Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 4th, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: France, December 18th, 1974
Director: Jesus Franco
Writers: Robert de Nesle, Jesus Franco, Nicole Guettard
Cast: Pamela Stanford, Guy Delorme, Lina Romay, Jacqueline Laurent, Marianne Mariel, Richard Bigotini, Catherine Lafferière, Howard Vernon, Jesus Franco
DVD released: February 1st, 2011
Approximate running time: 100 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono French, Dolby Digital English
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: On the brink of financial ruin and suicidal Patrick Mariel makes a deal with women a mysterious woman named Lorna who promises him wealth in exchange for his first born child. Eighteen years later Lorna has come to collect the child that was promised to her and Peter refuses to comply with the agreement they made many years before she threatens to take everything and everyone he holds dear away.
Lorna The Exorcist is a Faust like tale that incorporates elements of Dracula and The Exorcist into its bizarre plot about a woman who can give you anything you want, at least if you are willing to pay the price. The film opens up with a lengthy lesbian scene that in nearly nine minutes in length. There is no dialog in this opening scene with only music and the visuals to guide us on this bizarre journey.
The plot as whole is very simple with a few lesbian sex scenes thrown in for good measure. These lesbian sequences are full on hardcore as the camera peers ever so closely to private parts. The pacing is uneven and if you can manage to stay interested tell the very end. The films climax is very satisfying. Jess Franco is known for recycling plots and twenty eight years after he made Lorna The Exorcist he would remake it in 2002 and re-title it as Incubus.
Jess Franco is a filmmaker, who often worked with meager resources and recycling themes, plot wise and musical motifs. And while these two things have at times contributed to some of his films not quite gelling. In most instances what drive Jess Franco’s cinematic vision. Is his distinctive visual quirks. And with Lorna The Exorcist he is at the top of his game. Many ideas and stylistic techniques that are used in Lorna The Exorcist that are prominent in many of Franco’s other films. Most notably films like Vampyros Lesbos and Female Vampire.
There are a handful standout moments in the film. The first out moment is a lesbian scene that takes place in a bubble bath. The other standout moment involves crabs crawling on a woman’s private parts. The lead character Lorna is cross between Faust with her devilish like deals and Dracula in the way in which she can hypnotically controls the women, who serves her like Renfield obediently served count Dracula.
Performance wise this is one of the stronger casts that Jess Franco had to work with. With the most enduring asset of this film being its two female leads Pamela Stanford as Lorna Green and Lina Romay as Linda Mariel. Pamela Stanford is one Jess Franco’s lesser known leading ladies. With her performance in Lorna The Exorcist being her most prominent and accomplished out of her collaborations’ with Jess Franco. Some Franco’s fan’s will recognized her from the film Cannibals were she played Al Cliver’s wife. Lina Romay’s performance in Lorna The Exorcist is the strongest and most memorable in the film. Jess Franco makes a brief appearance as a psychiatrist at a mental ward and Howard Vernon is underused as Lorna’s bodyguard Maurizius.
And while there is no denying that The Exorcist may have been at least loosely inspired Lorna The Exorcist. The end result is so far removed from that aforementioned film. That to simple label Lorna The Exorcist as a Exorcist clone couldn’t be farther from the truth. Ultimately Lorna The Exorcist is a well made erotic thriller. That flawlessly mixes erotica with its more supernatural moments.
Mondo Macabro presents Lorna The Exorcist in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. Before the film begins there is a disclaimer that explains how multiple 35mm sources had to be used for this presentation. Since some scenes / footage were no longer part of the film’s original negative. Since they had been destroyed when the film’s producer had re-cut the film and added hardcore sex scenes from another film. Needless to say Mondo Macabro have painstakingly assembled the film by using a wide variety of film elements. Some of which are not in as good of shape as the majority of the presentation is. And while there are some instances of print damage. For the most part it is mild. Colors look vibrant, flesh tones look accurate, black levels are consistently strong and details look crisp throughout. It should be noted that during some of the moments in which lesser elements have been incorporated that colors are not as robust and black levels are not as strong. There are no problems with compression or edge enhancement.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital Mono mix in French and a Dolby Digital mix in English. Removable English subtitles that are easy to follow and error free have also been provided with this release. There is background noise that varies in degree on both audio tracks. With it being more pronounced on the English audio mix. Dialog is generally clear and everything sounds balanced. Range wise the audio is rather limited. It should be noted that there are a few scenes that are only in French. And that while viewing via the English audio track. These scenes have English subtitles.
Extras for this release include two interviews with author Stephen Thrower. The first interview is titled ‘Fear & Desire – Stephen Thrower on Jess Franco’ (17 minutes 22 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). This interview is an insightful overview of Jess Franco’s cinematic style. The second interview is titled ‘Stephen Thrower on Lorna’ (12 minutes 40 seconds – anamorphic widescreen). The third interview is with French filmmaker Gerard Kikoine (14 minutes 44 seconds – 4:3 full frame, in French with English subtitles), who discusses working with Jess Franco and producer Robert De Nesle. Also include with this release are text bios for Pamela Stanford, Guy Delorme, Lina Romay, Jacqueline Laurent, Howard Vernon and Andre Benichou and a text piece about the film. Rounding out the extras is the Mondo Macabro preview trailer which includes clips from titles they have currently released or about to release. Overall Lorna The Exorcist gets a first rate release from Mondo Macabro that presents the film fully uncut for the first time ever on DVD, highly recommended.