FULCI WEEK: Demonia (1990)

Sicily. 1486. A bunch of villages descend on five nuns — suspected of being witches — and drop the witch hammer on them. Each is crucified and then nails are driven into their chests. Blood sprays everywhere. Fulci is pleased.

Toronto. 1990. Liza is at a seance where she sees the crucified nuns and collapses, screaming on the floor. Perhaps you may recognize that this is kind of how Fulci began City of the Living Dead.

Liza then joins an archaeology team led by Professor Evans (Brett Halsey, The Devil’s Honey) as they visit Greek ruins near Sicily. Locals like Turi (Lino Salemme, Ripper from Demons!) and Porter (Al Cliver, 2020 Texas GladiatorsZombi 2) warn them of the local legends that surround the monastery. And even after Professor Evans warns Liza to stay away from the unknown after the way she reacted to the seance, she enters the crypt within the ruins.

Using a pickaxe, she breaks into the wall and finds the remains of the nuns, angering the Professor and setting off a series of murders, like Porter being killed by a nun with a harpoon gun and two members of the team being killed by metal spikes.

Liza meets with a medium named Lilla, who tells her all about the witches. They’d invite young people to partake in orgies and kill them at the moment of orgasm, drinking their blood and going insane. If they ever got pregnant, they’d have the baby and throw it into a fire. Suffice to say, these are very evil nuns we’re dealing with. The kind of evil nuns that make Lille’s cats eat her the moment Fulci leaves. If you’re wondering, do they eat her eyeballs, then the answer is yes. Obviously, you know Fulci like I know Fulci.

Everyone suspects Turi, but he dies, too. A nun comes into the butcher shop and impales him on a hook, then stabs him in the neck, then nails his tongue to a block, then freezes him. Fulci, you scamp!

Inspector Carter (Fulci) starts to suspect the Professor, who decides to get out of town. Liza is going crazy and she refuses to leave, even when the townsfolk attack the ruins. Robby, a young boy, gets kidnapped by a white nun with no face, but he escapes just in time to watch his father get torn in half. Fulci strikes again!

Liza then stabs the Professor and disappears. The townsfolk charge into her chamber, where she foams at the mouth as she hangs on a cross. They set the crosses on fire again and everyone is destroyed, leaving the Professor to stagger in, bloodied, where he sees Liza’s dead body.

There are some great shots in the open here, with the camera wildly swinging through the seance and the nuns being executed. And the film looks so much better than Touch of Death. The city feels like Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. It starts like City of the Living Dead. And Fulci has done possession before with Manhattan Baby. But this isn’t a greatest hits collection — we still need to watch A Cat in the Brain.

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