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C&L's Saturday Night Chiller Theater: Lisa And The Devil (1973)

All you need to know is Telly Savalas plays Satan.

A little-seen classic directed by Italian horror film master, Mario Bava, this could be the only film where Telly Savalas plays the Devil. A fussy and overworked Devil, who oversees an seemingly endless cycle of jealousy, betrayal and murder in which our doomed lovers are trapped.

Stories of existentialist doom and repetition general suck as engaging theater, so Bava works hard to make the colors pop, the plot move along at a lively pace, the camera do things that cameras did not generally do in 1973, and he wisely centers the film around Salavas' delightful performance.

Historical note: This is considered to be one of Bava's "purest" works, in which he was give maximum license to make whatever kind of film he wanted, exactly as he saw fit. The film was also a commercial flop when it was originally released, so producer cooked up a additional story-line about demonic possession and re-cut into the film in hopes of riding the capitalizing on the success of The Exorcist which was released on the day after Christmas in 1973. The hacked-up version was release in the United States as "The House of Exorcism" and it you ever saw it, well, this should help get the taste out of your mouth.


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