Malabimba: The Malicious Whore (Andrea Bianchi, 1979)

posted in: Duane, Review | 0
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A sixteen year old girl is possessed by what appears to be the evil spirit of her deceased mother. Her recent lascivious behavior causes all manner of problems for her family as they struggle with financial issues and a terminally ill uncle. And people copulate wildly.
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Umm… wow. Talk about a film that was practically made for us to review. The paper-thin plot of Andrea Bianchi’s (Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror, Strip Nude For Your Killer) Malabimba is a pretty poor attempt to ride the coattails of The Exorcist, with a bit of nunsploitation and a weird coming-of-age connotation thrown in  for good measure. It ends up being more porn than horror film nevertheless, as the running time is amply padded out with a shit-ton of nudity and sexy sleaze and (depending on what version you see) hardcore sex inserts.
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The plot centers around an affluent family in financial woes in their castle, a terminally ill uncle, and the troubled sixteen year old daughter, Bimba. Before a dinner party a medium is) hired to conduct a séance, who inadvertently conjures the evil spirit of deceased wife Lucrezia. Shit gets crazy (read: windy) and suddenly the novice nun/nurse (the always sleazy Mariangela Giordano [Patrick Still Lives, Burial Ground: The Nights of Terror]) who is taking care of Bimba’s invalid uncle is overcome with lust and proceeds to molest herself with wild abandon. The rest of the film digresses into the cripple’s wife, Nais (Patrizia Webley; Salon Kitty, The Bloodsucker Leads the Dance) fucking all the guys in the house, Bimba acting out in the form exposing herself, masturbating, trying to fuck her Dad etc.; to describe this film as sleazy is a gross understatement. Consider this: a sixteen year old girl just going through puberty is possessed by her dead mother and proceeds to descend upon her paralyzed bedridden uncle, undressing and fondling herself in front of him before sucking him off as he lays there horrified. I don’t even know if there is a term that adequately describes that level of depravity, but I’m reasonably certain there’s a specific circle of Hell devoted to it. This is one of the few films that I can’t justify belly aching at the lack of debauchery or cheesecake.
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Malabimba isn’t a bad film, provided one delves into it with the proper expectations. The horror elements are nonexistent other than Bimba occasionally speaking in Lucrezia’s voice and there’s no gore or violence worth mentioning. As far as being one of the “notorious” Exorcist rip-offs, that’s definitely a stretch; there is little to no similarity to a possession film at all: Bimba doesn’t do anything supernatural nor does she look like anything but a sixteen year old girl (ok, she looks like she’s twenty-something, obviously) with a bad haircut. Many of the other films in that category such as The Antichrist and Beyond the Door do things much better (and dare I say far less abstract) with the horror aspects, but I’ll be damned if I can say they come close to this one in the libido department.
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Bianchi definitely has a good eye behind the camera and manages to make even such an obvious excuse to show naughty bits interesting. The castle setting isn’t anything new, but one could argue that despite the limited storyline there are even a few Bava-esque elements here. The scenes with the blow job and the bedridden uncle really illustrates this point as the scene is set up with atmospheric shots of the room, creepy lighting, with all the trimmings; in fact it reminded me of some of the corridor scenes in Whip and the Body (albeit to a far lesser extent). For Bianchi to put that much effort into the film is worthy of accolades, as this could have easily deviated into another vapid cheap Italian sex film under the wrong leadership. Despite all the sexiness, Malabimba could easily be viewed as an acerbic commentary about puberty (Bimba is mentioned to have been “slow” in her womanly development) and the horrors accompanying it.
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Fortunately, the aforementioned female leads in the film are quite attractive and certainly provide the film with more than ample nudity. Patrizia Webley is certainly not shy and spends the majority of the film semi-nude and whoring, trying to seduce anything with a pulse. Conversely, Mariangela Giordano is in a (novice) nun’s habit trying to appear as chaste as possible and does an excellent job of teasing the viewer (which provides for plenty of excitement when we do get to see her actually slutting it up). Katell Laennec gives a splendid performance in the role of the titular Bimba Caroli; her innocent looks and almost androgynous appearance makes it all the more shocking when she gets down and dirty; her performance will undoubtedly leave you feeling like you need a shower or three.
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The porn inserts are uncharacteristic in that they appear to have been filmed in cohesion with the main production (i.e. the same props/décor/wardrobe is used, etc.) resulting in a far more convincing final product as opposed to some other instances where this technique is used (in They Call Her One Eye the X-rated footage is so obviously random it doesn’t even make sense). It’s quite evident that those involved cared a great deal about this production in all facets.
Malabimba might not be for everyone; certainly if you’re looking for a horror-themed film about possession and devilry then keep searching. Those with a proclivity toward Eurosleaze and trash cinema will likely be delighted at what this film has to offer. Bianchi’s brand of pseudo-highbrow impishness is unquestionably a spectacle to behold.
Official COSDS Nunspank Rating:
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Duane co-founded The Church of Splatter-Day Saints in 2005. When not immersed in film he's enjoying good whiskey, smoking meat in the backyard or thinking about sluts. He makes a damn fine habanero fire sauce.

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