'MOVIES ABOUT MOVIES, ITALIAN STYLE' FOURWAY!MURDER OBSESSION (1981, A.Prime, Chaybee: 6/19/2016)Despite nearly strangling her co-star during the filming of a giallo-style picture, Michael (Stefano Patrizi, a young Tom Atkins/David Spade looalike) invites his co-workers to join him at the remote castle her recluse mother (Anita Strindberg) shares with caretaker Oliver (John Richardson). Weird shit starts happening... but it takes an hour for mayhem to come swiftly. Which is fine because director Riccardo Freda has both an eye for dream-like visual composition and the trust of attractive leading ladies (Gal Gadot-lookalike Laura Gemser, Silvia Dionisio) so he can photograph them very nude and very sexy. In the absence of any ground-breaking trope I appreciate it when filmmakers throw me eye candy as a distraction bone. 3 Off-Key Piano Tunes (out of five)A BLADE IN THE DARK (1983, Epix, Daniel Epler: 6/17/2017)A film composer isolates himself in a villa to score a horror movie ("Bob" cameo alert!), then has to deal with women (girlfriend, director, roommate of previous tenant, etc.) walking in and out at all times. As an alleged member of the 70's/80's golden era of elite Italian slashers, this is a major letdown. It's a generic, predictable and s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d o-u-t (110 min?!) bore that had be begging for a blackout. There are a couple of neat kills with sharp objects that sexually arouse the killer (or so we hear), but the beyond-shitty English dub's perpetual echo of a not-soundproof booth constantly annoys. 1.5 Blood-Soaked Tennis Balls (out of 5) THE BLACK CAT (1989, A.Prime, E.S.A.D.D.: 6/17/2017)What Luigi Cozzi lacks in filmmaking skills the man compensates for with sheer balls size! Two married couples that work within the Italian film industry come up with a surefire hit: a spiritual sequel to Argento's "Suspiria" based more on the literary roots than the film (even though music cues from Goblin's soundtrack and Morricone's "The Thing" constantly play). While the men try to convince a Carlo Ponti-like super producer (Brett Halsey) to back them up, their wives start making moves to play the coveted part of uber-sorceress Levana. If the very ending of "The Beyond" had a baby with "The Visitor" it'd be this batshit movie! Not well directed, but it rewards your Italian horror tolerance for utter nonsense. 3.5 Smokey Refrigerators (out of 5)CRUEL JAWS (1995, YouTube, Mike Giammarino: 6/22/2015)Even by Italian exploitation standards this is amazing. Bruno Mattei "borrows" footage/plot/characters from Universal's "Jaws" series and other Italian rip-offs, but for all practical purposes it's an unofficial remake of Spielberg's '75 classic. A Hulk Hogan-lookalike in a prominent role and a 'WTF?' explanation of the shark's existence eventually shares screen time with the mob subplot from Peter Benchley's original novel. The English dub is as crappy as the special effects, which the schizophrenic editing constantly highlights. Did you know "Stanley Winston" was the 2nd Unit Director? Come for the laugh-inducing kid in a wheelchair calling her seal "gay" (!), stay for the thrice-repeated "Star Wars" intro-like jingle. 3.5 Hampton Bay Summer Reservations (out of 5)
Bummer to hear that you didn't enjoy A Blade in the Dark! I've been meaning to watch it for a while now...seems like it would make a fun double with Berberian Sound Studio.
Just my colored-by-expectations opinion, Brian. Feel free to disagree if you actually like "A Blade in the Dark." :-)
Blade in the Dark and Berberian Sound Stuido would make a really interesting double. I hadn't thought of that before.
J.M., I actually haven't seen A Blade in the Dark yet! That's why I was bummed...disappointed to hear that it might not be what I was hoping for. We shall see!
If you feel like it watch "ABITD" and make up your own mind, BS. Other F-heads swear by Lamberto Bava and his mise-en-scene, so what do you have to lose besides two hours of could-have-been-watching-CNN waste time?
Castle of Blood (1964, Antonio Margheriti and Sergio Corbucci)Look, it's all fun and games drinking with Edgar Allen Poe, hanging out with Barbara Steel until a ghost hands you a whiskey and the theremin starts playing and everything goes tits up.I really loved this movie, the gothic and the strangeness of it all. I love a good creepy house movie, and this a brilliant creepy house movie. It's creepy and sinister and a favourite so far.
