Written by: Michael Den Boer on February 10th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1977
Director: Pier Carpi
Writer: Pier Carpi
Cast: Anne Heywood, Valentina Cortese, Frank Finlay, John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, Irene Papas, Paola Tedesco, Lara Wendel, Ian Bannen, Ezio Miani, Carmen Russo, West Buchanan
DVD released: February 9th, 2010
Approximate running time: 87 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Synopsis: A group of women who make a pact with the devil, quickly realize the consequences of their unholy alliance with the prince of darkness.
Satan’s Wife is second of the two film’s that were directed by author Pier Carpi. From a visual stand point the film offers no real surprises and some of this might be attributed to his lack of experience as a director. He would adapt the screenplay from his own novel “Un ombra nell’ombra”. Reportedly the film was actually completed in 1977, two years before it would finally get released.
The plot bears more than a passing resemblance to several similar themed films that preceded it like The Exorcist and The Omen. The director claimed in a interview conducted around the time that he made this film that he had actually written a screenplay over a decade before the film went into production. Even if his screenplay had indeed preceded the two aforementioned film’s. Their influence whether intentional or not, is undeniable.
At the core of the plot is really a story about a mother and her rebellious daughter. As the daughter learns more about her father “Lucifer”, the more erratic and demonic the daughter becomes. There is no real mystery where things are going and while the journey is not a particularly smooth one since the plot often defies logic (even when compared to other similar themed films). The general tone of the film is most definitely geared towards the more exploitative side of cinema which includes a nude showdown between mother and daughter.
The one area where this film is strongest is its cast which features many recognizable faces like Anne Heywood (The Nun of Monza, The Nuns of Saint Archangel), John Phillip Law (Danger: Diabolik, Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy), Marisa Mell (Danger: Diabolik, Perversion Story), Irene Papas (Oasis of Fear, Don’t Torture a Duckling) and Lara Wendel (My Dear Killer,Tenebre). Outside of Anne Heywood and Lara Wendel the rest of the cast are mostly in the background and given very little to do. The film’s standout performance comes from Lara Wendel. Her piercing glare and convincing performance in the role of Daria the troubled young woman who has just discovered her father is “Lucifer”, will sends chill up and down your spine. The score for this film was composed by Stelvio Cipriani, whose other notable scores include The Frightened Woman and What Have They Done to Your Daughters? Ultimately Satan’s Wife is a predictable tale about Satanism that is never unsettling and it is virtually devoid of tension.
Satan’s Wife is presented in an anamorphic widescreen that retains the film’s original aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. This transfer looks like it has been taken from a VHS source. The image looks generally sharp during brighter scenes, while things are much harder to make out during darker scenes. Colors are average at best and flesh tones fare well. Also there are some instances of digital noise and issues with compression. Despite the limitations of the source used for this transfer. At least the source looks clean.
This release comes with two audio options, a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian (there are no English subtitles). The English audio tracks fares better of the two audio mixes as it sounds fuller and background noise is not as pronounced.
There is no extra content with this release. Overall Satan’s Wife gets a sub-par DVD release that leaves plenty of room for improvement.