Monday, June 22, 2009

review: riti, magie nere e segrete orge nel trecento

A rough translation of the title would be "Black Magic Rites And Secret Orgies of the Fourteenth Century", and that really gives you a pretty good idea of what you're in for. The plot, as it were, revolves around a series of virgin sacrifices (natch) in order to revive a witch, and really that's all you need to know -- the subtitles on the Redemption Films dvd are kind of a mess and you're better just turning them off and turning the volume up. Part of what makes this movie so great (if you're into this sort of thing -- if you're not, this is gonna be a completely incomprehensible freakout) is how relentless it is. Director Renato Polselli (who brought us the equally loopy Delerium) isn't trying to make a standard mystery here, and thank God for that, so there's hardly any boring "Let's stand around and discuss what's going on and try to figure out why people keep getting killed in insanely elaborate and garish ways" scenes like you get with Bava (and giallos in general), it's just psychedelic flashbacks and camera trickery and gratuitous 70s nudity (two words: Rita Calderoni) and a gorgeous echoplexed-to-heaven soundtrack from beginning to end. There's actually not that many murders, and it's definitely not one for gorehounds (Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has a way gorier heart-ripping sequence and that's probably the nastiest thing in the movie) but the whole film has such a drug-damaged atmosphere of weirdness that you won't even notice until it's over. The transfer is a startlingly nice 16:9 from the original negative, so the colors really pop. When I restart Film Cult (after I get back to Austin) this one is definitely on the list.

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