Monday, August 1, 2011

'Eerie Midnight Horror Show': Almost worth staying up for

The Eerie Midnight Horror Show (aka "Enter the Devil", "The Devil Obsession", and "The Sexorcist") (1974)
Starring: Stella Carnacina, Chris Avram, Ivan Rassimov, Lucretia Love, Luigi Pistilli, and Gabriele Tinti
Director: Mario Gariazzo
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

While working in proximity to a relic tied to a Satanic cult noted for its wild orgies, young Daniele (Carnacina) is possessed by Satan. Before you know it, she is engaging in wild masturbation and making in decent proposals to anyone who will listen. Her parents (Avram and Love) taker her to a remote nunnery where they hope a famed exorcist (Pistilli) will cure her.

A film with little reason for being other than it was made to catch some of the money raining down from the record-breaking box office of "The Exorcist" in the early 1970s, "The Eerie Midnight Horror Show" plays like a sleazier, less coherent version than the block it was chipped off from.

However, the rambling, wandering story structure was the most interesting thing about the picture; it brought a sense of realism to a film that at times works a little too hard to bring deeper meaning to its parade of titilating and shocking imagery. The haphazard way scenes are strung together and the badly connected logic versus action of just about everyone in the picture, from the demon straight up through the priest called in to cast him out, gives the movie a sense of what I imagine it would probably be like if there really was such a thing as demonic possession.

But, aside from some creepy imagery here and there, and scenes of a young woman engaging in sexual activity that will make you feel a little dirty while you watch it, there's really nothing here that's noteworthy. Everything is either bland or overplayed to the point where it loses impact, such as the handsome, sexy demonic figure. The casting of Ivan Rassimov was a clever move, as he is both a very attractive man and has the ability to look exceptionally creepy... but his lines are so over the top with their melodrama that he becomes almost a parody of the evil he is supposed to represent.

I came across this film as part of the 50-movie megapack "Pure Terror" collection, and as such it is relatively harmless filler. However, I don't believe it would be worth the price to rent or purchase as a stand-alone film unless you are a dedicated student or rabid fan of this particular horror sub-genre.


  1. I run across these types of flicks in these mega-packs and I agree in such a space they aren't all that big a deal. If they suck, then there's lots more to make up for it, and you know many of the movies in a package like that are going to be rotten.

    But when I see these packaged alone for half or a third of what I can get the mega-pack for, I feel bad for folks (me sometimes too) who get stuff like this in that format.

    Rip Off

  2. Steve - you absolutely nailed this one (to a cross?) Perfect review of a middling thriller whose reputation is a bit larger than life. While we didn't have HBO then - we had Showtime only - I remember seeing this in the HBO guide in the late 70's when we were visiting my parents' friends a couple of towns over. I was hoping their card game would run late enough that their daughter and I could check this movie out - can you imagine the effect this would have had on us at around 12 and 10 years old, respectively? We didn't end up staying around long enough (I think the movie came on only after midnight due to its content). I saw it not long ago for the first time on DVD. Thanks for the post!

  3. Rip: And I feel especially bad for those who pick up a film like this because it has a somewhat inflated reputation... possibly because more people either half-remember it or because some comment without having seen it but just trust the flawed memories of others.

    Craig: I think it might have been just a little too eerie for a ten-year-old. And you're welcome.... and I appreciate you commenting as often as you do. It's nice to know someone actual READS the "Scream Queen" posts instead of just arrives here via Google in search of pretty pictures. :)