La bimba di Satana (1982)

My favourite guilty pleasure movie is Andrea Bianchi’s marvellously salacious Malabimba. No corner of sleaze is left undiscovered in Bianchi’s Exorcist rip off, and it was with some anticipation that I looked forward to seeing this very similar sounding film from namesake Mario. Part of the rumours about this sleazefest was that it was started as a hardcore sex movie, and there are moments watching the version included here that it is tempting to believe longer more explicit versions of the scenes exist.

The plot as it goes involves the death of the matriarch of a family and her spirit’s subsequent possession of her young comely daughter, played by Jacqueline Dupre. Mom’s spirit is up to no good and wants to wreak revenge on her evil husband, played by spaghetti regular Aldo Sambrell, her servants and her disabled brother in law. Using her gorgeous pouting daughter in this way gives plenty of opportunity for salacious sex to be mixed with acts of violence.

Mariangela Giordano, who has endured many films like this one, gets to play a nun like her role in Malabimba and to fight off Sambrell’s attentions. Her particular nursing nun has some strange ideas about correct patient boundaries including encouraging the paraplegic brother to watch her undress and put on her nightwear which I am sure isn’t official dress for nuns. She also holds on to her purity despite Sambrell’s attentions but her fidelity is to his dead wife rather than any notion of chastity. On the plus side, she doesn’t get killed by a ghostly poker or have her leg sawn off so she gets off better than she has elsewhere.

Overall this film concentrates more on the sex than the horror, and is more successful in that area too. Jacqueline Dupre is very beautiful and her solo scenes are sexy if soft-core, Giordano looks well in her fumblings but Marina Hedman (Emmanuelle in America) is not quite the glamorous woman the plot may pretend she is. In this cut, there are moments where scenes do seem to be going into stronger territory but the film here is definitely soft-core sleaze. The film is easy enough to follow and the acting is competent with the exception of a hysterically over the top Butler come Satanist. The director rather overuses a panning shot away from the exterior of the castle and continuity is occasionally a problem with camera movement.

Basically though this is average sex and horror which may please diehard fans but won’t impress cinema purists. It will be interesting to see what extra footage Severin find for their planned release, but this is mindless entertainment which may pass the time well.
John White.