Written by: Michael Den Boer on October 31st, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Belgium / France / Spain, 1975
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Henri Bral de Boitselier, Jesus Franco, James C. Garner, Marius Lesoeur
Cast: Lina Romay, Catherine Lafferière, Jesus Franco, Nadine Pascal, Pierre Taylou, Roger Germanes, Monica Swinn, France Nicolas, Sam Marée, François Guillaume, Caroline Rivière, Philippe Lebrun, Olivier Mathot
BluRay released: October 16th, 2012
Approximate running times: 97 minutes (Exorcism), 69 minutes (Demoniac)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive
Sound: DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Kino Lorber / Redemption Films
Region Coding: Region Free
Retail Price: $24.95
Exorcism is yet another film from Jess Franco that exists is numerous versions. With the more well known version being the one under the banner Exorcism. Other versions include the standard horror version of the film titled Demoniac and hardcore version of the film Exorcisme et Messes Noires. There is also a fourth version of the film released under the title The Sadist of Notre Dame.
Content wise, Exorcism has more in common with the works of Marquis De Sade, then it does with the film The Exorcist. And to simply write Exorcism as yet another in a long line of Exorcist knock offs, would be doing Exorcism a great disservice.
At the core of Exorcism is a tale about a delusional priest, who views a fictional act of possession and then proceeds to lose gripe with his sanity. From there he goes on a sadistic killing spree and eradicates the perceived evil from spreading.
From a narrative stand point this film never finds a solid footing. Everything just kind of happens and to hell with rhyme or reason. And while this generally is a major blow to films of this of type. This is a Jess Franco film after and he is in a cinematic universe unto himself.
Short comings of the narrative aside, the film features most of the things that one would expect from a Jess Franco, soft focus cinematography, women in various stages of undress, night club sequences and sadistic death scenes that often blur the line between sex and violence.
Exorcism starts off with a bang, with a sequence of a woman hanging naked upside down on cross. And there are a few other memorable moments visually in this film. None have the lasting impact that this moment ultimately does.
Another area of note is this films casting, which features several faces that are Francofiles are sure to recognize. Most notably Lina Romay (Female Vampire) in the role of Anne, one of the women performing the act that sends the defrocked priest over the edge and Nadine Pascal in the role of her accomplice in that aforementioned act. Another familiar face includes Monica Swinn (Barbed Wired Dolls) in the role of a sadist named Maria.
Reportedly Exorcism is one of Jess Franco’s most personal films and is should then not come as a surprise that he has cast himself in the pivotal role a defrocked priest named Mathis Vogel. Performance wise, he proves to be up to the challenge and gives what is arguably his strongest performance as an actor.
Exorcism / Demoniac comes on a 50 GB dual layer BluRay. Both versions of the film are presented in a 1080 progressive anamorphic widescreen. Though no restoration has been done in the form of removing print damage this is easily the best this film has ever looked on home video. There are no problems with compression and DNR has been kept in check.
Each version comes with one audio option, a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. Outside of some very mild background noise the audio sounds very good as dialog is always clear and everything sounds balanced.
Extras for this release include the aforementioned standard horror version of the film titled Demoniac and trailer for Exorcism / Demoniac (3 minutes 23 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English). Also included with this release are trailers for Female Vampire, The Rape of the Vampire, The Nude Vampire and Requiem for a Vampire. Overall Exorcism / Demoniac gets a strong release from Kino Lorber / Redemption Films.
Note: This film is also being released by Kino Lorber / Redemption Films on DVD.