Thursday, July 17, 2008

Demon Witch Child: Specializing in Castration Since 1975

Caution: Spoilers Galore

I first saw La Endemoniada, aka Poder de las Tinieblas, aka Demon Witch Child, aka The Possessed when I was all of five years old. I don't know how it came to be that my young and tender eyes beheld such a sight, but I do know that it has been etched on my memory ever since. Recently, I played a wee game of Name That Trauma with the good lads over at Kindertrauma, and this forgotten childhood nightmare-maker was revealed to me by the wise sage Unkle Lancifer. About an hour later, in doing some research on the picture, I realized that it had already been revealed to me (years earlier, and under a different title) by Tenebrous Kate, who is pretty much omnipotent, and a dear friend of mine. Finally, after something like 24 years, I took it upon myself to view The Possessed a second (followed by a third, and then a fourth) time.

When an old Gypsy (Tota Alba), believed by the bumbling local Bacon Squad to be a witch, is brought in for questioning about the disappearance of a small child, the evil shit starts hitting the Satanic fan while the poorly-dubbed expletives fly from the decrepit woman's mouth. Rather than risk spending the remaining years of her life of service to Satan behind bars, she hurls herself out the window of the police station before the cops get the chance to thoroughly question her about the missing boy. She had been planning on sacrificing him to her Master, and she told the police as much. Quite simply, a woman in possession of evil powers such as hers needn't beat around the bush.

The members of the Old Witch's coven are royally pissed off with Commissioner Barnes (Angel del Pozo) for having robbed them of their high priestess. The sexiest of the evil Gypsies (Kali Hansa) takes the lead making the Commissioner's daughter, Susan (Marian Salgado), the target of their diabolical plot for revenge. Sexy Gypsy Witch befriends young Susan, and presents her with a Satanic-looking "doll" (which is actually a dagger), and an ugly, bone necklace. She conceals the dagger inside Susan's teddy bear, telling the girl that these gifts are best kept a secret. Immediately after taking the items into her possession, Susan's personality takes a dramatic turn for the worse.

By the power of darkness (and primitive special effects), the Old Witch slips from her spent corpse and into the fresh, healthy young body of Susan. Susan then embarks upon the most melodramatic levitation journey ever to appear on film. All signs are in place now: demonic toys, foul language, mood swings, levitation... Looks like we have ourselves a Demon Witch Child, honey!

Sexy Gypsy Witch calls out to Susan later that night, and in the midst of a midnight ritual before the entire coven, Susan is revealed (again, by the power of darkness and primitive special effects) as as the old witch incarnate. Not skipping a beat, she whips out the baby that had been procured for the purposes of spilling its blood. The tasty Baby Beverage is passed around to all the members of the coven, and enjoyed. The witches are appeased, and Susan's very being is now in their possession.

"Don't bogart the Babies' blood!"

When she returns to her family after the Midnite Rite, Susan's mood swings continue to worsen. She is taken to see a series of doctors, but none of them seem to know what is wrong with her. She gets fresh with a dashing, young priest (Julian Mateos), and he seems to immediately suspect demonic possession. Having seen The Exorcist twenty-seven times, he wasn't about to take any chances! Unfortunately, the process of obtaining permission to perform the rite of Exorcism is time consuming, and while the stage is being set for a confrontation between the forces of darkness and light, the Demon Witch Child gets up to some serious hijinx!

Her extra-curricular activities include (but are not limited to): bad-mouthing her father's lover; leaping out of the bushes and chokin' a dude to death in under five seconds; sexually assaulting a guy in a cemetary; and then castrating him. After she finishes the dirty deed, she goes skipping off down the cemetary path with her pouchful of severed testicles in-hand.

"You're well hung, but what good are they to you now?"

The cops finally get their act together after Demon Witch Child steals another baby for the coven to sacrifice. They raid the black mass, and suddenly, there are old hags scattered everywhere! Seriously! It looks like a scene from Rock of Love. Sexy Gypsy Witch is slain in the ensuing conflict, while the Commissioner and the Hot Priest go off in hot pursuit of the DWC.

In the face of the evil wind the DWC conjures, the Hot Priest is able to subdue her with his trusty crucifix. She steps away from the holy device in terror, impaling herself on a particularly ornate epitaph. Innocent, young Susan dies along with the spirit of the Old Witch.

"She's sleft now. I'm free!
She'll let me die in peace."

Amando de Ossorio's fourth film, La Endemoniada (aka Poder de las Tinieblas, aka Demon Witch Child, aka The Possessed), is a good example of a mid-70's Exorcist rip-off. Within the first 10 minutes of the feature, we see the famous window-leaping scene re-created for the purposes of the old witch's suicide, followed next by the little girl levitating, and then the priest. What The Possessed lacks in substance, it makes up for in style, however, treating the viewer to a number of memorable scenes of demonic glee. Satan is glorified gratuitously (hilariously; did I mention the so-bad-it's-awesome dubbing?), babies are slain, a guys' berries are hacked off... what more could a fright fan ask for?

While some segments of this film are snoozy, one must bear in mind: it was filmed in 1975! In actuality, this little movie packs quite a powerful punch, given the circumstances under which it was filmed, and the lack of a mega-budget. In spite of the shaky spots in the plot, and the dubbing, Marian Salgado comes through as a Horror Princess. Having practiced her skill performing the role of Regan in the Spanish dubbing of The Exorcist, the strangely beautiful Salgado delivers her lines with supple confidence. At times, the girl exudes a magnetism which is quite captivating. Tota Alba, who plays her possessor, is terrifying; truly the sort of woman nightmares are made of. Her expressions carry her evil intent when the dubbed audio fails. Any fan of devil cinema should see this film, which is over the top in a most wonderful way.

4/5 Kitty Skulls = Video cocaine!


Mr. Karswell said...

Christ almighty! Can I borrow this?

Kitty LeClaw said...

Mighty Christ! It would be my pleasure! If you would like to send me an email with your mailing address, I will burn you a copy tout de suite!

I may or may not have written my own Mercyful Fate-inspired black metal tune in it's honour. It sounds a lot like "Into the Coven," remarkably.

Chet Of The Undead said...


There's nothing like the smell of retro horror movies in the morning....

'specially cheesey special effects foriegn made ones....

B-movie snarky sarcasm fests are the sport of kings! ;) :)

Tenebrous Kate said...

Kitty, liebchen, muffin, cupcake--sweet, delicious, Satanoriffic Eurotrash is what brings us all together. It's a TRUE FACT! I can see why this one would have a scarring effect on Wee Kitty. Another TRUE FACT: I was an extremely delicate child and would likely have been sent right round the bend by this one. Moreso that... you know... the current state of affairs in the Tenebrous Brain.

kindertrauma said...

Watching that little girl turn into a bald hag is sort of like watching Tatum O'Neil turn into John McEnroe! ...Yikes! Great review Kitty!

Kitty LeClaw said...

Chet: I snark because I care. Demon Witch Child, you won me over... Twice!

Tenebrous Kate: I love your Delicate Childhood. Truly, you must have been the cutest ever, in your Easy Rider jacket.

Kindertrauma: The animated gif was the only way to properly ice this bad motherfucker of a cake. I think it is my Crowning Glory, thusfar.

Anonymous said...

Marianita Salgado, joven actriz portorriqueña