That is a beautiful film, Lindsay. Certainly not a masterpiece of storytelling, but definitely a masterpiece of atmosphere. Margheriti remade the film in color in the early 1970s as Web of the Spider. It is a fine film but not at the level of Castle of Blood. Which version did you watch? Last year I saw an 88-minute cut put out by Severin. I know there are public domain prints that run around 82 minutes.
Have you seen Nightmare Castle? That and Castle of Blood are my favorite Barbara Steele films. I have never warmed up to Black Sunday, which is still a landmark film despite what I think of it.
I watched it on tubi, so I'm guessing it was the 82 min. But you're right this movie is a master of atmosphere and I'm going to have to get the Severin Blu. No I haven't seen Nightmare Castle but I will have to check it out!
I wrote a column on the Nightmare Castle Blu-ray. It’s just outstanding. One of the bonus features is another Barbara Steele film. Heavenly joy.
Check that! Make that TWO other Barbara Steele films, including Castle of Blood!
Good lookin' on the link, Vargas. Cheers!
Thanks, Chaybee, but WTF are you talking about? :-)
Haha, you linked my old review, dumbass!
Oh, oops, commented on the wrong thread - I'm the dumbass :)
As the currents news cycles show, no one person has the monopoly on dumbassery. :-( And that's my theme for Junesploitation! 2020: F-heads' previous picks for J! are my guide to picking new-to-me movies.
I've just gone on a Gothic Italian Horror spree Nightmare Castle (thanks JB! That Blue looks amazing - and great article as usual) Dr Hitchcock and Long Hair of Death.
Hey, I watched this one too! Tubi 82 minute version also. Agree completely with the comments here- beautifully atmospheric and creepy, with gorgeous Barbara Steele.
The longer cut of Castle of Blood is actually put out by Synapse. Severin put the 82-minute cut on the Nightmare Castle blu-ray. It is a blu-ray I am proud to own.
This is always one of my most anticipated days for Junesploitation. What makes it better this year is that I have the pleasure of a first watch, The Long Hair of Death. That is a rarity these days. I paired it with a second film for a double feature to honor the grand dame of Italian horror, Barbara Steele.THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK (1962, dir. Riccardo Freda) on Amazon PrimeWhen I saw this for Scary Movie Month last year, I was very disappointed. It did not feel much like a horror film at all. With this re-watch, my reaction was the same but expectations had changed. I realized that The Horrible Dr. Hichcock is more of a gothic romance than a traditional horror film, which helped me appreciate the film a little more. I even got some enjoyment from it. The beautiful color cinematography really stood out this time, too.Barbara Steele portrays the new bride of a prominent surgeon, the infamous Dr. Hichcock. He has a certain attraction to playing around with the bodies of dead women. As soon as the couple move back into the doctor’s old mansion, which he left after his first wife’s death, strange occurrences start to happen. Steele’s character has to untangle reality from delusion. This is not a recommendation for a newbie to Italian horror. Though there are enough horror elements to call it a horror film, the pacing and nature of the story can make it feel like a slog. There are better entry points, like Black Sabbath, Suspiria, or Zombie, to the genre.THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1964, dir. Antonio Margheriti) on Amazon PrimeThis viewing was another experience of expectations. The beginning is like other gothic Italian horror films: a bound woman accused of witchcraft awaits her fate as the fuel for a big fire is piled up. As the flames intensify, the woman puts a curse on the noble family that rules the town. Then… an hour of seductions, marriages, deaths, and political intrigues in the castle. The level of carnality for 1964 is surprising. There is even brief nudity in a one of the love scenes. Where is this going, I asked myself.Then… a very supernatural conclusion. It does repay the patience of getting through the middle of the film.I am glad I watched it. Would this interest anyone not already well acquainted with the genre? I am not so sure about that. The Long Hair of Death is a beautifully shot movie, and the restoration on Prime, despite some brief visible damage to the source material, is breathtaking. Barbara Steele may not have photographed better than in Long Hair. If you go into this not expecting scares, it could be a pleasant watch. TERROR IN THE CRYPT (1964, dir. Camillo Mastrocinque) on Amazon Prime Why not throw in one of my favorite discoveries from recent years. This was probably my fourth watch of this film. Though very unheralded in the Italian horror genre, I find it very atmospheric and entertaining. There is, again, a witch putting a curse on a noble family. This time around it is the Karnsteins, as in the Karnsteins of J.S. LeFanu’s vampire novella Carmilla. The twists added to the source story are what make the film memorable to me. Christopher Lee plays the lord of the castle and, fortunately, got the chance to dub himself. That was not always the case in his Italian films.
All sound deliciously Gothic, I've been meaning to watch Hancock for a while, but the other two are added to my list. It's another one of my favourite things about Junespolitation is that my watch always gets longer.
After seeing how Riccardo Freda handles dream-like scenarios in "Murder Obsession" I'm intrigued by "Horrible Dr. Hichcock." I'm trained to expect 60's Gothic Italian horror to be B&W, so the color might be a deal-breaker... until Barbara Steele shows some skin, then I'll completely forget about it. :-P
I've never indulged in Italian Horror, so came here to the comments looking for ideas. I decided to roll with The Long Hair of Death. The title intrigued me, as well as your little review. I was into it. Thanks!
Glad you found a film that you liked, Scott. You proved me wrong about The Long Hair of Death not being a gateway film. I try to make my write-ups helpful.
Body Count (1986, Ruggero Deodato)This was the movie I expected, yet at the same time it was nothing like the movie I expected. A group of disparate overly horney kids go to the woods in the midst of a knife wielding killer. Yet, there is also a mature story of a toxic marriage and an affair. It feels like a seperate movie happening next to the Slasher movie. Almost. There are couple of interesting ways Deodato decides to shoot certain things, and then in the next shot will do exactly the thing you would except, you can almost see Deodato crossing the t's and dotting the i's. I wasn't expecting to mull over this one as much as I am.
OPERA (1987):"The hills are alive with the sound of....METAAAALLLLLL!!!" DEEP RED (1975):I found this one kind of funny, for some reason. I think it's all the casual references to "the murderer" in conversation. "I wonder if he's the murderer!" "Do you remember where we saw the murderer?" It's as if Italians have just resigned themselves to the idea that there will always be a psychopath murdering models and journalists, and they've decided to roll with it.
THE-APPLE-FELL-FAR-FROM-THE-TREE-SPLOITATION!The Whip and the Body (La frusta e il corpo) (1963, dir. Mario Bava)Demons (Dèmoni) (1985, dir. Lamberto Bava)Pretty happy with my picks, which came about almost by accident. Mario Bava directed a moody, beautifully shot and slow-paced gothic horror film about a sadomasochistic ghost. His son Lamberto made a nasty, violent and bloody movie with gore effects and a rock score.
The House by the Cemetery (1981)The first things we see are a topless woman, an impaled body, and a person stabbed so hard through the back of their skull that the blade protrudes from their open mouth. This all happens before the title even comes on screen. Yep, it’s Italian Horror day!All I knew about this one going in was that lots of people seem to hate Bob, the little boy at the center of the movie. After watching it...well, let’s just say I’m in no rush to have #TeamBob t-shirts made up. Still, this is everything you want from Fulci, it’s surreal and gory and probably plays phenomenally well in the 2am slot of a 24-hour horror marathon. Viva Italia!
I love this one more every time I watch it. Might be top 3 Fulci for me.
I love Bob and I think this is my favorite Fulci. City of the Living Dead & Zombi are right behind!
Same here. The more I watch it the more I love it.
Aenigma (1987)I'm always extra hopeful when I'm about to watch a Lucio Fulci film I haven't seen. This came out the same year as Zombi 3 and a year after The Devil's Honey, both fun in their own way. I wanted to like this. There is definitely things to like but not enough. I was confused what was happening but that is nothing new with Italian Horror. Zombi, House by the Cemetery, City of the Living Dead and The Beyond are much better Fulci films. If you haven't seen those, you should start there before heading to this.
