Written by: Michael Den Boer on August 22nd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1973
Director: Renato Polselli
Writer: Renato Polselli
Cast: Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni, Raul Lovecchio, Christa Barrymore, Consolata Moschera, William Darni, Max Dorian, Marcello Bonini Olas, Cristina Perrier, Stefania Fassio, Gabriele Bentivoglio, Vittorio Fanfoni, Anna Ardizzone, Marisa Indice, Dunca Balsor, Tano Cimarosa, Carmen Young
BluRay released: August 21st, 2012
Approximate running times: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $19.95
Black Magic Rites has been released under alternative titles like The Reincarnation of Isabel. The films literal English language is Rites, Black Magic and Secret Orgies in the Fourteenth Century. Black Magic Rites was written and directed by Renato Polselli who’s other notable films include The Vampire and the Ballerina and Delirium.
The plot for Black Magic Rites juxtapositions present day with events that happened four hundred years before. Each character that exists during present day has a descendant who helped burn a witch named Isabella at the stake four hundred years before.
Black Magic Rites is more of a visual experience with the sparse dialog filling in the essentials of the story. The plot and characters are simple and not fully fleshed out. Renato Polselli manages to create many exciting moments visually while the story almost feels as an afterthought on the director’s part. The black magic scenes of women being sacrificed is where the film is at its strength while scenes like the humorous three way falls flat.
The film’s two leads Mickey Hargitay and Rita Calderoni had previous worked together in Renato Polselli’s Delirium. Mickey Hargitay once again play’s an intense character while Rita Calderoni is underused despite playing the dual role of Isabella and Laureen. One positive’s about Rita Calderoni’s performance is that she spends an ample amount of time in various stages of undress. Black Magic Rites features a groovy score that was composed by Romolo Forlai and Gianfranco Reverberi who composed Renato Polselli’s Delirium. Ultimately Black Magic Rites is an entertaining mix of sleaze, sadism and mayhem.
Black Magic Rites comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. For this release Redemption Films has created a brand new HD transfer from the film’s original 35mm negative and the end results are often impressive. Needless to say this is easily the best this film has ever looked on home video.
This release comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian and removable English subtitles have been included with this release. The audio mix included with this release is in great shape as dialog always comes through clearly and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include trailers for Black Magic Rites, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Lisa and the Devil, The Nude Vampire and The Shiver of the Vampires. Overall Black Magic Rites gets a first rate audio / video presentation from Redemption Films.
Note: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films are also releasing Black Magic Rites on DVD.