The Eerie Midnight Horror Show
Director: Mario Gariazzo
Stars: Stella Carnacina, Chris Avram, Lucretia Love
The story in this horror movie revolves around a strange religious icon and the demonic sexual influence it exerts on a young art student. After a gory dream sequence in which the woman imagines herself being nailed to a cross herself, the statue eventually comes to life and begins to sexually torment her.
This is a movie off that Pure Terror 50 movie DVD set from Mill Creek that I watched with absolutely no idea what to expect. The Eerie Midnight Horror Show? What kind of bland title is that? A movie with that title could almost be about anything. Well upon further research the film is alternately called Enter the Devil or L’ossessa and perhaps those titles would have been better for this piece or rather great Italian exploitation.
And the Award for Most Awkward Sex Scene Goes To…
Danila is a young art student who works restoring paintings, sculptures and other historic pieces of art. She finds a crucifix one day in an old church in Italy and is instantly attracted to the stunning nature of the piece. This is one of those gigantic, life size crucifixes that you often see behind the alter at any church. She purchases it at auction and takes it back to start the long process of restoration. However this is no ordinary crucifix. People look at it and say “wow, it almost looks as if the Savior is really alive,” and they are more right than they know.
Now I knew there would be SOMETHING up with this crucifix but I didn’t know that it was really ALIVE. When Danila is alone at the lab late one night Jesus jumps off his cross and rapes her. When I was explaining this movie to people that’s the point where they would tell me to shut up. Once I said “And then Jesus rapes her,” people didn’t want to hear anymore because, admit it, watching Jesus rape someone is pretty tough. The film is directed by Mario Gariazzo and I’m not surprised to see that he’s the writer responsible for Sister Emanuelle. I suppose when you’ve shocked religious audiences enough with nunsploitation the only logical step would be to up your game with Jesus Rape. This rape scene is typical of many rape scenes in Italian exploitation films I’ve watched in that it initially starts as a rape scenario but then the girl suddenly is into it and basically seems to say “Hey, this isn’t so bad after all. What was I so worried about.” It’s because rape isn’t that sexy so they usually try to make it look consensual and erotic but still carry the plot point of a rape which is very unsettling.
This Ain’t “The Exorcist”.. A XXX Parody
It turns out that this guy on the crucifix isn’t Jesus at all (obviously); he’s actually The Devil. I find it really odd that the sign of the crucifix which is used in so many movies (including this one) as a tool to ward off evil spirits is the exact thing The Devil would choose to possess. As if he thought “Oh, they’ll NEVER find me here!” So now that she’s had sex with the evil fake Jesus he starts tormenting her dreams with more rape. Well, more consensual sex actually because now Danila is really into it and spends all of her time locked up in her apartment and furiously masturbating everywhere. She goes at it so frequently she’s rubbed her skin raw. After a rather graphic scene in which evil fake Jesus crucifies her Danila develops open stigmata wounds but that doesn’t stop her masturbating as she starts soaking her genitals and the walls with blood.
She is, at this point, possessed by the devil. Enter the Devil is a blatant attempt to cash in on the success of 1973’s The Exorcist. The huge difference is that since this Italian movie features an adult women instead of 12-year-old Linda Blair so Enter The Devil is able to go WAY overboard in the sex department. While The Exorcist was rather shocking in showing this young girl say such vulgar and sexual things – Enter the Devil just has its victim DO these horrible things. She starts masturbating in front of her parents, trying to have sex with priests, but most of the time she’s just running around and screaming. At one point she tries to come on to her father with some naughty though quite uncomfortable speech about how “incest is best.” She does develop that same “possessed” look that became the standard after The Exorcist though, with the sunken eyes, parched lips and even the same gravely “your mother sucks cocks in hell” kind of voice.
There Could Be So Much More
In 1974 when a movie wanted to cash in on the recent hype of demon possession started by The Exorcist they presented their film where it was clear that this was a case of demon possession. It was solely religious horror and an elderly catholic priest was called in and the day sometimes saved. Enter the Devil follows all the mid-70s demon-possession tropes completely. There have been other films recently that subverted that usual structure and left the question of “Is there really a demonic possession here?” The Last Exorcist, if you take out its horrible ending, presented a rather interesting look at mental illness perceived as demonic possession. Of course that was well jumped with the piece of crap that was The Devil Inside so there really wasn’t much of a chance to explore it. Enter the Devil, however, had such a great opportunity to explore just that but because it’s trying too hard to be The Exorcist it misses that chance.
Early in the film Danila happens to witness her mother having an affair with Gabriel Tinti. The two illicit lovers aren’t just having usual sex though – they are into something far more kinky that involves Tinti whipping the woman with thorns (religious symbolism? Perhaps). Later, when the husband finds out he damns his wife for her sexual deviancy and worries that it might be the cause of their daughter’s “illness.” He says something along the lines of “Your filthy blood runs through her. I would rather my daughter die than become like you.” I feel it would have been a much more captivating story if Danila’s genetic predisposition to mental illness combined with her religious upbringing and the shock of witnessing the nature of her mother’s affair triggered a hallucination of being possessed. Instead Enter the Devil becomes a rather routine exorcism film. Well not completely routine; it IS very unique but it just could have been better.
While the copy of the film on this DVD collection was The Eerie Midnight Horror Show I have no idea why someone slapped THAT title on this. Which is why I’ve consistently referred to it above by the alternate and more apt title of Enter the Devil. Where did this title even come from? Oh, I know. It’s because The Rocky Horror Picture Show was popular. So why not give it a similar title and box art, dump the VHS into stores and hope that people were gullible enough to rent this instead of the more popular film. And people though The Asylum were original with their mockbusters.