“Blood of Christ. Demon. A curse upon this man. A curse that he will never forget me. Blood of my body. Until the grave. A curse that he will never forget me.” That doesn’t sound like a love spell. Join this episode’s Grue-Crew – Chad Hunt, Daphne Monary-Ernsdorff, Doc Rotten, and Jeff Mohr – as they learn about the folk horror of Southern Italy in Il Demonio (1963).
Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 152 – Il Demonio (1963)
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Purificata is a young peasant woman in a small Italian villa obsessed with Antonio, a newly married man. Puri’s sickly fixation on Antonio leads her to practice witchcraft in an attempt to direct him to her, but instead, she becomes the subject of a witch-hunt when she appears to be possessed.
- Director: Brunello Rondi
- Writers: Brunello Rondi, Ugo Guerra, Luciano Martino
- Produced by: Luciano Martino, Ugo Guerra, Federico Magnaghi
- Cinematographer: Carlo Bellero
- Music: Piero Piccioni
- 2nd Assistant Director: Sergio Martino
- Selected Cast:
- Daliah Lavi as Purificata “Puri”
- Frank Wolff as Antonio
- Anna María Aveta as Sister Angela
- Dario Dolci as Father Don Tommaso
- Franca Mazzoni as The Mother Superior
- María Teresa Orsini as Nun
- Rossana Rovere as Antonio’s Wife
- Giovanni Cristofanelli as Padre Tommaso (uncredited)
- Nicola Tagliacozzo as Zio Giuseppe (uncredited)
If you thought “folk horror” began in the 70s, then Jeff and Grue-Crew have some excellent news for you! Check out this early entry into superstitions and curses with Il Demonio (1963). Is it possession? Is it witchcraft? Could be either, could be both! Regardless, the film is a must-watch for horror aficionados for the exquisite black and white cinematography and remarkable performance from its lead, Daliah Lavi, alone. If you’re like Doc, the gorgeous early Sixties Italian countryside is enough. Regardless, you’ll want to check out this discussion into an overlooked classic.
At the time of this writing, Il Demonio is available to stream from Shudder, Screambox, and Tubi. Il Demonio is also available on physical media in All the Haunts be Ours: A Compendium of Folk Horror, a stunning Blu-ray collection from Severin that includes 20 feature films plus over 15 hours of special features.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era records a new episode every two weeks. Up next in their very flexible schedule, as chosen by Doc, is I Was a Teenage Werewolf (1957). Wait! Is that the one starring Little Joe? Or is it Pa Ingalls? Or a probationary angel?
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To each of you from each of them, “Thank you so much for watching and listening!”