aka THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL
aka RITES, BLACK MAGIC AND SECRET ORGIES IN THE 14TH CENTURY
aka THE GHASTLY ORGIES OF COUNT DRACULA
(Italy - 1973)
Directed by Ralph Brown (Renato Polselli). Written by Renato Polselli. Cast: Mickey Hargitay, Rita Calderoni, Raoul, Christa Barrymore, William Darni, Max Dorian, Marcello Bonini. (Unrated, 98 mins).
Best known as THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL but recently released on Blu-ray (and re-released on DVD) by Kino/Redemption as BLACK MAGIC RITES, this incoherent fever dream from Renato Polselli exists under a number of different titles and is one of the strangest of all Italian horror films. It was considered lost for many years and existed only in a severely truncated 59-minute version back in the days of VHS bootlegs. But in 1998, Redemption released a complete version of the film and...it probably made even less sense. The 1998 DVD was letterboxed and non-anamorphic, so this film gets a significant HD upgrade on Blu-ray. The color and detail are terrific, and the sound is room-shaking, and while this film has numerous admirers who consider it a minor classic in experimental, avant-garde Eurotrash, I still find this a tedious chore to sit through. Sure, there's a lot of crazy shit, occasionally impressive use of color, some over-the-top gore, and gratuitous nudity by the truckload, but it just goes on and on and while the complete lack of anything resembling a linear story isn't necessarily a bad thing, BLACK MAGIC RITES just gets too repetitive and meandering for its own good. It's still required viewing for any Eurocult aficionado, and clearly, many people have gotten more out of Polselli's film than I have thus far.
|Hard to believe Mickey Hargitay opted|
to retire from acting after this film
I know a lot of serious movie people who greatly admire this film. I'll agree that the film is completely batshit crazy, but it has some serious pacing issues that accomplish the impossible by making batshit crazy boring. Even so, it should be seen once just for completism's sake, and there's no denying that it looks spectacular on Blu-ray.