I was feeling under the weather recently so I did what any normal human being would do: I curled up in bed to watch a 1970s West German Devil-possession flick dubbed into English on YouTube. What, you don’t do that when you’re sick?
Truth be told, neither do I but sweet Satan am I glad I did this time. I’m not even sure how I stumbled upon Magdalena: Possessed by the Devil (1974); I probably have some lunatic on the internet to thank. And of course I have William Blatty’s The Exorcist to thank because that little book you may have heard of set off a possession frenzy in the 1970s that produced not only William Friedkin’s smash hit film adaptation, but also any number of movies and TV clones. It wasn’t just in the United States either. Those crazy Italians and the almost-as-crazy Spaniards made a bunch of knockoffs. Then the Germans said—Ha! Okay fine, hold my Hofbräu—and made the truly insane Magdalena (known stateside as Beyond the Darkness).
I don’t even know how to describe this movie…take The Exorcist, strip away any semblance of seriousness, age up the lead actress to a teenager, add in staggering amounts of nudity and vulgarity, and just let the madness flow like draught beer during Oktoberfest. The story is simple: an orphaned teen (Dagmar Hedrich) begins writhing around like she’s having sex with the air, telling every man in site to “stick it in her”, and generally behaving in all sorts of ways not typically condoned in polite society. When possessed, she relishes antagonizing a series of truly stupid and horny men. Eventually she’s in the care of two doctors who begin to realize there’s more to this than medical science will ever be able to explain.…much more!
Hedrich is to be commended for her performance. She absolutely commits to the madness. I swear she’s naked for half the film, at least, and not just naked but naked while running, rolling, fighting, and cackling her way through the story. Pardon the pun but she’s like a woman possessed.
Basically Magaldena is a German sexploitation film that happens to have satanic possession in it. After watching this crackerjack I felt less under the weather, and in fact, much better. Look, sometimes satanic possession is just what the doctor ordered.
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