While visiting Toledo, Spain, American tourist Lisa Reiner (Elke Sommer) experiences a feeling of deja vu when she sees an ancient mural of the Devil carrying away the dead. Hearing a familiar melody, she wanders away from... more » her companions into a series of encounters with men who inexplicably recognize her from a past life. Hopelessly lost as night falls, Lisa begs a ride from a passing Packard, which breaks down outside a mansion where a young man (Alessio Orano) lives with his blind mother (Alida Valli) and a charming butler (Telly Savalas), who just happens to resemble the Devil from the mural! After a night of murder, necrophilia and horrific revelations, Lisa comes face-to-face with the secrets of her past identity and her connection to the bizarre rituals she has witnessed. This is the original Mario Bava film later reworked and reshot for American release as "The House of Exorcism."« less
"The new Double-DVD of Mario Bava's great LISA AND THE DEVIL and it's re-edited abomination version HOUSE OF EXORCISM is a must for euro-horror fans. Bava's original version of LISA is one of the best lyrical euro-horror films ever. The presentation here looks just like the old ELITE laserdisc which also suffered from some slight digital artifacting...nothing awful, but it isn't perfect. Everything about this move is great- the music, the style, just the general feel of it...it's also completely unconventional. Of course, than there's the re-edited HOUSE OF EXORCISM version which added new "exorcist" type scenes and rearranged the film to make it accessible to audiences in the mid-70's. It's bad, of course, but it's great to have both versions together to see exactly how the film was damaged by the re-edit....this DVD in a way is the euro-trash fan's version of the Criterion "Brazil" DVD! As far as extras go, the DVD unfortunately does not have 2 alternate scenes that were on the ELITE LD - one being an alternate extra gory scene of Silva Koscina's death and the other an alternate erotic scene between Elke and Orano. The DVD does contain the extra 'unfinished' softcore sex scene, though, so why the other 2 scenes were left off is strange and disappointing. Other extras include the uncompleted L&TD trailer (also on the LD) plus 2 trailers for HOE. There's a very minimal "photo/poster gallery" (lasts 23 seconds! ) and some minimal filmos and bios. The HOUSE OF EXORCISM has an audio track featuring Elke and producer Leone who explains how he butchered the film (although he doesn't word it that way!). All in all, it's a GREAT DVD from IMAGE - don't pass this one up!"
EERILY ENCHANTING HORROR MASTERPIECE.....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 12/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One of Mario Bava's most hypnotic and weird horror films begins with Lisa, a tourist, becoming lost and disoriented after strange encounters with a man who resembles a mural of the devil she has seen with her group. The man is handling a lifesize mannequin of another man she had a weird encounter with who claimed he knew her. She accepts a ride with some odd people in an antique car that breaks down outside a mansion with even odder people inside including the butler who is the man she saw with the mannequin that resembles the devil in the mural. Once agreeing to spend the night she is subjected to madness, murder, necrophilia and nameless terror that propels her to flee the next morning only to encounter a group of children who say she is a ghost. Finally boarding the plane for home, she finds the other passengers to be the people she just encountered in her bizarre adventure only they are all now mannequins. The pilot is noneother than the butler/devil. Telly Savalas is perfect as this enigmatic stranger and Elke Sommer is fine as Lisa. Bava imbues this film with surreal atmosphere that plays out like a nightmare. His trademark flourishes with color and set design are vividly on display here. Truly strange story will keep you going from start to unbelievably weird finish. A truly unique film experience that demands repeat viewings. A cult classic by anyone's standards."
Bava's best and worst at once
M. Nichols | West Chester, OH United States | 07/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a marvelous DVD; the kind you wish they'd issue for many films, exhibiting the director's original vision and the butchery that was eventually released.
LISA AND THE DEVIL, as you surely know, is the "true" film and it is a marvel. A beautiful, haunting film that moves along with the pace of a dream and, indeed, the film itself is a dream of sorts. Much like David Lynch's LOST HIGHWAY, the viewer cannot discern reality from fantasy, and due to the beauty of the film, s/he does not want to. You simply enjoy the ride. Marvelous sets, superb direction, themes of incest, murder, and necrophilia reminiscent of PSYCHO make for possibly the best Bava film available.
