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  Nude for Satan The Number of the Beast is Sex Sex Sex
Year: 1974
Director: Luigi Batzella
Stars: Rita Calderoni, James Harris, Stelio Candelli, Renato Lupi, Iolanda Mascitti, Luigi Antonio Guerra, Barbara Lay, Augusto Boscardini, Alfredo Pasti
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Always rely on Italian horror movies to deliver the goods from the get-go. Nude for Satan kicks off as a beautiful naked woman runs through the spooky woods in bouncy slow-motion. After that, you know you’re in the hands of someone out to deliver on that title. One dark and stormy night, Dr. William Benson (James Harris) is involved in a car crash that leaves fellow motorist, Susan Smith (Rita Calderoni) shaken. Visiting a creepy castle in search of help, Benson stumbles through an array of doorways into nightmarish other worlds, meets a cackling manservant (Renato Lupi, in his final role) and eventually discovers Susan’s exact double, Evelyn (Calderoni, again), an elegant deviant who inveigles him into satanic sex games. Meanwhile, Susan ventures inside the castle herself, only to encounter Benson’s evil alter-ego and a sinister caped figure (Stelio Candelli) who may be Satan himself. And you know what he wants…

Hack-of-all-trades Luigi Batzella dabbled in spaghetti westerns, war pictures and made one the dumbest Nazi exploitation movies, The Beast in Heat (1977). Here he chose to be credited under his real name as editor, but adopted the pseudonym Paolo Solvay for his directing work. Curious really, because Nude for Satan is easily his best film, a suitably scintillating supernatural sex romp. The plot is either a waking nightmare or a load of codswallop depending on your outlook, but this has an undeniable atmosphere that proves surprisingly compelling. Batzella directs with tongue fair bursting through his cheek. How else to explain scenes where a single glance from Candelli’s cane-twirling Satan makes Rita Calderoni’s clothes disappear, or when she is trapped in a giant web and menaced by a papier mache spider? Obviously working on a shoestring, Batzella crafts some rather ingenious low-budget visuals and wild camerawork. Jean Cocteau by way of trash porno-horror fumetti.

Oft-naked fan favourite Rita Calderoni starred in two Euro-horror gems made by the idiosyncratic Renato Polselli - Delirium (1972) and The Reincarnation of Isabel (1973), which would make an intriguing double-bill with this movie. James Harris is suitably befuddled as Benson (though actually better as his evil twin, clearly relishing a chance to neck with naked Rita), but Calderoni approaches her dual roles with great gusto and gives a bewitching, mysterious turn in the Barbara Steele mould. And of course when she isn’t parading around in a flimsy negligee, she disrobes for bouts of feverish satanic sex with the male lead or lesbian lover Barbara Lay, including a striking dream sequence with the ladies shrouded beneath veils of white satin.

Lay also figures in a satanic S&M sequence while Batzella chucks in a disorientating chase scene through the labyrinthine castle grounds. Yet even more naked girls emerge out of coffins for the climactic satanic orgy-cum-avant-garde dance performance, alongside some silly looking guys in body paint and red loincloths. Silly stuff to be sure, but tasty as Halloween candy. Plus the soundtrack by Alberto Baldan Bembo is a beguiling mix of electronica, jazz-funk, lounge, unearthly choirs and haunting piano melodies. Throw it on at your next satanic orgy.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


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