• Malabimba (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: March 24th, 2020.
    Director: Andrea Bianchi
    Cast: Katell Laennec, Enzo Fisichella, Patrizia Webley, Giuseppe Marrocco, Elisa Mainardi
    Year: 1979
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    Malabimba – Movie Review:

    While Andrea Bianchi’s Cry Of A Prostitute and Strip Nude For Your Killer stand as popular Italian genre films, the director remains best known for the insanity that is Burial Ground starring the one and only Peter ‘Mother, this cloth smells of death!’ Bark and Mariangela Giordano who, not so coincidentally, also stars in Malabimba (or, if you prefer, Malabimba The Malicious Whore). While the first three films mentioned all stand out as remarkably depraved, they can’t hold a candle to Malabimba and its mix of graphic sex scenes, bizarro characters and off the wall murder set pieces.

    The story? A young woman named Bimba (Katell Laennec) is saddened when her mother passes away during a séance and soon begins to act rather strangely. At first, Bimba’s behavior is just odd – she lifts up her skirt at rather inappropriate times and seems to be suffering from, shall we say, an inflamed libido. Soon, however, she’s completely out of control and giving her bed-ridden old uncle oral pleasure while he lies in bed, unable to stop her from doing the dirty deed.

    Bimba’s father, Andrea (Enzo Fisichella), seems more intent on getting laid than dealing with his dwindling finances now that his wife is out of the picture. When Bimba kisses him on the mouth and gets fresh with him, he starts to wonder if something isn’t a little off. Daddy’s little girl ain’t a girl no more. Complicating matters even further is the fact that Andrea also has to deal with his overbearing mother, and his sister-in-law, Nais (Patrizia Webley), who is intent on getting into bed with him now that her paralyzed husband (Giuseppe Marrocu) is no longer able to perform. After having some doctors explain that Bimba is just dealing with some morbid sexual issues, he decides to bring in a foxy nun named Sister Sofia (Mariangela Giordano) to help him out. They soon find that his daughter is possessed by a spirit bent on ruining her.

    Filled to the brim with all manner of perversion, the film leaves no kink unturned. Once poor little Bimba is possessed she’ll stop at nothing to get herself off, whether that requires an encounter with the nun or a graphic romp in the bed with her stuffed animals, the girl is intent on doing it as often as possible and with whoever or whatever is handy. As such, these scenes make up a fairly large portion of the film’s running time and essentially throw what appears to be a horror film into porno movie territory. That said, it’s a very well shot film with some truly inspired and insane performances from its cast and a couple of eerie moments that remind us we’re watching more than just a simple spank film.

    Bianchi’s picture borrows quite liberally from Friedkin’s The Exorcist, what with Bimba’s indecent exposure at a party held in the family home and with the way she’s able to move furniture around the room without actually touching it. The influence is obviously there, though the locations and sexual overtones definitely set this one apart. The whole melodramatic affair plays out in a wonderfully creepy looking old stone castle out in the middle of nowhere, giving Malabimba a fantastic gothic look that works quite well in the picture’s favor. Despite the uber-trashy content the film looks fantastic and it’s obvious that the crew put some serious effort into the visuals. Additionally, the cast put their all into the performances with Laennec really standing out in the lead. As it stands, the film is an interesting mix of sex and gothic horror that makes no qualms about exploiting its ridiculous premise.

    Malabimba – Blu-ray Review:

    Vinegar Syndrome brings Malabimba to Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from a new 2k scan of the original 16mm negative with the feature taking up just under 30GBs of space on the 50GB disc. The presentation starts with the following disclaimer:

    The main audio option on the disc is an Italian language 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track. There are some spots where the audio, as the disclaimer notes, is a little less than perfect. Optional subtitles are provided in English only. An Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono track is also provided.

    The first extra on the disc is a new audio commentary with film historians and authors Samm Deighan, Heather Drain, and Kat Ellinger. They start off by talking about how 1979 was ‘the year for bat-shit Italian cinema’ before then going into some detail about the castle location used in the film, the gothic appeal of the building, how a sense of chaos permeates every frame of the film, how quite a few other Italian genre pictures used the same location, the questionable relationship of the Giorgio character to the rest of the family, the film’s censorship and release history, the qualities of Katell Laennec’s bold performance, how some of the moments people find funny in the picture may or may not be intentionally comedic, what Bimba uses to masturbate with and if it is in fact a Christmas elf, the film’s thematic connection to Pasolin’s Theorem and how it works elements of nunsploitation into the proceedings, the film’s many jarring shifts in tone, the 1982 remake of the film entitled La bimba di Satana, the hardcore content in the movie and quite a bit more.

    Carried over from the older Severin Films DVD release is a featurette entitled Malabimba Uncovered which is seventeen minute interview with actress Mariangela Giordano and the film’s cinematographer, Franco Villa. Both participants declare that the film’s producers basically pulled a Caligula on them and put the hardcore inserts into the feature after principal photography was finished and without their knowledge. Aside from that, they also talk about the locations where the film was shot and what it was like working with Bianchi on the production.

    Rounding out the extra features on the disc is a theatrical trailer, a German promotional stills gallery, menus and chapter selection.

    We also get some nice reversible cover sleeve art, however, and the first 2,000 units purchased directly from Vinegar Syndrome get a very nice limited edition, embossed slip cover designed by Earl Kessler Jr.. As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie taken from the same restoration is also included.

    Malabimba - The Final Word:

    One of the most insane of the Italian possession films of the seventies and early eighties, Malabimba The Malicious Whore is a remarkably trashy film with some fantastic set pieces and skin galore. Vinegar Syndrome has done a great job bringing this one to Blu-ray.

    Click on the images below for full sized Malabimba Blu-ray screen caps!