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Cool gothic sex/horror given the Shameless treatment
on 18 January 2011
Satan's Baby Doll is considered a cheap knock-off of Malabimba (coincidentally also directed by a man called Bianchi!). Made in the early 80s it features Mariangela Giordano (a respected actress who went through a period of starring in exploitation movies due to influence from her husband at the time) as a self-satisfying nun, and Jacqueline Dupré as a rather attractive young woman driven to kill by either her insane mind or the demonic spirit of a recently deceased woman. The film is slow by some standards, and it's not shot with a great deal of flair, but I did like the dark gothic castle/mansion setting and the strange bunch of characters that inhabit the place, each one messed up in their own particular way. There's a certain degree of sexiness injected by Bianchi, and a morbid tone underpins the proceedings. It should also be mentioned that the score is quite unique and adds to the atmosphere of the movie.
Shameless present the film on DVD in an anamorphic widescreen transfer, an accurate representation of the film's original aspect ratio, with Dolby mono sound. The image looks good for standard definition and I projected it to a pretty big screen with decent results - colours are not particularly saturated, though detail is moderate and overall the film seems to look pretty much as it should. Shameless have thoughtfully reinserted harder core shots from a scratchy German print to make the film as complete as possible - of course the picture quality drops during these shots but it only amounts to a minute or so during the course of the whole film, and I'd rather have them there than not despite their presence not necessarily developing the story in any way. Audio is Italian language with good English subtitles available for those who can't speak Italian. As extra material: There are a couple of alternate sequences, which are reasonable little bonuses, a text document detailing a biographical history of the aforementioned Giordano (adapted from an article that appeared in Shock Express back in the 90s), plus there's a massive trailer section for this and (I think) all of Shameless's other films - great fun to watch some of these and to check out which titles you may be interested in picking up. Finally, the company provide the cover as a reversible option so you can choose which side you like. Oh, and they've put in a nice little poster with the film's cool artwork on one side, and a Shameless cover gallery on the other.
The DVD is better specified than the US disc released a few years ago by Severin, and a lot cheaper too! Overall this is a very good release of a sordid little movie that can be enjoyed by those of us with odder tastes, and Shameless are to be commended. The only thing is, Shameless, could we have some of these films on Blu-ray at some point please?