StageFright1987, dir. Michele SoaviStreaming on AmazonSoavi has an intriguing career and I’ve found a strange fondness for his small body of work. This film is the only one from his early horror run that I never got around to watching. Despite being a bit slow to get going, it ends up being a fairly competent slasher with a few truly standout moments. The owl mask killer looks cool but I wish there was a bit more to him. David Brandon somehow sweats more than the rest of the cast members of this weird serial killer/rapist community theater musical combined. I participated in theater stuff all through high school, so all this movie really did for me was remind me how much I hated getting up in the rafters. If you want something much more ambitious and mesmerizing, go with Argento’s ‘Opera’ or even Soavi’s ‘The Church’.
It's been fun reading through this day seeing who is REALLY into Italian horror and who is just completely perplexed and overwhelmed.
Nightmare Castle (1965)I love the plant in the hallway that bleeds and when characters walk down dark hallways with candelabras. There’s a shot near the end where the doctor stands in front of a forest, illuminated by a lightning storm that is the most beautiful thing you will ever see.
My first Italian horror, so I put on my training wheels and started here. I enjoyed hearing a Morricone score in something other than a Western. It Was all horror organ, but still Morricone.
Opera (1987)I didn't like the soundtrack, but I appreciate the idea. Honestly, I'm kind of shocked I didn't like it. Maybe a second viewing will help? Fortunately, I own it now, so I likely will revisit this in the future.
Manhattan Baby (1982)I had dragged my feet getting to this because I had always been told this was a "lesser" effort from Fulci. I completely disagree. I had a ton of fun with this movie.Nice to see Bob again!
Kill, Baby... Kill! [Operazione paura] (1966 - Mario Bava)This movie had everything I expected today. A pretty but always skeptical lead actor, helpless women moaning due to nightmares, a completely misleading title (and more of those in different versions like "Curse of the Living Dead" or the German translated version "The Dead Eyes of Dr. Dracula") and a look that could have inspired Black Sabbath for their debut. Yet, I enjoyed it a lot. It was fun to watch, had some cool settings, some nice looks and ideas. Recommendation!
That German title cracked me up. haha Yes, love this movie. It's Bava at his most "Hammer".
Deep Red (1975)It's not my favorite Argento film, but it's the one I watch the most often.
Totally get that. Despite all the "murdering" it's almost light and breezy. Plus, Daria Nicolodi might be at her most charming.
A BLADE IN THE DARK (1983) I like Argento and Fulci as much as anybody, but Lamberto Bava is my jam. This is a basic whodunit with striking similarities to a certain very famous horror flick. The whole thing has a meta level to it, as the main character is a composer scoring a horror movie-within-the-movie. Maybe a little slow at times, but we’re here for the super-stylish kills, and that's where Bava delivers. 30 days of HELLO MARY LOU: PROM NIGHT II, day 3 For today’s viewing, I focused on our heroine Vicki and what her character arc might be. Like Carrie, Vicki is constantly repressed by her mother and bullied by the popular girl at school. Therefore, supernatural freakishness becomes a metaphor for her escaping feeling repressed. Then, once Vicki is possessed by Mary Lou and goes all out-of-control, we can theorize that this is what Vicki wants on some subconscious level. Also, when are side-ponytails going to make a comeback?
Can't wait for the rewatch when you focus exclusively on how the casting director found a young actor who looks like he grew up to be Michael Ironside. :-)
Enigma Rosso (1978) a.k.a Rings of Fear a.k.a Red Rings of Fear a.k.a The Virgin Killers a.k.a Trauma a.k.a fuckin hell, so many titles - Watched under the title "Orgie Des Tordes" (PAL VHS)Sleazy Giallo. Good nudity. Christine Kaufmann is gorgeous. Boring and formulaic (they all are for the most part but it's part of the charm). Riz Ortolani score is excellent, of course. 3/5 nipples
The Night Of The Devils (1972)I wasn't really feeling this movie. Maybe it was the subtitles. I wasn't really doing well with subtitles (which I normally prefer) but there was no dub available. Mostly I was only half concentrating on the movie. I'm not sure what the film was about in the end and watching was a drag... Juneslpoitation gone wrong!
The Bloodstained Butterfly (1971)Found this on Prime and it looked to be much more of a horror film than it is. Has a really strong opening but gives way to a pretty standard giallo. I was entertained for most of it but it fell apart for me in the last 30 minutes.
