Satan’s Wife (Un’ombra Nell’ombra) is another slice of late seventies Eurosleaze, this time from Italy. This was the second of three films done by writer/director Pier Carpi, and it’s definitely a trip, that’s for sure. The film starts with a perfectly choreographed dance performed by four women dancing around a fountain looking like happy little ballerinas. That is until the music picks up and four creepy Italians pop out of the woodwork in red tights and join in the dance, turning it into a choreographed disco number. At this point I’m not sure if I should do a line and get down or be afraid (which I am… very afraid. Mostly of the hairy Italian men in tights…) Most of the group break away and we have a one on one dance/grope thing going on with one of the girls and her hairy man partner.
This is all the beginning of a ritual where Lucifer himself (played horribly by Ezio Miani) has his way with four women… oh, and it’s a dream. Carlotta (played by Anne Heywood, who nunsploitation fans will know from The Nun & The Devil) is haunted by the fact that she let Satan get in her pants when she was young and dumb. The result was her having the devil’s baby, and not being able to have sexual relations with any other man… ever… shitty news. Shittier for her is the fact that her daughter Daria is starting to realize who her real dad is and the powers she possesses from him.
Thirteen year old Daria (played by Lara Wendel, who also appeared in Tenebre and Killing Birds) is a spooky little brat indeed. She steals dolls, buries her fingernails in a flower-pot (“no one should ever have access to dead parts of our bodies!”), and she calls out her teacher while discussing Charlemagne. Carlotta doesn’t know what to do so she calls on her three friends from the Satan gang bang to help. But before they meet up we are introduced to Carlotta’s soon to be ex husband Peter, who Daria has a sincere dislike for, probably because she knows he’s not her real dad. We also meet the professor, a former lover of Carlotta’s, teaching chess in a cafe ranting and raving about the battle between white and black, dark and light, and quite honestly it all sounds totally racist at first, which it isn’t.
The middle of the film gets a bit sluggish, but not unbearable as Daria makes things interesting by harassing her teacher, her mother, and her classmate Martin, who she brings home to study and leaves a big old burned in hand print on his chest when he goes in for a smooch. Doesn’t this kid know that you don’t try to make a play on Satan’s daughter? Sheesh… Oh and she shows her stepdad who’s boss.
So how do you rid the evil from Lucifer’s daughter? An exorcism of course! They seek the aid of a young priest who is ready to leave the church because he is questioning his faith (like every priest that’s ever performed an exorcism in a horror film). The exorcism isn’t like the rituals performed in other possessed little girl movies that you may have seen. It’s performed by the priest with the help of the Satanists! What?! The whole thing doesn’t make too much sense as it’s happening and after the fact, Carlotta has to put on fucked up face paint that makes her look like a cross between Ziggy Stardust and something out of Liquid Sky, and perform a second part of the ritual that leads to her final showdown with Daria.
All in all Satan’s Wife is a nice slice of Italian Satan-schlock! Like I said, the film does slow down in the middle but it’s easily made up for with the great performance by Wendel as Daria, and the all around fun mood of the film. I would also like to note that the Italians are a fucked up people, as Lara Wendel was about thirteen years old when Satan’s Wife was filmed and she appears completely nude. Kinda creepy. No creepier than Argento putting his own daughter in films where she is raped I guess, which by the way, is super fucking creepy!