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Lisa and the Devil [UK] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English & Italian LPCM 2.0 Mono (48kHz/16-bit)
  • Subtitles: English, English SDH
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certification: 18
  • Run Time: 92 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 4, 2013
  • RRP: £22.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:3/5]

Mario Bava’s (Black Sunday) original edit of his re-cut horror classic The House of Exorcism is a strange beast. Lisa and the Devil, stars Elke Sommer in the titular role as an American tourist traveling in Spain who loses her touring party and finds refuge in strange mansion run by the satanic butler Leandro (Telly Savalas; TV’s Kojak). There she meets the son of a Countess who notices her striking resemblance to his dead lover, and a strange night of demonic passions, murder, and general supernatural happenings ensue within the confines of the Gothic castle. Bearing only a passing resemblance to the usual Gothic horror of European tradition, such as Bava’s own Black Sunday, Lisa and the Devil has an oddly meandering feel to it. Unfortunately for Bava, his film was to release after William Friedkin’s The Exorcist, and his producer forced a re-cut to make Lisa and the Devil yet another post-Exorcist imitation in the wake of that film’s enormous success. Elke Sommer was brought back, new scenes were added, and voila, Lisa became a Satan-possessed, expletive-spouting, pea-soup spitting woman who needed a priest to rescue her. The House of Exorcism spliced these seemingly unrelated scenes into the narrative of Lisa and the Devil, and still managed to become a cult classic. Personally, neither version of these films appeals to me that much, but I’d rather watch the original cut than a bad parody of Friedkin’s classic.

Video Quality

[Rating:2.5/5]

Whether you opt for the “director’s cut” with Lisa and the Devil or the more readily available and familiar The House of Exorcism, you’ll be getting an AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Arrow that doesn’t look like very much of a restoration effort has been put into it to bring it to home video. Softness permeates the image as does a lot of source damage in the form of sparkling, scratches, and some minor wavering in contrast. This one is far from optimal viewing material.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Lisa and the Devil is supplied with English and Italian LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit) tracks while The House of Exorcism has only the English LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit) track. English and Italian tracks are very similar, quite boxy, and have lots of audible hiss. They do, however, provide clear enough dialogue and sound effects.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:4/5]

As per usual, Arrow has stuffed this release to the brim.

The supplements:

  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Collectible booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic and author Stephen Thrower, an interview with Bava from 1976m translated from the original Italian for the first time, illustrated with original stills and archive posters.

Lisa and the Devil

  • Audio Commentary with Tim Lucas
  • The Exorcism of Lisa (1.33:1; SD/NTSC; 00:25:05) – Assistant director Lamberto Bava, screenwriter Roberto Natale, Roy Bava, and Alberto Pezzotta discuss both versions of the film.
  • Alan Jones Introduction to Lisa and the Devil (1.78:1; SD/NTSC;00:03:31)
  • Lisa and the Devil Unfinished Trailer (1.78:1; SD/NTSC; 00:03:19)
  • Deleted Scene (1.33:1; SD/NTSC; 00:02:35)

The House of Exorcism

  • Audio commentary with Alfredo Leone and Elke Sommer
  • Alan Jones Introduction to The House of Exorcism (1.78:1; SD/NTSC; 00:02:56)
  • The House of Exorcism Trailer (1.78:1; SD/NTSC)
  • The House of Exorcism U-Cert Trailer (1.78:1; SD/NTSC)
  • Radio Spot (00:00:59)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

Arrow brings home the goods with this two-for of Mario Bava’s cult classic Lisa and the Devil, finally in its original form, and the the re-cut version The House of Exorcism. Unfortunately, neither one looks that great in this edition, but fans of these cult classics will probably still want to scoop them up.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B009X84YVQ[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:3/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:2.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:4/5]


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