Lisa and the Devil / Lisa e il diavolo (1974)

4.5 out of 5

In his acting debut as the misogynistic mafioso in Damiano Damiani's The Most Beautiful Wife the viewer is treated to an early glimpse of the undoubted talents of Alessio Orano as he played alongside the wonderful Ornella Muti but this was only a foretaste of the potential of a young man who turned in an incredible and intense performance in Mario Bava's masterpiece Lisa e il diavolo.

The film, a work of art in itself, distills a number of themes from prior Bava works combining the Gothic with the surreal to produce a truly intoxicating and mesmerizing experience.

Gabriele Tinti, the former husband of Laura Gemser, is great but sadly has far too little to do in this work, he is a chauffeur. Elke Sommer, beautiful, radiating wide eyed innocence of The Girl Who Knew Too Much, here the eponymous Lisa, becomes a plaything of the the devil Leandro portrayed by a lollipop sucking Telly Savalas in a film that manages to even eclipse The Devil's Nightmare in terms of outlandish and off the wall Satanic cinema. Mannequins, again used in a Bava film, prove once more their creepy worth and the term painterly does little justice to the scenes of the morning after the night before. Intelligent, thought provoking and a true visual delight. A real must see for fans of top tier Italian genre cinema.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics