The Exorcist inspired its fair share of imitators, no doubt about that. And, as I'm sure you're already aware, a whole shitload of those imitators came from Italy. But as far as Italian Exorcist clones are concerned, I can't say that I've ever seen one anywhere near as fucked up and brilliant as Albert DeMartino's 1974 shocker L'Anticristo, also known as The Antichrist and also marketed in the U.S. under the name The Tempter.
This one came to me on DVD as a gift from IC non-net Bro Gordon The Mountain Wizard, and the moment it hit my disc player I knew I was in for a treat. The most recent release of The Antichrist (shown above) is "completely uncut and unrated", and, as the back of the box proclaims, "contains the infamous Satanic goat orgy scene" never shown in theaters.
Curiosity = Piqued.
Let's take a look at the preview:
No thanks, Chewbacca. I've gotta drive.
Pretty awesome, right?
But the preview doesn't do the film justice at all. This is a movie chock full of flying slime and vomit, nudity, violence, death, and creepy Catholic overtones, beatifully shot and executed but still appealing the the basest of the horror-hound tastes. It borrows liberally from The Exorcist, sure, but it peels scenes just as liberally from The Omen and Rosemary's Baby, managing all the while to do it with such grace and enthusiasm that all transgressions are immediately forgiven.
The Antichrist is first and foremost the tale of one Ippolita Oderisi (played with equal parts obnoxiousness and inspiration by Carla Gravina), a parapalegic haunted by cryptic visions of burning witches, Satanic rituals, and, um... Previously-unseen goat orgies? Ippolita is definitely the "Linda Blair" of the film, and as it unfolds her actions become just as obscene and horrifying as young Regan's. As she takes on more and more personalities (both literally and figuratively), Gravina's Ippolita becomes, at turns, a seductress, a psychological victim, a medieval witch, and.... GASP! A murderer (below)!
Totally Krossed out?
It's all good, healthy, Satanic fun, made only sweeter by the bad English overdub and the presence of spaghetti-horror film legend Arthur Kennedy. But despite all the instant gratification and gratuitous shock-fodder, The Antichrist maintains a constant air of artiness and filmic self-respect, and many of the shots are quite simply beautiful to look at. It's a movie full of colors and weird tones, unafraid to get psychedelic when such a thing is called for and oddly prescient of the late-70's output of Mr. Dario Argento.
Fucking Italians... Go figure.
Here comes the airplane!
All in all, The Antichrist was an epic film experience that I would highly recommend to fans of Giallo, splatter, explotation, shit, any type of horror. It's rare to find a movie that can shift from poetic, pious grandeur to a chick licking a goat's butthole with such ease, and although the (parmesan) cheez factor is high, I think even chin-stroking film students could get off on this one. Exploitation cinema at its best.
One thing: the soundtrack, a collaboration between the legendary Ennio Morricone and noted Giallo composer Bruno Nicolai, is a disharmonic cacophony of violin-screeching goodness, and after viewing the film, I immediately set out to locate it. But the best I could do was a 15-track compilation featuring only 2 songs from L'Anticristo and 13 from 1973's Sepolta Vita, and even then it was a .FLAC file that was missing one of the two tracks. WHERE CAN I GET THE COMPLETE SCORE? PLEASE HELP ME.
Greatest hits of The Antichrist (if you plan on watching the entire film in the near future, skip this part):
You should Netflix it. You should buy it (CHEAP!).
I've found several chunks of The Antichrist on YouTube (the beginning, this part, this part, and this part, to be exact), but have yet to find a solid online source to view it in its entirety. If anyone has better luck, please share in the comments.