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Abby/Magdalena [DVD]

SKU:15768215
Release Date:09/18/2007
Rating:
After The Exorcist became a box-office blockbuster in 1973, the horror market was flooded with movies about demonic possession, and two of that film's illegitimate offspring are featured on this two-fer DVD from Substance Video. 1974's Abby has developed a cult reputation among fans of horror and blaxploitation, in part because Warner Bros. successfully sued the film's producers, claiming the film borrowed a bit too much from The Exorcist and making it all but impossible to see within a few years of its release. Given Abby's rarity, a DVD release of the movie is certainly welcome, but only the most forgiving fans will be satisfied with Substance's presentation. Abby has been mastered from a battered 16mm print (possibly drawn from another video source) that's scratchy, splicey and faded, with the color balance leaning precariously into the red. It's an open question if better quality elements exist for this picture, but Substance should at least warn customers of the haphazard quality of this print before they buy. This print of Abby has been pan-and-scanned to the full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33. The monophonic audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Stereo and sounds tinny and a bit scratchy, though it's certainly better than the picture. And Substance have at least thrown in some welcome extras, including selected filmographies for Abby's cast, galleries of stills, posters and production photos, a radio commercial for the movie and the original trailer (which was obviously taken from a second or third generation VHS video, though it still looks a bit better than the feature itself). Meanwhile, the German possession-meets-sexploitation thriller Magdalena: Possessed By The Devil (aka Magdalena von Teufel Besessen) has been letterboxed at 1.66:1 in a transfer that's reasonably sharp and colorful, but appears to have again been taken from another video source. The dialogue has been dubbed into English, with no subtitles or multiple language options (burned-in Japanese subtitles appear during the opening sequence for reasons that are not explained). Selected cast filmographies have been included as a bonus. This double bill DVD brings two hard-to-find features back into circulation, and Substance get an A for their archival skills, but barely earn a C for their quality control.
$9.99

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    Overview

    Synopsis


    Abby
    An intriguing blend of 70's "blaxploitation" and Exorcist clone, William Girdler's Abby is an effective and chilling film that incorporates elements of ancient African spiritualism into the conventions of the demon-possession genre. The story begins in Nigeria, where Professor Williams (Blacula's William Marshall) discovers a suggestive-looking fetish artifact in a cave once used by members of the sinister cult of "Eshu." When the relic is opened, it releases a foul-tempered Eshu demon which quickly kills several people and pursues Williams all the way back to America, where it soon enters the home of the professor's son Reverend Emmett (Terry Carter) and takes possession of the Reverend's proper and lovely wife Abby (Carol Speed). Emmett first begins to suspect something is amiss when Abby attempts suicide during a church picnic, but only after she begins vomiting in church and tormenting his congregation does he realize that her condition may not be mere insanity, and he consults his father for help. By the time the two men finally corner Abby in a sleazy bar, she has already seduced and killed several men. The exorcism is performed right in the bar, as dashiki-clad Williams incorporates both Western and African religious rituals to purge the foul spirit from Abby's body. Although Warner Brothers sought legal action against this film for its similarities to The Exorcist, this is no more of a rip-off than countless Italian variations on the formula, and its strong use of African religious traditions gives it a strength lacking in many low-budget blaxploitation films of the era. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

    Magdalena von Teufel Besessen
    Walter Boos directed this German knockoff of The Exorcist (1973) using the pseudonym "Michael Walter." Magdalena (Dagmar Hedrich) is an orphan at a girls' school who gets possessed by demonic forces. She goes into convulsions, curses a great deal, and makes furniture fly around the room before being hypnotized and exorcised. Werner Bruhns, Gunter Clemens, and Rudolf Schundler are among the solid cast, and former model Hedrich is quite good, despite being forced to act much of the film naked and vomit snakes. Not quite the best of the European possession rip-offs (that might be Anticristo), this one will still manage to hold the interest of genre devotees. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

    Cast & Crew


    • Image coming soon
      William Marshall - Bishop Garnet Williams
    • Carol Speed
      Carol Speed - Abby Williams
    • Terry Carter
      Terry Carter - Rev. Emmett Williams
    • Austin Stoker
      Austin Stoker - Cass Potter
    • Juanita Moore
      Juanita Moore - Mama Potter



    Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.