The on-screen title of both the main feature and the trailer on this disc is LA BIMBA DI SATANA.

Maria (Marina Hedman) lies dead on a concrete slab in the crypt of her wealthy family's castle. As the film begins, her husband Antonio (Aldo Sambrell) has gathered the local doctor Juan and servant Isidro to make arrangements for her burial. After all, his daughter Miria (Jacqueline Dupre) and mute, wheelchair-bound brother Ignazio are sure to be disturbed by her body lying around the castle - even if she does remain oddly beautiful even in death.

Within minutes a dispute has begun: superstitious Isidro is convinced Maria should stay put, as he reckons the dead return to their loved ones in time. Juan is a man of science and argues that this is nonsense; Maria must be laid to rest. Between them, Antonio and Juan get busy with arranging a dignified farewell.

Resident nun Sol (Mariangela Giordano) - employed to tend to Ignazio's needs - is thankfully there to comfort young Miria, who's understandably upset about her mother's passing. "You will feel better when you wake up", Sol tells the pretty blonde as she tucks her in.

That evening, with Juan gone, the family and their aides settle down for their first night in the castle without Maria. And weirdness ensues.

We soon learn that Antonio is a heroin addict, disabled Ignazio is a peeping Tom and Sol likes a good wank on an evening when the habit's off.

Worse than all of those though, is Isidro. That cunt has been busy worshipping Satan in the castle's catacombs, unbeknownst to the others. He's most likely responsible for Maria's dead soul possessing poor Miria and starting her on a killing spree.

Still, Isidro gets it first. So there is some justice. The only other people who need to worry are those who did her wrong. And, whoops for them, that turns out to be just about everyone ..!

Filmed in soft and hard versions for International markets in 1982, the film is neither a true horror nor effective porno (even in its hardcore variant, which this version is not). It is, however, something akin to a low-rent Jesus Franco film. Yes, you read that right.

But the old grey, decaying castle interiors make for a marvellously atmospheric setting. They alone give the otherwise poverty-row SATAN'S BABY DOLL a modicum of visual style. However, aside from a few set-piece scenes when Nico Catanese's excellent score springs into life and some stylish coloured lighting is employed, this remains a very slapdash and ugly film indeed.

Pacing, continuity and comprehensibility are not high on director Mario Bianchi's (FAMILY BESTIAL GAMES) list of priorities. Even less so here, in fact, than in the film this serves as being a loose remake of: Andrea Bianchi's superior MALABIMBA: THE MALICIOUS WHORE (1979).

The film is saved by a high sleaze factor, some nice nudity and Catanese's aforementioned score.

This version of SATAN'S BABY DOLL opens with the following disclaimer: "Shameless Films are proud to present this unique extended version which includes scenes only previously available in a very rare German language XXX edition. Some of these newly inserted scenes are however rather scratched and worn but due to their rarity we have decided to include them here for your viewing delectation".

Indeed there are a few scratchy moments, but kudos to Shameless for going that extra mile when Severin couldn't be arsed. Already, this makes the UK release of this film superior to its US counterpart. Yahoo!

The film, generally, looks very nice in a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that boasts good colours, accurate flesh tones and strong blacks. Contrast is controlled and whatever grain there is, is never excessive. The scratchy inserts are not too frequent, nor are they problematic - you're getting a more complete version of the film so it seems fair to accept them.

The Italian mono audio is a little echoey in places, sometimes threatening to compromise the brilliant Euro-rock score. Dialogue is thankfully clean and clear throughout. Optional English subtitles are provided in good, easily readable yellow text.

A nice animated main menu page leads into an animated scene-selection menu allowing access to the main feature via 12 chapters.

Extras begin with the film's original trailer. This is presented in Italian with optional English subtitles, and has enough bad acting, cheap sets, female nudity, minor gore and hairy balls to paint an accurate picture of what it's advertising.

"Aldo's Alternate Gown Scene" is an alternate take of one short chase scene in the film. Handily, Shameless also show the scene in split-screen format, alongside the take that was used in the final cut. The only difference amounts to better editing in the final take. This comparison lasts for less than a minute.

An "Alternate Opening" looks scratchier than your average After Hours offering, but provides a good bit of lesbian nudity accompanied with soft lighting and overwrought choir music - so who's complaining? This feature is three minutes in length.

A 15-page text biography of Giordano follows, adapted from an article by Alan Jones and Mark Ashworth that originally appeared in Shock Express 2.

Finally, we get the all-new "Shameless Trailer Park". This serves as an incredible showcase for Shameless DVD's impressive catalogue so far, offering mini-synopses and shortened trailers for 24 of their titles. Running 28 minutes in total length, this features previews of great titles such as PHANTOM OF DEATH, KILLER NUN, NIGHT TRAIN MURDERS, BABA YAGA, WATCH ME WHEN IN KILL, THE BRONX WARRIORS TRILOGY and more.

The disc is defaulted to open with trailers for LOVE GODDESS OF THE CANNIBALS and THE BEAST IN SPACE.

No packaging was available with the screener disc, so I'm unsure as to whether Shameless have continued with their trend of reversible cover sleeves. I do hope so.

Silly, cheap and bereft of style, SATAN'S BABY DOLL is still quite enjoyable if you share a tolerance for nondescript Eurotrash. The effects are cheap, the sex is soft and the performances are pure cheese.

But if you like the film, or are even just curious about it (or why so many over-the-hill thugs you see in pubs seem to have its cover tattooed on their forearms), then Shameless' disc is the only way to go.

Unless you're adamant about seeing the hardcore version. In which case, you'll need to learn German and pay through the arsehole for the Kult Video release. But, believe me, it's not worth the bother.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Shameless Screen Entertainment
Region 2 - PAL
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review