Black Magic Rites


by Tuna

This Italian horror offering was originally called Riti, magie nere e segrete orge nel trecento ("Rites, Black Magic and Secret Orgies in the 13 century"). It was released in the US as The Reincarnation of Isabel.

In the thirteenth century, Isabella was burned as a witch by the inquisition and her heart ripped out. Her friends at the time swore revenge, and that they would resurrect her. Cut to the present, where Laureen has moved into the same castle with her family. She is to be married. She looks a whole lot like Isabella, which is not surprising as Rita Calderoni plays both roles. Things complicate quickly, as Isabella's followers have all been reincarnated as vampires, and need to sacrifice a steady stream of virgins (blood tainted by semen is no good) to prepare for the grand resurrection of Isabella.

Many say the film is impossible to follow and makes no sense. I didn't find that to be the case, but I would be the first to say that the plot is amazingly lame, and the transparency of the narrative is clouded by editing which is consistently annoying. The film is full of jump cuts, really jarring ones, and other typical early seventies attempts to seem psychedelic. Although the storyline is not totally incoherent, it is simplistic and poorly developed, and the pinnacle of the performing consists of screaming.

I was less than thrilled.

On the other hand, many feel this film deserves cult status, as a "wonderfully extreme and very crazy example of European horrotica/gorotica," so it scores a C- on our scale based on its appeal to fanatics of that specialized genre. Others beware.

Our Grade:

If you are not familiar with our grading system, you need to read the explanation, because the grading is not linear. For example, by our definition, a C is solid and a C+ is a VERY good movie. There are very few Bs and As. Based on our descriptive system, this film is a:



  • Rita Calderoni, Christa Barrymore and Stefania Fassio all show breasts. Numerous unknowns show breasts, buns, and in one case, a quick flash of bush.


2.5 TV Guide (of 4 stars)







4.4 IMDB summary (of 10)

Black Magic Rites (1973)

I screened a German version which believes to be the best release, with lots of subtitle options, and coded for all regions. Click on the image above for information.