Italian Possession

Il Demonia

The residents of a mountain village in Southern Italy think the local peasant girl Purif is demonically possessed. Just because she does the upside down spider walk (predating the one in the extended version of The Exorcist by 10 years) and goons out when a cross is liberally applied to her forehead isn’t exactly proof. Then again, when you live in a remote town where the houses are made of stone and the local crops are rock, you’re quick to hysterical superstition. (There’s nothing else to do for entertainment there except water the rock crops.)

Il Demonia

But had they stopped freaking out for just a dang second, they’d discover Purif isn’t evil saturated at all, but a young girl scorned by Antonio, the only guy left in town without shattered shards for teeth. (Gravel is a bit tough on the tooth.) So she can be forgiven for attempting half-baked voodoo, freaking out and trying to disrupt his wedding ceremony with goats and what looks to be a dead bunny rabbit. (She didn’t kill Mr. Fuzzy; probably some other demon possessed person or a harvested rock did it.)

Il Demonia

To make matters worse, her freakouts, which give illustrative meaning to the phrase, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” aren’t doing a lot to argue the contrary. When Purif’s hauled into church, she flips over and does the inverted spider dance move while the priest and a gaggle of onlookers just stare with their toothless mouths open in disbelief. And nowhere is disbelief more evident than in a church.

Il Demonia

While Antonio is getting ready to fulfill his husbandly duties to a gal with a uni-brow and whose clearly not happy to be fulfilled, Purif continues her goon out. This forces the villagers to push her down on the rock crops, throw rock crops at her and banish her from ever setting foot back in the rock crops ever again. (Earlier attempts to torch the “witch” failed because hey, ROCK DOESN’T BURN.) And to add filler to this diller, Purif is tied up and G-rated assaulted twice, once by a priest and another a toothless, bearded hag. (Apologies to the Stones — the band, not the village’s primary food source.)

Il Demonia

Such are the not-so-happy moments of Il Demonia (1963) with no sub-titles to enhance its quirky nuances. As could be expected, it does not end well for Purif. When she finally persuades Antonio to re-rock the casbah just a day after his marriage, he fatals her out of guilt and/or shame. That was not very knife of him. Too bad; she had all of her teeth. Off the hook bat-sh*t crazy, but man, nice chompers.

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