Lisa And The Devil (Lisa e il diavolo) (The Devil in the House of Exorcism) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Lisa And The Devil (Lisa e il diavolo) (The Devil in the House of Exorcism) Reviews

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Super Reviewer
October 22, 2012
A tourist finds herself staying overnight at a Spanish villa managed by a butler who is the spitting image of Satan as pictured on a local fresco. Builds to a perverse and spooky third act as the shameful secrets of the chateau are slowly brought to light, but the first two thirds of the movie are slow and often confusing. Not to be confused with the re-edited American version HOUSE OF EXORCISM, which is reportedly much worse.
Super Reviewer
½ February 3, 2012
I won't sit here and pretend that Lisa and the Devil made a whole lot of sense as a story, even with the so-called "superior" version of the film. It often sends you in different directions and you can never quite get a firm foothold as you're watching it. I can sort of see what Mario Bava was going for here, but unfortunately the actors he picked just aren't that interesting. The only one of note is Alida Valli, who is always mesmerizing when she's on-screen. Even Elke Sommer is usesless here. I can see why genre fans appreciate it, but I can also see why American distributors wanted to cut it up and try something different with it. I haven't seen the "House of Exorcism" cut, and I'm told it's awful, but it makes sense to me having seen the film why they felt the need to do that. I have a feeling that neither version of the film is really that good, but since it has Mario Bava's stamp on it and that he never saw the original cut released in the U.S. when he was alive, it's definitely worth checking out. Just don't expect to be wowed or anything.
Super Reviewer
October 29, 2010
Was able to see the actual "Lisa & The Devil" version of the film.

I found that amongst the horribly cheesy costumes (Elke excluded) and over dramatic acting...there were some really amazing (and at times BIZZARE) visuals.

I felt like it would have been more effective had it been about 30 minutes shorter.

More substantial then a "pure cheese" film, but not great by any means.

Though I think the bulk of my Flixster friends will appreciate it for what it is.
Super Reviewer
½ May 10, 2007
Lisa and the Devil sucked in ways I can only hope to describe. If the haggard characters aren't mucking the whole thing up, Telly Savalas with his goddamned lollipops are. This movie has only the smallest possible fraction of charm and intensity that Bava's previous work does. A few of the things he does are interesting but for the most part, Bava hung the Gone Fishin' sign on the door after the first 5 minutes and never came back.
Super Reviewer
½ June 29, 2010
This lurid horror film from a past-his-prime Mario Bava exists in two versions. Thankfully, I saw the superior cut, which apparently lacks some schlocky exorcism content inserted for the post-Linda Blair market in America. But even the original is more campy than frightening.

The story is built on a couple of standard genre clichà (C)s: the hapless traveler stranded in a spooky old house, and the beautiful woman who becomes an obsession because she resembles someone's dead sweetheart. These plots have been used countless times before.

Oddly, the most unnerving sequence may be the unimportant exposition, where Lisa (Elke Sommer) wanders off from a central Italian square and gets lost amidst a snarl of narrow streets and villas which seems like a private, inescapable universe of its own. Though exaggerated for effect, it's a realistic nightmare which many of us have felt at some point or another.

She finally hitches a ride with a wealthy couple passing through, and ends up at an ancient mansion populated by characters including handsome Max (Alessio Orano), his countess mother (veteran actress Alida Valli) and their butler Leandro (Telly Savalas, believe it or not). Leandro has a puzzling fixation on mannequins, and may have a supernatural -- dare we say satanic? -- ability to animate them. Though he's just a servant, he is clearly the one who's running the show. Unfortunately, Savalas insisted upon bringing along his signature lollipop from "Kojak," which totally punctures the film's gothic atmosphere. Another glitch is the score's inclusion of Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez," which inevitably recalls Ricardo Montalban's kitschy Cordoba commercials from the same era.

