Thursday, January 2, 2014

Malabimba (1979)

... aka: Malabimba, the Malicious Whore
... aka: Malicious Whore, The
... aka: Possession of a Teenager
... aka: Sublime Sensation

Directed by:
"Andrew White" (Andrea Bianchi)

Meet the Karoli family. Despite severe financial problems, the elderly matriarch of the clan (Pupita Lea Scuderoni) insists they hang on to their massive castle home, which has been in the family for three centuries and at one time was used as a monastery. Son Andrea (Enzo Fisichella), who lost his wife Daniela years earlier, wants to sell the castle so they can get out from under their debt, but he's broke and powerless. Brother Adolfo (Giuseppe Marrocco), who also lives there, has plenty of money, but he's unfortunately suffered some kind of brain injury that's left him crippled and unable to speak. As a result, all of his finances have fallen into his wife Nais' (Patrizia Webley) hands and Nais isn't a very nice woman. She is, however, fully aware that she's a huge whore and seems to take great pride in that fact. Mama Karoli wants Andrea to seduce and marry his brother's wife so that they can get their hands on the money. Still pining for Daniela and believing Nais is a "low-grade slut" anyway, Andrea refuses... at least at first. And that leaves poor Bimba (Katell Laennec), Andrea's 16-year-old daughter, who has lived her entire life in the home completely isolated from the outside world. In fact, she's not once left the castle grounds and the repression and naivety leave her quite open to malicious and evil influences that happen to be lying dormant inside the castle just waiting to strike out.

The family hold a séance in an effort to call forth Daniela's spirit. Instead, the medium (Elisa Mainardi) accidentally dredges up the vengeful spirit of Lucrezia, who was a "malicious whore" and the shame of the entire family. She also died under mysterious circumstances. Lucrezia lashes out at the family, calling them all perverts, hypocrites, sluts and "domesticated swine." She then exits the medium's body, briefly harasses nun Sister Sofia (Mariangela Giordano), who's there to take care of Adolfo and serve as a tutor and companion to the girl, and finally makes a b-line for Bimba's bedroom to possess her. Bimba sees snakes and lapses in and out of Lucrezia's personality, complete with a husky middle-aged woman's voice. At dinner, she tells her granny, "When you were my age, you were already fucking all of your father's friends!" and squeezes the butler's crotch. She then tries to grope the nun and calls her a whore, before sneaking outside dressed in a sheer nightie to spy on various bedroom activities, which center primarily around the large-breasted Nais. After unsuccessfully trying to seduce Andrea, Nais decides to screw her lawyer Giorgio (Giancarlo Del Luca) instead after he gets her in the mood by slapping her around and calling her "The best whore in the world."

So what else does Bimba do? Well, she embarrasses her uptight family by lifting up her dress and exhibiting herself in the nude in front of party guests. And then she tries to make out with her own father and rubs his cock. And then she stabs a hole in her teddy bear's crotch, inserts a candle and uses it to get off on. She also 69s with a stuffed elf doll, manages to fog up a mirror in two different spots and becomes quite the little peeping Thomasina. Some moments are extremely tasteless, including her watching her dad have sex while she rubs her crotch, and then trying to coerce the adult nun into sex. Then sleaziest bit, however, is when she sneaks downstairs where her crippled uncle is sleeping, strips off her clothes in front of him and then sucks him off until he keels over from a heart attack! As if the constant voyeurism, masturbation and full frontal nudity weren't enough, the sleaze factor is upped even more by the addition of some hardcore sex inserts added later on by someone else. There actually aren't a whole lot of these, but they're briefly used during three different scenes.

Malabimba basically falls into the sub-category of Euro exploitation clearly influenced by The Exorcist; a cycle that also includes THE ANTICHRIST (1974), Beyond the Door (1974), EXORCISMO (1975), The Possessor (1975) and numerous others. It combines two popular themes of the 70s; the corruption of minors / innocents / virgins and the corruption of nuns, but its only really horror content is in the possession theme. This was clearly made as a sex film as that's where nearly every scene ends up. There's not a drop of blood in this one, nor are there any special effects or makeups on the possessed teen. It was shot at a great, picturesque location, but under-utilizes the scenery at hand and ends up shooting nearly every scene indoors. The photography and music are both pretty good. I'd give it a 6 on the sex scale but only about a 3 as a horror film.

The Severin DVD comes with some decent extras, including both the cut and uncut versions. It's a good print, aside from numerous scenes clearly sourced from a damaged VHS print that have been edited back in. Giordano is one of the interview subjects on a documentary featurette and she states that this was the first film she ever did nudity in but then tries to downplay the sex angle. By this stage in her career she was already into her 40s, but how the Italian movie industry was going at the time, you either did the nude scenes or you didn't work. The floodgates now opened, she took on nude roles in a bunch of genre films that really pushed the boundaries of R / X ratings, like GIALLO IN VENICE (1979), Patrick Still Lives (1980) and Satan's Baby Doll (1982). To genre fans she's perhaps best known for playing the tough mama who gets her nipple bitten off by her creepy dwarf son in the zombie flick BURIAL GROUND (1980), which was also directed by Bianchi. All of those were made for her then-husband, producer Gabriele Cristani. She'd later go on to act in Michele Soavi's THE SECT (1991) and Jess Franco's Killer Barbys (1996). In the interview, Giordano has (mostly) nice things to say about the cast and crew, and claims she felt comfortable playing the role of a repressed nun because she was raised in a Catholic convent. Cinematographer Franco Villa is the second interview subject and also has nice things to say about the experience. Much hoopla is made of the fact that the film later had X inserts added to the mix so it could play in adult theaters.

Bianchi (billed as "Andrew White" here) also made the sleazy giallo Strip Nude for Your Killer (1975), the hard-to-find (though reputedly dull) Maniac Killer (1987) and the routine slasher flick MASSACRE (1989).


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