StinkyLulu offers the following "5 Stinky Thoughts" as my contribution to the monthly FILM CLUB instigated by Final Girl.
Thought #1: WTF?
I must confess: Most of the time, I had no idea what was actually going on in this freaky, meta-Catholic campfest. It seems that, on first glimpse, the story is your basic, exploitastic riff on the standard sexualized Satanic possession/pregnancy narrative but jeepers...this little flick seems to have decided to not to scrimp on any additional freakorama detail. Barking dogs. Doomed tourists. Possessed paintings. Hypnotherapy. Past life regression. Religious cults. Horny toads. Horny devils. Biting the heads off reptiles. Naked Swedish stepmothers. Immortal priests. Miracle cures. Creepy girls in pigtails. Fancy parties. Bad table manners. Weird statuary. Invisible sex in the sky. And lotsa lotsa incest... But, through it all, it seemed to me that this film might only really make spectacularly scandalous sense if you knew a little more about Catholicism than I. The spectacle's diverting enough but there seems to be an underlying logic of heresy that I seem to be clueless to. But, all told, wtf?
Thought #2: Satan Says Suck It.
Without question, my favorite aspect of the film was its reliance on perverse sex, especially references to oral sex, as a way to connote Satan's influence. Indeed, never have I seen a film that so clearly utilizes the serpent (and the serpent's lowly cousins, the lizard and the toad) as a hypersexualized symbol for ween. People are always shoving the heads of toads in each other's mouths in this film, forcing one another to lick up the toad goo, or the toad blood, or the toad puke as a signal of their ecstatic deference to Satan's power. Everytime you turn around, it's all gaping mouths, and lapping tongues, and drooly, oozy blowjob face. To which I can only say: Who knew Satan was so into oral?
Thought #3: Behold - Goatilingus.
And, indeed, one of the more startling examples of Satan's oral fixation (one which I couldn't quite bring myself to post a screencap of [but Gorillanaut's not nearly so squeamish]) arrives in the spectral sex scene -- where the lead lady is ostensibly reliving a Satanic sexual encounter from her past life -- and the horny devil is getting ready to mount her. At precisely the moment when we think we're gonna see nasty devil sex, one of the devil's minions presents a goat's hindquarters to the heroine and, after a flash shot of goat hoosie, we get an extended sequence of the heroine writhing in an extended lingual reverie. Her, alone on the bed, making orgasmic licky licky faces for, like, two minutes. And the filmmakers -- sick f'ers that they are -- leave it to the viewer's imagination to fill in the lickety-lick-lick blanks of the perverse picture, forcing the viewer to realize that, yes, Ippolita's the licker and, yes, the goat is the lickee. (And of course -- sick f'er that I am -- I take it to a whole 'nother level of twist and get all fixated on whether it was a girl goat or a boy goat.) Talk about stinky thoughts.
Thought #4: Why Cruising the Catacombs Isn't the Best Idea.
Probably my most favorite sequence in the film was the one when the heroine -- "miraculously" un-paralyzed all of a sudden -- goes cruising for German schoolboy in the nearby catacombs. She spies a dewy Leif Garret-clone and seduces him readily. The thing I like most about this sequence is how it fortifies my mini-reading of the film (see below) that Ippolita isn't really a woman at all, but a trans-ish character. A lusty Italian woman wearing only a crocheted dress would not go unnoticed amidst a busload of German schoolboys descending the catacombs, so I find it easier to read Ippolita in this scene as a femmy boy cruising another femmy boy. In any case, it's a palpably queer scene made all the queerer by the strange final image of the doomed German sissyboy. I mean, I've had my share to creepy cruising encounters, but what kind of nasty devil sex leaves you in this position?
Thought #5: How Queer Is the Antichrist, Anyway?
The character I thought most intriguing in the film turned out not to be Ippolita, but her femmy brother Filippo (that's him -- yes, HIM -- at right above). The more I watched this flick, the more I wanted to be watching a whole 'nother movie, one which would have been building the whole time toward a fabulous freaky reveal in which the siblings Ippolita and Filippo would be simultaneously pantsed, thus revealing that Ippolita actually had a weiner and Filippo had a hoosie -- that the siblings would be intersex twins and that Ippolita's past life regressions were not her own memories but those of their birth mother (a different lady than the one killed in the car) who was impregnated by Satan and who gave birth to this freaky pair of genderqueer kids. This would explain why Ippolita was experiencing paralysis "from the waist down" despite having no spinal injury. It might also explain why Filippo looked so much hotter when I imagined he was actually a lesbian. Unfortunately, my trannyhack redo of this film was not the film on the dvd. Alas. But it didn't stop me from scavenging what queer pleasures I could -- like this unrealized seduction between Filippo and the cute shrink -- check out the shape of those mini-obelisks!