Satan was all the rage back in the 70’s, and the way the culture went, who could blame them? It was all brought home thanks to a little movie called The Exorcist, a movie that was so big even Billy Graham condemned it, even when it’s message was mostly pro-Church! Soon everybody got into the act, with every low-budget production company in every country releasing their own version of the Exorcist. Spain got into the act as well, with it’s own horror star, Paul Naschy (from the Waldemar Daninsky werewolf films) making his own version of the story. In his take, we are treated to young Leila (Grace Mills), a young hippie girl who wants to go through all the extremes she can, thanks to her boyfriend Richard. But soon her behavior goes from wild and rebellious to downright blasphemous, and she begins to change, internally as well as externally. It’s obvious that she’s possessed, and her family asks for the help of the only priest they know, Father Dunning (Paul Naschy) to come in and stop the evil spirit.
According to the interview with Naschy included in the DVD, the idea for Exorcism was originally thought up in 1970, a few years before The Exorcist came out. Why don’t these filmmakers just admit that they’re ripping off something that made money instead of just flat out lying? I mean, Naschy, I love you and your movies, I won’t lose any respect for you if you say otherwise. It’s such a blatant ripoff that when the possessed girl gets herself demonic, she starts speaking in evil tongues, has her skin turn into shit, her eyes turn into what look like fried eggs, and of course, she spits up green shit from her mouth.
That being said, this movie is a really cool film, even if it’s not the most original. We have some genuinely scary sequences here, like the discovery of the corpse of Richard, Laila’s ex-boyfriend, where Naschy is attacked by a creature dressed as the devil, is pretty damn creepy. The people here also die with their heads on backwards, which was only spoken of in the Exorcist but here, we get to see it in it’s full grotesque glory, and god bless Naschy for that. The final possession sequence is very similar to the one in the Exorcist, then again most exorcism sequences in every movie like somewhat the same, but they bring in a more fantastic element by having the spirit leave the girl and enter the body of a dog, turning the cute little doggie into a bloodthirsty hellhound, way before The Omen came out. Seeing Naschy fight a dog is quite an incredible image. Add to that a cool 70’s soundtrack and enough nudity to satisfy your typical nerd like myself, and you have yourself something that’s not entirely original, but still creepy and fun. It’s better than that Emily Rose movie, I can assure you.