Intense, clammy Max sees his departed lover in lookalike Lisa and, somewhat implausibly, she soon returns his ardor. But he is much more twisted than she knows. Meanwhile, her fellow guests are being sequentially murdered. Eventually, the tale develops hints of a surreal, unstuck-in-time paradox similar to what's found in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining." And of course, there's the obligatory "gotcha" ending.

Director Bava's baroque set decoration is typically spectacular, though the lighting is not as brilliantly stylized as in some of his other films. There aren't any notable jolts, but there are a couple of good, sick laughs: Leandro breaking the ankles of a corpse to fit him into a short coffin, and a murderer ridiculously rolling a car back and forth over a body. I also noticed one fun continuity error: Savalas accidentally knocks over a mannequin head, and in the next shot, the head is upright again. Who loves ya, baby?
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2012
Mario Bava has made great films; and then he's made Lisa and the Devil, an alluring assault on the senses that in turn goes deep into those of the titular character. From the colorful opening titles sequence to the highly strange finale; it is horror as art and surrealism at its near finest. This joins the ranks of Suspiria and The Beyond as one of the best Italian horror films ever made. If I know one thing, it's that I love the dream logic aspect of these pictures and I think it works brilliantly here to express Lisa's constantly deteriorating mental state. As always, if you don't like Italian horror; then don't bother. But it's a phantasmagoric work of art that needs to be discovered one day by a larger audience, and to fans of the weird, the wonderful, and the dreamily horrific, I cannot hold it in higher regards for your consideration.
Francisco G.
Super Reviewer
December 16, 2012
A sumptuous psychadelic ride with brilliant setting and cinematography that gradually descends onto the dark title of the movie with good results. The story is surprising and the odd elements blend together surprisingly well. Probably one of the best from Mario Bava, Lisa and the Devil is a must see for fans of the giallo genre and horror in general.
Super Reviewer
½ March 22, 2008
A confusing cut of the superior "Lisa And The Devil" mixed with some lame Exorcist clone footage. Skip this and see "Lisa and The Devil" instead.
July 23, 2009
Gave this a re-watch, it's as much fun the second time around, but man those surreal visuals make me feel like something slipped something in my drink.

Not going to be my favorite Bava by a long shot, but the dreamy visuals and gorgeous sets make it worth a look at least once.

Looking forward to seeing how this was edited into another film called House Of Exorcism

Worth a rental, give it a look at least the one time.
September 10, 2009
Capitalizing on the Exorcist has brought this butchered version of Bava's 'Lisa and the Devil'. A very humorous curiosity that's worth a watch.
July 4, 2008
I thought you couldn't really make the movie any worse. Somehow, the movie got worse.

You can definitely see that this is trying to ride the coattails of The Exorcist. Not only was a shameless movie given a second cut with a new title and new scenes, but the scenes themselves are direct stealing from The Exorcist. The people behind this movie should be sued seven times from Sunday for just adding Blatty's story into their own. I mean, the contortioning, the vomiting, the hallucinations. It's all there. Scene for scene this movie just knocks off The Exorcist.

What's infinitely worse is that the exorcism story that is suggested in the title barely fits in with the original Lisa and the Devil. If you didn't know, this movie was just another release of Lisa and the Devil. I feel torn because I've already reviewed in depth Lisa and the Devil and that movie was pretty abysmal again. Honestly, watching this movie a second time was even more terrible. I mean, the movie was shitty as it was to begin with. Why did I need to rewatch it?

I don't think anyone is allowed to give me sh*t because I did give it a second chance, but when I remembered how bad Lisa and the Devil was, I half paid attention to the original film footage and only gave full attention to the exorcism stuff. The exorcism stuff is halfway decently done outside of just being a cop out, but you can definitely tell that those scenes were done on a budget. Hell, even Elke Sommer looked drastically different from the filming of the first movie to the continuation used for The House of Exorcism. I cannot stress how shameless this movie is. There are the sequences where the movie is not necessarily disgusting in the original Exorcist, but depend on vulgarity to get the audience's attention. This movie, I swear to God, must have stolen direct lines from the first movie just to pad this movie's unnecessary creation.

I feel like I have to justify even writing this review by giving a Lisa and the Devil review. What I will say is that I was kind of disapointed by the end of Lisa and the Devil. (I don't really remember what I wrote in my original review, but while thinking about it, I do realize that I just didn't care for the ending. Sure, it was fun to get an airplane, but why let her leave the house if you are just going to f*ck with her on an airplane.) This ending isn't much better. I mean, we see the original her escaping the house, but that's really the end of that. The story now loops to put her back into the city, implying at least some degree of optimism, but the new ending is just as goofy as the airplane. There's this weird exorcism of a house which is clearly filmed at a different time than the Lisa and the Devil footage that doesn't really explain much. I think they just wanted to have the lighting storm that was implied during The Exorcist. But they use this time to throw rubber snakes at the priest? Then, right when the exorcism starts to die down...

...the credits roll.

Now, I'm not complaining too much because the movie was boring as it was an every second we could have shaved off of this terrible movie meant another second I didn't have to watch it. But there's so much more to be said rather than just showing me images. Really, this movie is the PowerPoint presentation of exorcisms. They can show me all the images I want to know that someone did some work somewhere, but that work really means very little to me as a viewer. Also, like a PowerPoint presentation, someone else did all of the work and I just got reworked highlights to make it seem like someone else did all the work. This movie is just god-awful and I don't recommend anyone who has anything better to do than watch it. I literally just sat through it so I could say that I've watched both Bava boxes all of the way through.
March 15, 2008
Surreal Mario Bava film. Probably one of this better movies. Completely Re-edited and re-written for US release as "House of Exorcism".
July 11, 2007
Damn, what a trip! :D Telly Savalas claims this was the film that inspired his lollypop thing, where he had to do it on this film. It's also a tripped out film that is very much worth the journey. The imagery, style, and mythology and dreamy quality is just astoundingly good. The script may at times appear poorly written, but if you stick with it, you'll see there's a lot to love. :D
½ August 8, 2006
Yeah, it's silly sometimes, but Bava never disappoints as a visual stylist. Kojak as devil is a sublime touch.
June 27, 2015
Mike slipped.

Lisa is an American tourist that takes a tour in an ancient Spanish village and discovers a mosaic of the devil. She becomes very interested in the piece and has some interesting encounters. One night she is forced to take refuge in a strange mansion with an interesting house keeper. She may have found what she was looking for in the town in the mansion.

"The thought of losing you fills one with much sadness."

Mario Bava, director of Kill Baby, Kill; Black Sabbath; Black Sunday; Roy Colt and Winchester Jack; Knives of the Avenger; and Blood and Black Lace, delivers Lisa and the Devil. The storyline for this picture is pretty interesting and fun to watch unfold. Some of the sequences were cheesy but it's an old classic. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, and Alida Valli.

"I am no longer a child. Let me live my life!"

I came across this on Netflix as part of the Mario Bava collection and had to watch it. I enjoyed the film and thought it was better than many of the films in this collection. Telly Savalas was great in his role and kept the film off balance. This is a good film for fans of the genre.

"I was not introduced to the fifth guest."

Grade: C+
June 4, 2015
Lesser-caliber Mario Bava thriller is neither very suspenseful nor very over-the-top.
December 19, 2014
Not exactly horrifying (even though it belongs to the oeuvre of horror maestro Mario Bava) but instead imbued with the qualities of a (rather disturbed) dream. I think it is probably Elke Sommer's dream (although then confusingly she might have a dream within this dream too). Or maybe it is Telly Savalas's dream - he is one of the few characters that remains alive at the end (and perhaps he is the devil of the title). Still as some commentators have pointed out, there is a thin line between life and death here and between mannikin and flesh. So maybe everyone is alive in that airplane at the end (a surreal gesture not unlike Bunuel's conclusion to Simon of the Desert)? Bava's images are woozy, colourful, and sometimes indistinct. The plot, as far as one can tell, involves Sommer's trip to Spain being interrupted by a badly timed decision to hitch-hike in a car that subsequently breaks down at Alida Valli's possibly haunted mansion where she is mistaken for a corpse to which she may have borne a distinct resemblance. OK, only dream logic applies! (Original version watched -- not House of Exorcism)
March 10, 2014
Have you ever seen CARNIVAL OF SOULS? Well, that is the basic plot of LISA AND THE DEVIL except it is more mystical, beautiful, and sensual. Elke Sommer plays Lisa, a tourist who becomes involved with an intricate plot of mannequins, murders, and necrophilia in the family home of a countess and her estranged son. The movie is one that you have to pay VERY close attention to, every scene has importance. I think everyone has their own opinion on the meaning of this film, it's very fun to draw your own up. It feels like the movie grabbed hold of you and you are actually part of the mystery. This is a must-have movie.
½ December 29, 2013
Lisa e il Diavolo (The House of Exorcism) (Mario Bava, 1974)

I don't know why I keep watching Mario Bava movies. I've seen all of those that people have recommended to me over and over again and found them anywhere from mediocre (Bay of Blood) to utterly unwatchable (Black Sunday). And yet so many people I know are so taken with Bava's movies that I keep trying. I don't do that with Woody Allen or Godard, so what is it about Bava? That said, I may have finally found the movie that will put me off him forever, Lisa e il Diavolo. Incoherent, rambling, badly-paced, and one of the largest wastes of A-list talent I have ever experienced, this movie would be best-served with the piquant odor of burning celluloid.

I'd give you a plot synopsis, but for this movie, that is well-nigh impossible. It involves the titular Lisa (delicious B-movie temptress Elke Sommer), who attracts the eye of a very wealthy, very perverse chap with a mannequin fetish, Leandro (Blood and Lace's Telly Savalas). During a tour of a foreign land, her car breaks down, and she and her chauffeur (Emmanuelle and the Last Cannibals' Gabriele Tinti), along with the husband and wife from whom she hitched a ride, Max and Sophie (The Count of Monte Cristo's Alessio Orano and Boccaccio's Sylva Koscina), are forced to find shelter in the decaying mansion of a countess (The Third Man's Alida Valli-oh, how far the mighty have fallen) who may or may not be in league with the diabolical forces who seem to have taken as much of a shine to Lisa as Leandro has.

Man, I wish, given that cast (did I mention Eduardo Fajardo is in here as well?), there was one thing I could say about this movie that sounds like a vaguely redeeming quality. That's usually a stable of actors where at least one will turn in a performance that make a movie at least marginally worth watching, but it's almost as if Bava coached them to be as stale and lifeless as possible. Simply put, in every conceivable way, this is an awful, awful movie, and it easily earned itself a place on the 100 Worst list. It was saved from zero-star status simply because it wasn't overtly offensive and I finished watching it, for some unknown reason. Avoid like the plague. 1/2
March 26, 2013
I barely know how to explain what the hell happens in this picture other than it's a typical giallo (google it). But it's directed by the notoriously steady and sometimes engaging and unique direction of Mario of Italy's best B-movie director of his, perhaps of all, time. This movie, however, is somewhat of a confusing mess that is too dull for the first 2/3rds of the film where by the final act you will find yourself both intrigued and relieved that this exorcise in "surreal" giallo is over. I barely remember anything about it other than a slightly menacing Telly Savalas (KOJACK) who had control over handmade dummies. Good late night fun, otherwise avoid. ***NOTE: (THE DEVIL IN THE) HOUSE OF EXORCISM is a different edit from LISA AND THE DEVIL that includes more graphic scenes that capitalized on the trend of THE EXORCIST rip-offs and I've heard that this is a much worse version to watch, so only watch this if you're curious. Curiosity killed the cat!
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