that might have been just too horrifying).

Death. This film is so gratuitous with its evil occult murders that its finale could almost be a called self-cleaning.  Still, the killings look like something out of a student film, only perhaps more senselessly edited.  A person rolls twenty feet down a slight incline and breaks her neck on a tree. Another guy dies in a simulated car wreck; using such unconvincing sequential shots that it almost seems like a bad attempt at stop motion. Even so, I found myself thinking that the people in this film couldn’t die fast enough, not because there were no “good” characters halfway through this that the “normal” viewer could identify with, but because it meant that this thing had to be ending soon.

Subtitled, presented on stressed film stock and with a trailer as its own special feature I simply say that this suggestive film of hell’s evil incarnate is simply no damn good.

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