The second film by frequent Fellini collaborator Brunello Rondi, IL DEMONIO is a stunning story of obsessive love, set in a rural Southern Italian village where Christianity has integrated many of the old superstitious beliefs. Daliah Lavi - best known to genre fans for her role as the tortured protagonist in Mario Bava's THE WHIP AND THE BODY - plays the film's central character, Purif, who is distraught when her lover (Frank Wolff) is betrothed to another. When she summons the old ways to curse him, her erratic behavior is interpreted as demonic possession, and the villagers turn against her with physical and sexual violence. A beautiful monochromatic predecessor to Lucio Fulci's DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING that brings the contrasting traditions of rural Southern Italy to life amidst a classic tale of the monstrous feminine.
- "Daliah Lavi's extraordinary performance and the spectacular rural locations make this uniquely memorable."
- "Il Demonio (The Demon), a 1963 combination of folk horror, psychological study, and unflinching social commentary with a career-best performance by Daliah Lavi ... was inspired by a true case of mental pathology known to director and frequent Fellini collaborator Brunello Rondi and holds a great deal of fascination today for its sympathetic portrayal of female witchcraft and its early possession imagery, including a startling spiderwalk scene later reprised for William Friedkin's revised version of The Exorcist."
Awards & Recognition
Best First Work
Venice Film Festival
Special Award Best Rediscoveries
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
London Film Festival