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Lisa and the Devil


Writing about Mario Bava is always very difficult. Because everything is the opposite of everything because everyone wrote everything and even more. In addition, we talk about him in small doses, despite the fact that his films always have a great charm on us. If we then write about a movie more than cryptic, tortured by its producer and "found" in its original Italian version only in 2004, well we are dealing with an almost impossible mission.
So please apologize if in this post we will not be able to express all of our feelings about it.

However, since there is nothing linear in this 1973 film, we want to start out in an unordered way and from something that has hit us a lot. That is, "Lisa and the Devil" has a perfect cast, which plays in a wonderful way a difficult story, creating a series of complex and well-structured characters. The good Terry Savalas in the role of a sinister butler who eats lollipop (which then he props for a well-known character), the beautiful Elke Sommer victim of the follies of history, to say of Bava, the good and sexy Sylva Koscina, a stunning Alida Valli in the role of a blind countess and Alessio Orano, Eduardo Fajardo and a small role for Gabriele Tinti.

The story of "Lisa and the Devil" explains why it is a movie not so well known and not much considered in the great filmography of Bava. In 2004, only after thirty-one years, "Sky" transmits the original version in Italian, which has disappeared for decades. A film almost fell into oblivion, because at the time despite the presence in several festivals there is no interested distributor. So Alfredo Leone, the producer, who some point out as a co-director, puts his hands on it, adds scenes, cuts and creates "La casa dell’esorcismo". A movie that says Wikipedia (sorry if we have not seen it and we do not intend to do it) tells about Lisa that after seeing a dummy with her features, falls to the ground, finds himself in the hospital where manifests a possession. Moreover, there she tells Elena's story.
A terrific choice, who tries to follow the trail of "The Exorcist" and to sell a work of a director who was certainly unpopular at the time and of course, free to create here.

Moreover, Bava, in fact, with a total freedom, goes beyond in difficult areas to decipher, with quotations and a tide of symbolism. According to Alberto Pezzotta who wrote the book "Il Cinema di Bava" for Castoro this would be "A story about the eternal return ... where events happen by chance, and for that very purpose, as Nietzsche wanted, I am redeemed by purpose and by Rationality ", so a key to reading would be life, destiny, but let's not forget that Bava liked to mock the viewer." Lisa and the Devil "is one of those movies that we did not understand at the end what we saw. A bit like the vast majority of people, even those who think have understood all. A film that is fascinating for this and is free to any interpretation. Bava's aesthetically exaggerated with zoom (a hundred report various sources) but did, a great job thanks to the photography of Spanish Cecilio Paniagua and the great soundtrack of Carlo Savina. All of this, as mentioned above, is matched with the excellent interpretation of the protagonists that could include Anthony Perkins (as Max), Bette Davis as Countess and Burt Lancaster.

A film that has also inspired other works, such as "Buio Omega" by the good D'Amato, which almost resembles a scene.

Toledo, Madrid and Barcelona Airport are the three locations, made livid and threatening by the story written by Mario Bava himself. Lisa (Elke Sommer) is part of a group of tourists who after admiring a painting with a bald demon, goes alone in the various streets and enters in a shop of an artisan who builds wooden statues depicting people. There she finds a character very similar to the demon of the painting.
Detached from the group, she is forced to ask for a passage to a wealthy couple composed by Sophia (Sylva Koscina) and Francis (Eduardo Fajardo). Their car driven by George (Gabriele Tinti) has a mechanical problem and is forced to stop at a large villa. The butler who welcomes them is the same person Lisa has seen in the store and is called Leandro, obviously interpreted by Telly Savalas.
The house is inhabited by a blind countess (Alida Valli) and his son Max (Alessio Orano). And there things begin to happen strangely. People who die violently but then come back to life, moments of mystery and manipulations of Leandro who enjoys moving of life-size mannequins. Lisa reminding Max's deceased wife ends up in the center of this intrigue that ends with a beautiful scene. She fled the house, takes a plane, and finds she is alone with Leandro