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From the bowels of hell, the serpent has risen, to pour foul evil upon the world. Thats righht if you haven't guessed my next review is the 1974 horror film The Antichrist (L'anticristo) also known as The Tempter. It's director Alberto De Martino is no stranger to the horror/exploitation genre as he has directed such films like The Pumaman, Holocaust 2000, Dirty Heroes and Shadows in an Empty Room. Now this film is in fact a rip-off of the 1973 horror classic The Exorcist. Martino cashing in on the films fear factor helped make this film actually decent and very well done.
The film tells the tale of Ippolita, a young woman whose confined to a wheelchair after being paralyzed somewhat after a car accident that claims the life of her mother, her life is very comfortable but she's eager to walk again as she tries through the help of doctors and even unconventional methods such as going to a place where a statue of the virgin mary grants the people who touch a healing power to heal whatever is damaged but upon doing this she's not healed and the man that follows behind her becomes mad and runs away from his family who give him chase up a cliffside it is there that he leaps to his death as he crashes onto the rocks below.
Now upon her return home after the incident her downward spiral begins as she witnesses her father kiss another woman, even though she holds an unnatural love and affection for the man she becomes irrate after learning that one of the maids in her house knew of her father's indiscretion and never said anything about it and becomes ignorant towards and forces her leave her alone. She even explains her problems with the whole situation with the family priest as she tells him of the thing she views as blasphemous and even condoning the devil at the same time of questioning the faith placed into god. She becomes more biligerant as the film progresses on and she eventually see's a psychiatrist who hypnotizes her. This is where we discover that in another life she was a condemned witch whose to be burned at the stake for worshipping Satan.
Now upon doing this the open portal between being hypnotized and the past she was allowed to bare her soul to the power of evil. Than upon returning home she has visions of her father making love to the other woman causing her to smash a picture of him and then passionately kissing it as she falls onto her bed she has a dream where she spiritually takes place in a satanic ritual (eatings a frogs head, licking blood from a rock and then participating an orgy.) She awakens from this and becomes pleased by what had happened to her and then the next day she walks out of her car without her cane, no apparently when I said she was paralyzed I guess the films director failed to mention in this film that she has limited mobility but anyway. She takes part in a historic tour and seduces a young man into having sex with her but upon doing this she awakens in a field confused and not able to walk entirely as she requires the help of a little girl to help drag her to the car. Its then seen ina flashback that the young man she was about to have sex with has infact been killed by having his head completely spun backwards, breaking his neck.
Now another trip to the psychiatrist causes her to delve deeper into her previous life and watches as she burned alive at the stake and her possession begins. As at a family dinner she appears normal until she fills her plate entirely with meats and then begins to speak her mind about the filthy things her father and the other woman have done. As the doors are closed things start to move on their own, lights flicker and wind blows the curtains all around. Leading up to the entity in her telling her to join the devil and he'll help her, she then throws her legs on the table and offers the guest to fuck her, one even has the arm of his suit jacket burned when he grabs her arm. This all ends when church bells begin to ring and shit goes back to normal.
Now the fact that both this film and The Exorcist are considered the same as they revolve around a young female character whose world is taken over by the evil power of Satan and a father figure in the film whose fight against the power of evil to save the female characters soul, they are entirely different on a few plateaus. Scenery in this film is rather intriguing as they show more artwork than The Exorcist ever did. The families house has a hallway with head busts that look in either direction giving the feeling that at any time someone is watching your every movement. Even the inclusion of a hint of a incestual relationship between Ippolita and her brother Flippo helps further the storyline that something else must be going on inside this house that no one really knows about. Also the special effects used for thr film are the best they had the time and don't fail. As laughable as thry can be it doesn't matter cause it makes you sit there and watch in awe at how they accomplished these feats .
Now they even use Italian magic as a way to fight the evil presence in Ippolita but this fails cause the power inside her is way too powerful. Dashing all attempts to thwart it by immbolizing her which she floats out of her wheelchair and into the air outside the house and around to another window in her room. The power even chokes the man with her hand even when he is a good diatance from her giving the illusion that her arm has left her body. She pukes on her hand and forces this magician to lick it off before throwing him out of the house with threats of death. Even the torture scene of the father as it tries to hang him with his own ascoft but his death is thwarted by the son and psychiatrist. Finally after all of this shit that no one bothered to do in the first place they finally bring in the PRIEST!(who turns out to be the uncle.)
Now the film tears apart the priest and his manhood by having her call him weak and not a man at all, even going as far as to offer her up as a chance for him to finally fuck something. She even sets his bible on fire and calls it idiocy before offering him the chance to join their ranks by telling him that he wouldn't be the first bishop or priest to do so. But he prevails enough to convince the church to do an exorcism in which they send a monk to do the ritual. Even like The Exorcist green projectile vomit is used before the ritual begins. A little disgusting but to me it was down right hilarious cause the person who got puked on didn't even react the way I anticipated she would, she just simply wiped it off with little to no look of disgust on her face. Even the cheapest looking snake I ever seen in a film was used here. Theres even a chase scene in which she escapes the exorcism and her brother gives chase after only to be caught running how I once saw Jim Carrey run in Ace Ventura 2.
The film ends not how it is in the beginning with death but with the saving of her soul and the use of the roman colosseum as the backdrop for the final scene. Mel Ferrer whose role as the father is questionable at best as he fights with himself to see what he wants the most the woman he loves and the daughter he needs to save, but Ferrer is known for his roles in Nightmare City, Eaten Alive, The. Great Alligator, Guyana: Cult of the Damned and The Visitor. The director even admits that he regrets altering an image of christ with a penis during the filming process cause he upset the censors. Carla Gravina admits to taking the role of Ippolita cause she craved a challenge in her career. Also the great Ennio Morricone composed the score for the film. Who used between 11-13 violin soloist to create the sound for the piece he would entitle the "Infernal music".
Now if anyone has passed on this one cause they heard the words "rip-off" used in the same sentence with this film than they clearly misjudged this film. To not see it is what I would call a travesty, this film is beyond great and yes it pushes boundaries and taboos such as eating out a goats ass. But this film is far being a film that shouldn't be seen cause it clearly beats out The Exorcist in my book, thats alot you will say cause everyone in the world considers that film to be the best. But this filmmis on par with it if not better, its gothic style soundtrack is beautifully sounding and eerie almost making me want to break out my Ennio Morricone collection and start listening. So after reading this please do yourself a favor people and watch this film if you haven't yet. Cause like me I am a former nay sayer about this film and after viewing it I am a firm believer that if anyone else watches it you will be impressed.