Purificata (Daliah Lavi, The Whip and the Body, Some Girls Do) is a young girl in Southern Italy who is obsessed with Antonion (Frank Wolff, Once Upon a Time In the West, Death Walks on High Heels) to the point that she gets him to drink her blood and nearly murders a cat outside his home as he attempts to consummate his marriage. That night, she’s bound and assaulted by a shepherd and the first person that finds her, a young boy, soon dies after being near her.
Purificata is on record saying that she is a witch who speaks to Satan, so her family tries to heal her by having Zio Giuseppe exorcise her. He also assaults her, after which she finds Antonio plowing his fields. She begs for him to save her and he violently throws her to the ground. After, she begins to become possessed and the villagers try to set her ablaze. Her family rescues her for a time by burying her underground, but she escapes and is found by nuns as she hugs a tree.
The nuns seem to calm her until one says, “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” and Purificata strangles her. All manner of welts appear on Antonio’s body, who is told to burn an old tree in the middle of the village. He is met by Purificata and the two make love in the dirt. As the sun rises, he stabs her.
Directed by Brunello Rondi, who also made Black Emmanuelle, White Emmanuelle, and written by Luciano Martino and Ugo Guerra, who followed this with The Whip and the Body, this folk horror film feels brutally able to happen in the world we live in today. It shocked me numerous times and it’s one I’ve thought about several times since I watched it. It’s on the Severin All the Haunts Be Ours box set.
You can watch this on Tubi.