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Satánico Pandemonium - Mondo Macabro Print E-mail
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Written by T.W. Anderson   
Sunday, 20 January 2008

Satanico Pandemonium DVD Cover - Severed Cinema

AKA: La Sexorcista
Directed by: Gilberto Martinez Solares
Written by: Gilberto Martinez Solares, Adolfo Martinez Solares
Produced by: Jorge Barragan
Cinematography by: Jorge Stahl
Editing by: Jose W. Bustos
Music by: Gustavo Cesar Carrion
Cast: Cecilia Pezet, Enrique Rocha, Delia Magana, Clemencia Colin, Sandra Torres
Year: 1975
Country: Mexico
Language: Spanish with optional English Subtitles
Color: Color
Runtime: 90 minutes

Severed Cinema - DVD Logo
Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0
Official Website: Mondo Macabro

http://severed-cinema.com/images/horizon.jpg

The devil works in mysterious ways, as Sister Maria (Cecilia Pezet) will soon discover.  After a chance encounter with Lucifer (Enrique Rocha) while picking flowers by a stream, Sister Maria begins to have visions, dark visions tempting her onto a dangerous and immoral path.  As her grip on reality slowly begins to loosen, and the fabric of her sanity begins to unravel, Sister Maria will find herself torn between heaven and hell with nothing less that her soul at stake.

Cult icon Ken Russell is widely credited with sparking the Nunsploitation craze of the mid 1970’s with his seminal debaucherous masterpiece “The Devils”.  It’s important to note that Russell didn’t invent the Nunsploitation genre, but he certainly gave it a very loud international voice.  One so strident that its reverberations can still be felt in the cinema of today, although to a much lesser degree than in its heyday.  Once Russell’s cult hit had blown the proverbial lid off the mysterious world of the Catholic Church, nothing was left sacred. 

Satanico Pandemonium

It is inevitable in the wake of such controversy and success that the imitators would be clamoring at the heels of this new sensation.  So, very soon after the release of Russell’s film in 1973, Nunsploitation made its way across the Atlantic and south of the border to the highly religious Latin American countries.  It would seem inevitable that in a land where the Roman Catholic faith is so prevalent there would exist a market for the Nunsploitation genre.  The first film to truly capitalize on Russell’s newly found infamy was Satanico Pandemonium from prolific Mexican filmmaker Gilberto Martínez Solares.

Solares, no stranger to the wild world of the cinema, directed over 150 features in his lifetime. “Satánico Pandemonium” was his first foray into the dark side of the exploitation film.  Solares spared no rod in bringing to the screen his vision of the corruption of the innocent.  Indeed his film contains all the staples of the great Nunsploitation films, including rampant sexuality, nudity, lesbianism, demonic possession, and murder.  To top this all off, Solares titillates the viewer with an erotic scene of self-flagellation as Sister Maria repeatedly whips herself to atone for her impure thoughts.

Overall, Solares’ film is an interesting, if somewhat disjointed effort.  Certainly the film is overflowing with spectacular images, befitting a director who had already plied his trade on some 80 films since the early 1940’s.  However, as much of the films success must be attributed to the performance of actress Pezet, whose portrayal of Sr. Maria is an unbridled blend of virtuous innocence and smoldering sexuality. 

Satanico Pandemonium

The crux of whether or not a Nunsploitation film works is for all intents and purposes the reaction of the viewer to such an illicit subject.  The sexual repression inherent in monastic life coupled with the deep taboos of homosexuality and impurity found within that society is the cinematic makings for a powder keg of bacchanalian monstrosity.  In that sense, “Satánico Pandemonium ranks as one of the premier entries in the genre, and one worthy of such a fine DVD release.

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:

- Interview with writer/co-director
- Featurette on Nunsploitation Movies
- Background notes
- Image Gallery
- Previews

The DVD release of this new world exploitation classic is a tailor-made tribute to a genre of film that has never commanded the kind of respect attributed to so many other exploitation subtypes. The disc contains two wonderful featurettes, one focusing on the life and cinema of director Solares and the other on the Nunsploitation genre. Also included is a mass of text looking over the film as well as the genre, including some fascinating insights on the history and future of the Nunsploitation film, courtesy of the crew at www.nunsploitation.net. The transfer looks wonderful, save for the final scene, which may have been added from a different element or print. The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The colors are deep, the contrast is perfect and the film’s many night sequences are never muddy. In addition, there are a number of stills and poster art pieces provided in the gallery. On the whole, this release is a wonderful look at the historical significance and ongoing influence of not only “Satánico Pandemonium” but of the genre as well.

I was only surprised by the lack of notation in the supplemental material regarding the film’s enduring pop culture significance, particularly, its effect on the current roster of genre filmmakers. Two specific instances of the lasting impact of this celluloid classic include: White Zombie’s use of the film subtitle ("La Sexorcista") in the title of their debut album. And perhaps, as the ultimate security of any films’ coolness quotient, self-proclaimed genre disciples Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez appropriated the film’s title (“Satánico Pandemonium”) as the sobriquet for fellow Mexican Salma Hayek’s character in their vampire road flick, “From Dusk Till Dawn”.

Once again, Mondo Macabro has brought together the seminal version of this underground classic and the bonus features to boot, showing the independent DVD world the type of respect that genre titles of this caliber demand and deserve.

RATING:
VIDEO: 1.85:1 Anamorphic 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinemahttp://severed-cinema.com/images/half-star.jpg
AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2.0 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema

 

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

 
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