LA BAMBOLA DI SATANA (The Doll of Satan) (1969)
Company: Twilight Time
Starring: Aurora Bautista, Erna Schurer, Roland Carey, Ettore Ribotta, Lucia Bomez, Manlio Salvatori, Beverly Fuller
My Review and Thoughts:
Wowzer’s. First off this is an acquired taste. One has to be a fan of these older murder mystery Italian films to fully grasp its entertainment value. Although this one goes over board, above and beyond most of these films, it truly is an odd duck of confusion and yet intriguing at the same time because of it being so different. I have never seen this film before and so going into this one I was thoroughly excited. I love adventuring into films I have never seen. Always a treat. This was a fantastic treat in that it was taken care of and brought out on Twilight Time Special Edition Blu-ray in High Definition. So many of these older Italian films are lost by time, or so badly degraded, because they were never taken care of. Thankfully Twilight Time choose this for Blu-ray, I can only hope that they will adventure again into the Italian style films for future releases.
So many of them need proper treatment. I am a huge Italian film fan. I love Giallo films. I grew up watching Italian Splatter films. Lucio Fulci is a Horror God to me. So going into this I was all the more excited knowing a Giallo style film would be getting a new outlet. After watching it, Twilight Time did not let me down, they amazingly fixed this film, although I have never seen this before I can’t imagine it being anywhere near the treatment Twilight Time has given to it. This being the first time on Blu-ray, I saw a wonderful example of how to treat a film. To be thoroughly honest yes there is a little grain in spots of images, it is not totally crisp in imagery, in a few small spots, but this does not falter or take away from the transfer in anyway. It looks fantastic for its age and also the reality that this film has never been taken care of in the first place.
Now this is not a great film, this not a good film. As I have said it is an acquired taste. Some will find this absolutely crazy or boring. Many might roll their eyes, and I did in certain spots, but with that said there are fans of this style of film making, and in the end I still was entertained because I have that acquired taste in obscure, lost, strange Italian films.
The plot is you have Elizabeth who takes a journey to the family castle. Her Uncle has died and the will is going to be read and the Estate is left to her. Mix in eccentric, strange characters, nightmares that are like acid trips, and a killer, and you have a spiraling weird, confusing mystery. The plot is hard to explain unless you have seen it. A lot of dialogue. Dinners, some really bad dancing, a gloved hand, and a conclusion that will have you laughing and in amazement at how over the top the ending is.
This was directed by Ferruccio Casapinta and to my knowledge this is his only film. He wrote and directed it. This is a film that makes no sense at times, but that is in reality some of its charm. I found myself, smirking, laughing and rolling my eyes in many spots, but that was the humor and enjoyment of this film. It has all the trademarks of a B-movie, if not Z-movie. It’s a drive-in cheese-fest of silly over the top moments that truly linger in just how weird or odd, or strange this film is.
This stars Erna Schurer as your main character Elizabeth. Erna has been in many Cult following films, B-movie classics like 1970’s Scream of the Demon Lover, a.k.a. Blood Castle which is a total B-movie classic that warrants to be seen. 1974’s Carnal Revenge which is a sexploitation thriller with trademarks of a Giallo. The one of kind Italian women in prison film 1974’s Riot in a Women’s Prison. One of my personal favorite Giallo’s starring the very beautiful and amazing Edwige Fenech, 1975’s Strip Nude for Your Killer. 1976’s Deported Women of the SS Special Section which is so godawful it has to be seen to be believed. Her last movie was the snore-fest, oh my god did I just sit through that, 1987’s Specters. She had a long career in the lower budget Italian B-movies. Erna Schurer to me is a prime, classic example of an Italian B-movie Goddess. She had such an interesting way about her. Beautiful with the flair of naive personality that displayed itself in her parts she acted in. Throughout the years watching her I found myself really attaching to her craft. She had all the sense of a classic Cult icon, or damsel in distress style of character. No matter if she was a full blown, important character, or a small on the side lines character, she was able to express herself, and stand out in my viewpoint. I thought it was great seeing her once again in a part I had never seen.
Audio/Video: My Rating:
Audio: 5 out of 5
Video: 4 out of 5
Audio is fantastic. The sounds are vibrant in tone, which most of this film is filled with dialogue which is in the original Italian, with optional English Subtitles. I always love hearing, watching a film in its original language. Films that dub or alter the original language take away so much from the film. The music comes off with a perfect ease. The range of music and dialogue are top notch.
A few minor spots of grain but no big deal, does not take away or alter the clarity of the film. The video is solid considering its age and the reality of this film being lost and never taken care of in the first place should sum it up with that. I am not one to pick apart a film because of minor things that does not alter or damage the entertainment of the film.
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: Italian 1.0 DTS-HD MA
1969 / Color
Extras: My Rating: 2 out of 5
Isolated Music & Effects Track. Score by: Franco Potenza. Another fantastic listen. Something the Italian films always had was perfect soundtracks. Sometimes the soundtracks to these films where the films. The music in Italian cinema always had its own emotional reality. In a sense the music in Italian film was a pivotal part in the overall outcome to the film. Music in Italian cinema always left me with a journey, a tale by itself. The music in The Doll of Satan is no different. Potenza was truly a master at his craft of creating an ear listening orgy of deep, in-depth scenarios that display on screen. His music made the film flow.
Audio Commentary with Film Historians David Del Valle and Derek Botelho. This was a fantastic listen. I thought it was humorous and insightful at the same time.
This is a mixed bag of a film. As I stated it is an acquired taste. Most will not get this film, or like this film. I for one am a fan of these Italian films that came out left and right, some amazing, some better than others and some forgettable. The Doll of Satan is one those films that will appeal to only a select audience. An audience that is few, but still maintains a fan base larger than any big budget high class classic could ever have.
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