"You can't knock a good chimney scene."
Chasemouse | 01/01/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"EXORCISM is a good but not great film. Like so many of Franco's films EXORCISM is at once brilliant and amatuerish. Franco stars as a kinky priest who serves GOD by ridding the world of sinners with his "Sword of the Lord." Crimes of Passion anyone? His best moments are shared with his lover/partner Lina Romay. It's always interesting to watch the couple interact together especially during sadistic scenes. Towards the end of the commentary track Producer Kevin Collins asks Franco how many times he has been killed on film? A more interesting question is how many times has Jess Franco killed Lina Romay on film?
Despite it's strong scenes of violence EXORCISM is not a gory film. The bloodiest scenes involve the beheading of a pigeon and the removal of a woman's entrails. Franco claims (on the commentary track) that the pigeon is a special effect. I seriously doubt that what Franco says is true. The film budget was much too small to afford such a fine effect and the disembowelment is further proof of Franco's meager budget. When the murdered woman is found by police her body (which should be mutilated) is smeared with thin blood. Not a single puncture wound to be found. Now, it is true that the excessive gore was added after Franco completed the film but a smear of blood on the body of a woman who has just been repeatedly stabbed to death is not quality special effects. You do the math.
The presentation of the film is not the best but it is superior and much clearer than its various video incarnations. EXORCISM is marred with bad edits (one abrupt edit even startled Franco), faded color, and unsteady frames. The commentary track by Jess Franco and his current producer Kevin Collins is a mixed blessing. Franco's English is a bit rough and the director is getting on in age. There are many moments when he gets on a roll but because of his low voice and difficulty with the language it is hard to understand him. During Franco's clearer moments he provides an insightful and often amusing commentary. The DVD also comes with an alternate clothed sequence which contrasts sharply with the nudity filled beginning, a trailer, and production photos. The keepcase is attractive and versatile. One side of the cover is the Synapse artwork for EXORCISM and the other contains the airbrushed art from the old Wizard Video case."
Quirky and weird!
Chasemouse | 10/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you have never seen a Jess Franco film, you are really missing something. (If you a "film-lover" who detests Franco, well to heck with you.)"Exorcism" is quirky and weird, even by Franco's standards. Franco's dual role as director and star give some extra punch to this work: Franco manages successfully (despite severely limited acting skills) to convey the pathetic and twisted character of a defrocked and homicidal priest who wreaks revenge on the participants of a "make-believe" Black Mass. Lina Romay shines forth in all her sleazy glory. The screenplay is sketchy , but this only adds to the enjoyment of the film.Although there are rough patches here and there (including some faded color), the print as a whole stands up well and is more than merely presentable. Along with extras, the DVD is quite an achievement. My thanks to the people at SYNAPSE for another great addition to their excellent series of strange movies."
Euro-trash porno/horror mishmash
ACS | ARIZONA USA | 03/24/2003
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Jesus Franco directs and stars in this story about a crazed ex-priest who witnesses a series of staged "Black Masses." Convinced the participants are possessed by Satan, he kills them in order to "exorcise" their demons. Although this storyline has a lot of promise, numbingly repetitive dialogue and Franco's amateurish acting keep the film from reaching its true potential. It's also padded with numerous sex scenes-featuring suggested autoerotism, bondage, sexualized torture, lesbianism and an orgy, among other things-none of which serve to advance the plot. The result is a film that tries to be both porno and horror film, but doesn't really succeed at either.On the plus side, this DVD from Synapse Films features several worthwhile extras, including the first-ever commentary by Jess Franco, an alternate opening sequence, the trailer from the heavily-cut U.S. release (titled "Demoniac") and other goodies. According to the liner notes, this film was restored from a number of different sources, so you see color shifts and slight jumps throughout the movie. It's slightly annoying at times, but nothing major. The monaural soundtrack is less than perfect (not uncommon for rare, older films like this) but doesn't detract from the viewing experience too much. Two out of five stars."
Another half hearted effort of Franco
ACS | 11/19/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, I am quite happy that Image licensed the movie to Synapse. In this way, the DVD became a careful release with some effort spend on restoration and bonus material, including an interview with Franco and Romay.
The master must have been in a terrible state, so that after remastering there are still extremely many smalls jumps and color shifts from frame to frame which are quite annoying (but fit well to the "production values" of the movie). The sound, however, is fine.
The movie itself is rather disappointing, because it has a lot of potential which hasn't been explored. In fact, the opening scene featuring a black mass in which a white pigeon is sacrificed (which Franco claims to be a "sophisticated special effect", i.e., a false pigeon, but in view of the other sophisticated special effects in the movie, I have my doubts), Jess Franco as the defrocked priest writing S/M-stories based on true experiences, his suffering looks when attending black masses, and his attraction to the lesbian Anna, all this makes one hope for an utterly strange and interesting movie.
Unfortunately, Franco fails to develop the material in any direction, give it any interesting treatment, or built a climax. Instead, the movie remains on a low sexploitative level, either depicting sex scenes or repeating in almost identical fashion the rites of the black masses and the exocirsm. All this culminates in an extremely weak ending. Moreover, Franco's usual deficiencies are also present: out of focus shots, crude editing, shaky camera work.
So what remains are an exciting opening, some interesting scenes, but, overall, a rather boring movie."