HOUSE OF EXORCISM, on the other hand, is an abortion. A disgusting example of a butchered vision thrown together to feed to an audience hungry for films like THE EXORCIST. On its own, not even worth watching for the sake of comparison. What makes this two-fer disc worthwhile, though, is the commentary track on HOUSE... by producer Leone and Elke Sommer. Leone gives a marvelous account of both the filming of LISA... and the extra footage shot 18 months later for HOUSE... Leone himself basically says, "We did it for the money. We couldn't sell LISA..."
Well, buy this film for LISA AND DEVIL. You're not likely to find any other film like it. Hell is a nightmare. You wake up just to find it's beginning all over again."
Mario Bava's Lisa And The Devil/ Leone's House Of Exorcism
John Peterson | Marinette, WI USA | 04/16/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In the liner notes of Lisa And The Devil/The House Of Exorcism Alfredo Leone ask Mario Bava that if Mario had carte blanche (a blank check), what movie would he make? His answer was this movie, Lisa And The Devil, which is Bava's most personal film.Lisa (Elke Sommer) is a foreigner in a tourist group (it's never explained what country she's from, or what country they're visiting). While admiring a fresco of the devil (which looks amazingly like Telly Savalas), she hears music and is drawn to it, abandoning the tourist group in the process. This leads her to a man(Telly Savalas) carrying a life-sized dummy. Lisa recognizes him as the devil from the painting and from this moment on the viewer is taken for a nightmarish journey that's hard to tell which is actually real or a hallucination. Not that the end result is a mess, far from it; it is remarkable how Bava holds such a non-linear plot together so well where other filmakers before and since failed and it's easy to see why this is Bava's favorite film. The cast ensemble is excellent and so is the direction. It's definitely one of his best.Unfortunately Leone couldn't find a distributor for this film. Seeing the success of The Exorcist, Leone had Bava reshoot some scenes that had Lisa "posessed" (spouting profanities, spewing pea soup, and so on). Bava balked at filming material he felt was blasphemous, so he walked and Leone finished filming the scenes, edited them into Lisa And The Devil, and called it The House Of Exorcism. The end result is really pathetic and an insult to Mario Bava's movie. There is an audio commentary with Leone and Elke Sommer which is enjoyable and provides some of the information in making Lisa And The Devil but mostly tries to justify the filming of The House Of Exorcism. In my opinion he fails. The DVD special features include beside the commentary, a Mario Bava biography, Bava's and the cast filmographies, a theatrical trailer for Lisa and the Devil, two theatrical trailers for House Of Exorcism (whoopee), a deleted softcore sex scene between Silva Koscina and Gabriele Tinti, a photo and poster gallery, and liner notes by Bava scholar Tim Lucas. Too bad there wasn't an audio commentary by Tim Lucas on Lisa And The Devil; his knowledge is incredible and he's always interesting to listen to.As bad as House Of Exocism is, I still recommend getting this DVD not only for comparison's sake but for the Leone/Sommer commentary. Otherwise, get the Lisa And The Devil DVD which is available seperately."
Yet another testimony to the genius of Mario Bava
Mark Norvell | 03/25/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mario Bava was one of the great filmmakers of his time. Revered and often imitated by illustrious contemporaries like Fellini and Visconti, his work has had long echoing reverberations through the films of David Lynch, Quentin Tarentino, and the entire body of hopelessly unimaginative slasher films that tried, and failed, to copy Bava's films. Yet he was largely dismissed and/or despised in his time. Lisa and the Devil is possibly his most brilliant, and easily his most personal film. It's also a sad example of the way this innovator was treated in his time. More a cinematic poem than traditional "movie", this is a surreal, stream of consciousness fantasy about a girl (Elke Sommer, who was never better) who may or may not be dead and a butler (Telly Savalas, sucking a lollipop) who may or may not be the devil. Lisa and the Devil is beautifully photographed in vibrant colour, violent, disturbing, and completely brilliant. Inventive sequences abound, encompassing concepts as broad as identity, memory vs. hallucination, necrophilia, past vs. present, reincarnation, etc...There's literally no limit to this film's depth and beauty. Unfortunately, its complete disregard for conventional narrative flow consigned it to a truly horrible fate, being butchered beyond recognition, having extra scenes added to make it seem like an Exorcist rip-off, it was finally released as House of Exorcism. If you see this version anywhere, you should not only avoid buying it, you should also destroy it. It's an atrocity and an insult to the memory of Mario Bava and this, possibly his greatest work."