Nude for Satan (1974) from The Realist


Review by The Realist

A doctor has a minor accident on a lonely road. What was it he saw that caused him to slam on the brakes? He wanders along the road on foot until he finds another accident, a car with a woman passed out in the driver's seat. He gets the woman to his own car, she regains consciousness, then loses it again. His car won't start, so he leaves her, passed out in his own car, while he goes for help. At the last minute he grabs a gun from his glove compartment. You never know.

It goes without saying that the only available help must come from a spooky old castle. We are about to see our first serious warning that the quality of this movie will not be comparable to those of the director's countryman, Bertolucci. At the door of the castle, he shouts for help in English with an Italian accent. All previous dialogue and all further dialogue is in Italian. No explanation for the brief English interlude.

As the squeaky unmanned door admits him into the castle, he enters room after room full of spook clichés, as if he were riding a ghost train in a carnival. A man with a knife in his neck is in one room, and offers the obligatory diabolical laughter. The woman from the car accident is also there, or at least a version of her, looking very sprightly and trying to seduce him. It is her, yet it isn't.

Satan is also there.

Satan is quite a dapper demon, wearing an outfit which places him about halfway between Dracula and El Córdobes. I guess you never know when a bullfight will be necessary in a place where time and logic no longer exist, a place where time has been so distorted that 30 year olds could play high school students. Oh, sorry, that isn't the castle. I was thinking of the WB network. Well, time is also pretty messed up in the castle as well, let me tell you.  

Satan is not only a spiffy dresser, but one "hell" of a decorator as well, since he has done the entire spooky castle in Italian rococo. I always knew that whole ornate Italian thing was the work of Satan, but this is the first actual proof I've seen.

Day becomes night becomes day again, and now the girl from the accident awakens in the doctor's car, wanders up to the castle, and has virtually the same experience that the doc had the night before - she meets a version of the doctor. It is him, yet it isn't.

Then Satan sees her, undresses her with his eyes, and greets her. "Welcome, my dear. You must be weary, and surely you would enjoy a chance to wash your genitals." As it turns out, her privates are feeling a little musty, and she quickly agrees to freshen them on camera, hence the title of the film, Nude for Satan. And feeling thus refreshed, she engages in some lesbian sex with a woman who just wanders into the room. 

For the next hour or so, she hangs out with the doctor's doppelganger, and he with hers, and she gets naked, both as herself and as her doppelganger. So many grand adventures ensue. She finds herself ensnared in a spider's web, while a papier mache spider piñata, with jelly bean eyes and pipe cleaner legs, crawls up her belly. Then she watches some guys with blackened teeth whip her lesbian pal. 

Eventually, after several long philosophical dialogues about the nature of reality, we realize that they are both in a state somewhere between life and death, and each of them has the ability to choose which comes next. He's pro-life, but she is thinking this whole death thing isn't really that bad. The woman finally gives in to death when she hears about Satan's excellent dental plan and extended warranties on his company vehicles, but the doctor will not give in. He remembers that Satan has The Big Book of Satanic Info sitting in the hallway, and goes back to read it. It turns out that it includes some excellent recipes for Devil's Food cake, as well as the handy-dandy way to defeat Satan. It is certainly quite thoughtful of the Lord of Darkness to leave that information about. It seems that the doctor only has to light a fire, and all the demons will recede. He does so, and Satan curses somebody he calls Asteroth. I guess even Satan has to punch the ol' time-clock and report to a boss. 

There is a brief orgy scene with dancing men and women, and then they all disappear, including the woman from the car.

The doctor suddenly finds himself back in his car, alive. He goes back to the woman's car, and she is there, dead.


Interestingly, this film wiped out Titanic in total receipts, with nearly sixty quintillion lire in domestic box office receipts in Italy. Oh, wait, I just checked the currency exchange, and that's only about five hundred quid. Sorry. 

Tuna's notes

Nuda per Satana is an unique Italian send-up of Gothic horror films. It is a legend in the history of Italian cinema because it was screened only once theatrically, for 500 patrons, and was then pulled permanently, not to be seen again in any format until censored video and DVD versions emerged decades later.

This film has been featured in the Funhouse many times over the years, all caps having come from those censored releases. What prompted my redo was a new uncut version with additional hardcore action. The former release, from Redemption Cinema, was 82 minutes long in NTSC format. The new one, from Sodemented Cinema in The Netherlands, runs 90 minutes in PAL format, which translates to 94 minutes of real running time. The additional 12 minutes consists entirely of nudity and hardcore action. What is surprising is that the formerly unreleased footage  does not consist of stock inserts of anonymous body parts, but was all shot for this film, and some of it includes the principal actresses.

For those who have not heard of this film, here is the story. It was a dark and stormy night. A doctor is trying to make a house call, and catches sight of a completely naked Rita Calderoni. He then hears a crash, goes to investigate, and finds her unconscious in the driver's seat. He takes her to his car, but when it won't start, he heads (all together now) to a dark and sinister castle. Once inside, he enters a room, and encounters (in the first of the new footage) two women having sex in a chair, and a man and a women having sex, including explicit fellatio. Another room contains an ugly guy with a knife in his throat. Then the doctor finds the same woman that is still unconscious in his car, but dressed differently. The next morning, the woman from the car also shows up at the castle, and meets a different version of the doctor. Seems this castle is owned by Satan, and the dark sides of both characters are also in the house, along with other horny and kinky residents. The ending is roughly as silly and bewildering as the rest of the film.

Highlights include a preposterous giant papier-mâché spider with pipe cleaner legs, the bloody whipping scene, the ol' big toe in the vagina trick, and lots of real and simulated sex.


Scoop's notes


Just a link.

The Wikipedia entry for the eternally inept writer/director Luigi_Batzella, known as the "Italian Ed Wood," and a dude so weird and cryptic that his biographers can't even agree about what his real name was. It seems difficult to believe if you have ever seen this film, but it is widely considered to be his best. It would be a perfect candidate for MST3000 if they ever do an X-rated version.


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DVD Information

The Sodemented Cinema version includes both an English and an Italian audio track and optional subtitles in English, Dutch and French. The DVD is an all-region PAL, and sports a nice letterboxed transfer at the original theatrical ratio of 2.36:1. This is the only XXX version. Do not order an alternative.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: IMDb voters score it 4.8.
  • With their dollars ... it was seen by about 500 people in the Italian theater run in October of 1974
IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, this film is a C-. The photography is OK, and the dialogue is over the top hilarious. The camp value is there, the nudity is there, and that will make up for the leisurely advancement of the alleged plot. 

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