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Directed by frequent Fellini collaborator Brunello Rondi, IL DEMONIO tells a tragic story of obsessive love, set in a rural Southern Italian village where Christianity has integrated with old superstitious beliefs. Daliah Lavi, best known to genre fans for her role as the tortured protagonist in Mario Bava's THE WHIP AND THE BODY, plays Purif, a young peasant who is distraught when her lover (Frank Wolff) becomes betrothed to another. When she summons the old ways to curse him, her erratic behavior is interpreted as demonic possession, and the villagers turn against her with physical and sexual violence.
Nominated for Best First Work at the Venice Film Festival (despite it being Brunello Rondi's second feature), IL DEMONIO has been hailed as a fascinating "combination of folk horror, psychological study, and unflinching social commentary" featuring a "sympathetic portrayal of female witchcraft and its early possession imagery" (Mondo Digital) that would inspire the infamous spider walk scene in William Friedkin's THE EXORCIST.
DIRECTED BY BRUNELLO RONDI
ITALY | 1963 | ITALIAN WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLES