L’anticristo (1974)

Italy, 1974
96m (USA), 106m (France), 112m (West Germany), 2825 metres
35mm film, colour, 2.35:1
mono, Italian
Reviewed at The EOFFTV Review

An Italian horror film directed by Alberto De Martino.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Directed by: Alberto De Martino
Copyright Capitolina Produzioni Cinematografiche s.r.l. MCMLXXIV [1974]
Edmondo Amati presents
Screenplay by: Gianfranco Clerici, Vincenzo Mannino, Alberto De Martino
Director of Photography: Aristide Massaccesi
Edited by: Vincenzo Tomassi
Music Composed and Performed by: Ennio Morricone, Bruno Nicolai
Make up: Euclide Santoli
Travelling Mattes: Biamonte Cinegroup
Art Director: Uberto Bertacca
Locations: Rome, Lazio, Italy *

Cast
Carla Gravina (Ippolita)
Mel Ferrer (Massimo Oderisi)
Arthur Kennedy (the bishop)
George Coulouris (Father Mittner)
Alida Valli (Irene)
Mario Scaccia (faith healer)
Umberto Orsini (Dr Marcello Sinibaldi)
Anita Strindberg (Gretel)
Ernesto Colli *
Remo Girone [Felippo Oderisi] *
Lea Lander [Mariangela] *

Alternative Titles

L’Ant├ęchrist – France
Der Antichrist – West Germany
The Antichrist – English language title
El anticristo – Argentina
Besatt – exorcism – Sweden
The Tempter – UK, USA

See also
The Exorcist (1973)

Extracts included in
The Antichrist: Raising Hell (2002)

Press

1976
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.507 (April 1976) p.75
[I]n terms of technical expertise, the Devil within lppolita is very much a beginner, capable of none but the crudest tricks, and likely to conjure guffaws of laughter from an audience rather than frightened intakes of breath. The gravelly American dubbed voice which ultimately emerges from the foaming mouth of the possessed heroine is a poor substitute for Mercedes McCambridge’s hoarse cackle, and none of the veteran actors invest their parts with conviction or subtlety. Arthur Kennedy in particular makes a stridently unbelievable prelate, shrieking out “That’s ridiculous!” when the notion of Satanic possession is first raised; Mel Ferrer is woodenly worried throughout, though he is at least given the script’s most revealing line – after Ippolita’s Devil lets rip, he fervently says, “I’ve never experienced anything so awful. – from a review by Geoff Brown

1978
Variety (1 November 1978) p.22
Just when you thought the devil was down for the last count, along comes Avco Embassy with yet another “Exorcist“-inspired film, this time an Italian import made in 1974 under title of “L’Anti Cristo” [sic] laden with American performers who have very little to do. […] The only factor to bestow any distinction on “The Tempter” is the bravura performance of Clara [sic] Gravina as the put-on soul. Her writhings, foaming and hurlings of obscenities are so realistic as to be occasionally frightening. Otherwise, it’s a long, gruelling ride over familiar terrain, not helped by poor dubbing of the Italo actors, consistently out of focus lensing by Aristide Massaccesi, and bewildering editing by Vincenzo Tomassi. In other words, a technical shambles. – from a review by Poll

Cinefantastique vol.8 no.1 (Winter 1978) pp.20-21
“There’s not really much tempting about The Tempter […] The movie has been shortened from 112 to 96 minutes for its nonsensically belated U.S. release, but the cutting doesn’t shorten the film so much as play confusing havoc with the storyline. […] The film is more sexually overt than Friedkin’s dared to be, and there’s a fine Dante’s Inferno-like black mass filled with writhing nude bodies, the sequence shot as masturbatory fantasy of Gravina’s, during which the walls of her bedroom melt away to cloud-flecked blue skies. It is director Alberto De Martino’s only honestly surrealistic touch, and the film’s only original moment. Plodding around in the cast are Arthur Kennedy, Mel Ferrer (as Gravina’s father), Alida Valli, lovely Anita Stringberg, and Umberto Orsini, all trying their damnedest to look interested in what they’re doing.” – from an illustrated review (by David Bartholomew)

2002
Fangoria no.217 (October 2002) p.64 (USA)
[A] lame Exorcist ripoff that bores the audience while wasting some good actors (poor Arthur Kennedy) and another strong Ennio Morricone score. It does look very nice on disc – like new, in fact – but when the movie’s a dud, it’s hard to be excited over transfer quality. – from a DVD review by Matthew Kiernan

References

Periodicals

  • Cinefantastique vol.4 no.4 (Winter 1976) p.30 – article
  • Cinefantastique vol.8 no.1 (Winter 1978) pp.20-21 – illustrated review (by David Bartholomew)
  • Cineinforme no.222 (May 1975) p.19 – review
  • Cinematografia ITA vol.41 no.9/12 (October /December 1974) pp.53-54 – review
  • Fangoria no.217 (October 2002) p.64 – DVD review (by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Film Guia no.8 (June/July 1975) p.17 – review
  • Films and Filming vol.22 no.8 (May 1976) pp.41-42 – review
  • Films Illustrated vol.5 no.56 (April 1976) p.290 – review
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.43 no.507 (April 1976) p.75 – credits, synopsis, review (by Geoff Brown)
  • Screen International no.30 (3 April 1976) p.32 – review
  • Variety (1 November 1978) p.22 – credits, synopsis, review (by Poll)

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.288 – illustrated credits, review
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.316, 317, 353
  • Film Review 1976-1977 p.160 – illustrated credits, review