Monday, June 3, 2013

Junesploitation Day 3: Italian Horror!

Quando i morti usciranno dalla tomba, i vivi saranno il loro sangue!

Today's entry is Italian horror, so expect lots of dubbing, gore, bright colors and plot incoherence disguised as "dream logic."

È Junesploitation!


  1. Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka A Bay of Blood, aka take you pick of one of its other multiple titles, 1971)

    Ok, so thats a Giallo movie.
    Probably not the best movie to watch while having a couple things going on that were distracting me from time to time. I got mixed up with who was who a few times with a couple of the main characters looking similar (does that make me a racist?), which didnt help in my ability to play along with the "Whodunnit" aspect of the movie.
    The killings (which is what we're really here for) were gloriously over the top and comical which lead to a few "Ahhhhawwwww" moments on my behalf (i.e. single swipe of an axe at a head leaving a close up of a squirting bloody stump of a neck).
    And the ending is....something else. I got lost with flashbacks whether the end is in present or the past, but it was a weird way to end it regardless.

    Roger Corman demands it!

  2. Lucio Fulci's DON'T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972) on DVD for the first time.

    A depraved but stylish 'giallo' about a small Italian rural town in which young boys are being brutally murdered by someone from a deep pool of red herring suspects. Without a surrogate lead character to latch onto (the closest being a pretty rich woman with a drug problem that likes to seduce 12-year old boys while naked :-O) we're basically lost into the maze of the depravity that each suspect's actions seem to carry until it's clear whether they're the killer or not. Except for a couple of well-placed, hyper-violent, mannequin-abusing gory moments Fulci actually shows a knack for playing "the game" and show-off some directorial skill. A brutal beating set to a romantic song on the radio stands out. With the typical mediocre dub and barely-passable acting we've come to expect, "Don't Torture a Duckling" will be a revelation to Fulci fans and/or just another 'giallo' based on your love/tolerance for the genre.

    My NEW-TO-ME MOVIES from recent days:

    6/2/13: Shihoe Imamura's VENGEANCE IS MINE (1979) on DVD, already talked about during Revenge!

    6/3/13: Echo terrorists, and the dumpster-diving indie filmmakers that loved them. Zat Batmanglij's THE EAST (2013) in theaters.

    The best new movie I've seen this year by far. Rama Burshtein's moving and engrossing FILL THE VOID (2013) in theaters.


  3. Black Sunday (1960)

    Per JB's recommendation went for this fun treat. After a local witch gets her pores opened up in an extreme skin treatment she takes a short 200 year old nap and then decides to meet the locals in town. Great atmosphere, some genuine creepy effects, best tiki maskploitation film ever!

  4. This is a little off-topic, but I just wanted to say that the addition of the suffix "sploitation" to everything has been my favorite part of Junesploitation so far. It never fails to make me laugh.


    A dark comedy/horror hybrid about a caretaker(Rupert Everett) of an Italian cemetary and his mentally handicapped assistant who sometimes have to contend with zombies. Everett falls in love in love with a young widow(Anna Falchi), but things go downhill when her undead husband kills her during their affair, and she comes back as a zombie, or does she? Very self-aware and unique and Everett's dry droll attitude works. The WTF?! ending is extremely polarizing but ballsy.

  6. Yeeeeeeeehaaaaaw, Italian Horror.


    The House By The Cemetery (1981) directed by Lucio Fulci

    Wow, this was a great time. I really dug this one, and even loved how the bad guy looked a little like one of Tom Baker's bad guys from 70s Doctor Who. So there's a house, right? And it turns's by a CEMETERY. And because of that, like....a bunch of stuff happens. There's also this little blonde boy named Bob who frequently ends up in the center of the action/mutilation. So I guess the subgenre is Bobsploitation? Sorry. Bad joke. Good movie.

    1. Bob is the best/worst. Can you explain that last shot for me?

    2. Oh, I don't know. The way I read the scene, the wife and daughter of the mean old man were finally free from the house, so they were able to leave and go be dead in other places. But there's the sound of children crying, so they won't be happy. And Bob's there, too, though we didn't actually see him die. Did they just pull him into the other side?

      It doesn't entirely make sense. It seems deliberately vague and unclear. I think Fulci is riffing on The Shining, But maybe not. I'm not sure if he had enough time to be influenced by that movie before this one came out in 1981.

      How did you read the last shot?

    3. I might be confusing it with Gates of Hell. Is it not the one where it freezes on a totally innocuous shot of the kid while the music and some offscreen screaming make it sound like something terrifying is happening? I thought it was.

    4. Yeah, that must be a different movie. There's no freeze frame of a kid and no offscreen screaming. What you described sounds like the last shot of Mary Poppins.

