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MALABIMBA THE MALICIOUS WHORE / SATAN'S BABY DOLL
DVD Region 0. Severin.

These two releases from Severin Films make sense to review together, given that they both follow the same basic plot, which - at its most basic - involves a young girl possessed by a dead spirit, a family in torment and a novice nun being severely tempted.

Malabimba, shot in 1979, is the better of the two, and has an admirable lack of restraint in matters of taste. Teenage Bimba becomes possessed by the spirit of an ancient ancestor, which causes the virginal girl to become a raving nymphomaniac, attempting to seduce various family members and the household nun-to-be. Meanwhile, all manner of soap-opera intrigue is taking place, with Bimba's strait-laced father fending off the less-than-subtle approaches of his voluptuous sister-in-law.

In horror movie terms, this is pretty tame - there are only a couple of deaths, and Bimba's possession never reaches the level of head-spinning, puking and self mutilation. Where the film does excel is in its sheer sleaziness. We get some gratuitous nudity before the opening titles, and never more than a few minutes go by without more bare flesh and softcore writhing.

But that's not all - there are several eye-popping hardcore inserts too, seemingly thrown in at random. These are pretty well done - although clearly add-ons, they blend well with the main footage.

Amusingly, in the extras, actress Mariangela Giordano maintains that this is NOT an erotic film, despite her graphic (and entirely unnecessary) nude lesbian scenes.

1982's Satan's Baby Doll rehashes the same plot as Malabimba, but as if taken from a sketchy memory. The basic elements are the same, but it's all done very cheaply, and although only running 72 minutes, the film manages to plod. There's no hardcore this time, but the nudity remains plentiful, and the film at least ups the horror aspect.

Where Satan's Baby Doll does succeed is in some spectacular scenery chewing from Aldo Sambrell and - in the subtitles at least - gloriously florid dialogue that is sure to raise a chuckle.

Neither film is a classic, but Malabimba at least is a must-have for sleaze fans as a reminder of just how grubby 70's sinema could be.

DAVID FLINT

BUY MALABIMBA

BUY SATAN'S BABY DOLL

 

 

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