    5. Yeah, it's Gates of Hell. Just watch the last scene and tell me if it makes any goddamned sense.

    6., that makes NO sense. Is the kid possessed or something? Why is his sister so upset? Did he step in dog crap as he was running toward her? I guess I won't be watching that one. Ever.

    7. Watched the last seven minutes of the film.
      I think it's about an upset at the Italian National Staring Contest...where stabbing Alfred Molina in the nuts with a cross is allowed under the rules resulting in full immolation of the losing contestants.
      Then they climb up out of the contest hall to be greeted by the kid who is a complete klutz. He runs straight into them full speed and they all fall back down onto the floor of the contest hall breaking their necks.
      The happy ending being for the cops as they now don't have to do any paperwork about the whole mess.

      Glad I could help. ;-)

  7. Deep Red (1975)

    Every time I watch an Italian horror movie I remember why I don't watch more Italian horror movies. I see why people dig 'em, but they're just not my thing. This one features lots of dreamlike imagery, off-kilter music, and lots and lots of people destroying walls with hammers and chisels. Dario Argento is clearly terrified of walls.

    As far as I'm concerned, Argento's greatest contribution to cinema is still Asia Argento, but I'm sure I'll still give more of his movies a shot eventually.

    1. I watched Deep Red for the first time, too, and I can really just copy and paste EVERYTHING you said. I keep trying to find a way into Italian horror and it keeps pushing me out. I think I've now seen every one of Argento's "classic" movies (save for Tenebrae), and I have yet to like one.

    2. Sadly, I feel the same way. I want to like it, because there is some serious style going on, but it never strikes me as something I want to watch.

  8. Baron Blood (1972)

    An Italian directs an American in Austria. What could go wrong? Mario Bava (Bavspoiltation!) stages a few good scares here and there, but this story of a resurrected sadist mostly vacillates between being dumb and dull. Elke Sommer is easy on the eyes, but when she gets scared she has an odd habit of standing stock still and staring for a moment before finally screaming. The film does feature the only haunted castle I know of that sports a very prominent Coca-cola vending machine.

  9. THE BEYOND. This Fulci guy doesn't pull any punches, does he? Face meltings, exploding heads, eyeball pokings, spiders with truly impressive jaw muscles, and so on. I also like how the movie introduces the idea of magic doorways at the beginning, which helps explain the way around some sloppy editing at the end. How did they get from the hospital to the house's basement in an instant? Ooh, magic portal. (Teleportation-sploitation!)

    1. I think we have a -sploitation joke winner. I just laughed so loud I may have woken neighbors.

  10. Black Sabbath

    One of my favorite horror anthologies. The Telephone and The Wurdalak segments are fine but the last one called The Drop of Water is actually scary (this coming from someone who doesn't get scared during most horror movies). That ghost woman is terrifying. Plus, the movie is hosted by Boris Karloff!

  11. Lisa and the Devil

    A murderous melodrama set to violin-accompanied elevator music, this Mario Bava Spaghetti Sauce (it's like Spaghetti western for horror) features the devil (it's really him) and a mother obsessed murderer with a love affair for fancy dinner jackets and candles, lots of candles.

    Plenty of dream sequences, plenty of brooding silences, plenty of evil butlers, all Italian horror (spaghetti sauce).

    Fun Fact: the candle budget on this film nearly bankrupted Mario Bava. It wasn't until the sequel, Lisa and the Devil go to White Castle that Bava would go completely under.

  12. Red Riding Hood (2003)
    Confession: I’ve never watched an Italian horror film before, and I really didn’t want to. But I did want to participate in every day of Junesploitation! Paticipation-sploitation!

    Red Riding Hood was weird. I honestly couldn’t tell if it was going for satire on purpose. The acting was sub-par, the script was a mess, and the gore was super cheesy. I could have easily forgiven all of this if the audio hadn't been so awful.

    And the end. I didn't get.

    1. This summary accurately describes almost all the Italian horror I've ever seen, so it sounds like you got a pretty good representation.

      Participation-sploitation indeed! You rule.

  13. Suspiria (1977)

    Maybe it's the weird vibes from the isolated dance academy. Maybe it's the slew of insane killings, or that awful snore coming from the figure behind the curtain. Perhaps it's the insanely creepy Goblin score I would never want to hear anywhere outside of Movie World. I was incredibly lukewarm towards this movie when I saw it a few Halloweens ago, but this viewing has convinced me that maybe I don't despise exploitation flicks as much as I thought. At any rate, I have to go look for the barbed-wire room at my school now.

  14. Kill, Baby...Kill! (1966)

    Chose this one for it's super exploitation-y title, but it's actually relatively tame - atmospheric and a little spooky with not much in the way of gore. Moments of confusion were more likely caused by lapses in attention than the usual Italian Horror fucktardedness because it's a pretty straightforward haunting movie with a basic science vs. superstition theme.

    I'd really only recommend it to someone interested in the genre - it's okay, but nothing special.