Suspiria (1977)Pretty obscure stuff, I know. Thing is, I'm using this grand opportunity to take care of a few egregious blind spots and finally watch some movies I should have seen ages ago. It's going to be an overall theme of my Junesploitation experience, so don't be surprised to see more super basic choices from me in the coming weeks. Anyway, Suspiria. I don't know if you guys knew, but there's some striking visuals with really intense colors in here, plus some really freaky, disquieting music and a lot of disturbing things happening to young women, mostly. Two thumbs up!
Streaming, high-def home video or 4K Blu-ray? Because the higher up the resolution/DTS ladder you climb the prettier and more immersive those colors, Goblin tunes and crazy narrative put you inside "Suspiria's" world.
It's the ceiling maggots that make this a true horror classic.
After all the junk that I have watched for the past month. Watching Mario Bava's Black Sunday was so refreshing. Beautiful B&W photography, a movie that felt like it gave a shit about what it was presenting. It was moody and operatic like Italian horror should be. I haven't watched too much Italian Horror (i'm trying) but I have watched Fulci and Argento but I was expecting more gore with this, it was there, but more in line with what was released in 1960. I will be adding this to my Halloween rotation, this is a great find so far this year.
Island of the Fishmen (1979)This one shoots right out of the gate with some tremendous practical effects. Heads get ripped off and necks get lacerated. That lasted 10 minutes then it goes down hill. We learn why they are fishmen. I wanted to be interested but I just wanted more peoples heads to be removed from their bodies. Is that too much to ask?
Witch Story aka Superstition 2 (1989)I adore the original Superstition. I saw someone on Twitter was watching this and I had never heard of it. It's better than it should be but not as good as I wanted to be. There are ton of kills by different characters so that was fun. My favorite part was when one of the boys says to his cousin "we're not really related." That way, if they do it, everything is alright.
Added to the list thanks!
Demons 3: The Ogre (1988) dir. Lamberto BavaAs so often happens in Italian Horror this started as a standalone movie then was tied into the Demons series. It has nothing to do with the first two Demons movies (there are no demons in it), and the titular Ogre has only a couple minutes of screen time. It was disappointing, pretty dull, especially when compared to the insanity of the Demons films. Skip it and watch Demons and Demons 2 instead.
Cemetery Man (1994)More on the comedy side than the horror of course and from a quick search it seems like a lot of people here are already familiar with this one. I enjoyed how odd it was and had a good time with it. I've tentatively got Michele Soavi's much more recent The Legend of the Christmas Witch scheduled for Kid day since it's free on Prime and I haven't watched it yet.
The Sect (1991) Man, I know the word bonkers gets thrown around a lot, but this was truly next level bonkers. The plot is almost impossible to describe beyond the basics of a woman finds a mysterious chamber with a well in her basement and that she has been groomed by a satanic cult to give birth to the anti-Christ. There is insect trauma, a rabbit using a remote control to change the channel, and a giant bird (maybe a pelican??) having sex with a woman. I don’t really know what I just watched, but it was very stylish and entertaining. After this, Stage Fright, and The Church, Michele Saovi is 3 for 3 in my book so far. I still need to see Cemetery Man.
Delirium (1987, dir. Lamberto Bava)I really love Lamberto Bava movies. They move so well and are so consistently entertaining. This one is everything you'd want out of Italian Horror day and then some. It has some of the craziest surreal imagery, gross violence, and yes... an enormous amount of sexuality. Honestly, it's just really fun. Bonus points for George Eastman AND Daria Nicolodi!
This one is due for a re-watch. I remember being very entertained, and it has been a long since I watched a film with Serena Grandi. That "eye-for-a-head" scene is still in my mind.
Todays choices are Demons(1985) and Black Sabbath(1963). I have seen parts of Demons nut nothing of Sabbath so I watched the trailers to both and then flipped a coin. Best 2 out of 3 to keep it fair of course.Black Sabbath(1963) Mario Bava I watched a subtitled version who knows if it is the original. Found on Amazon Prime via the Fandor Channel. A dubbed Boris Karloff who seems very happy to be here introduces a to three tales of terror™. The first story features Michelle Mercier as a woman who has real bad luck in choosing friends and lovers. Rosy has sent her boyfriend to prison for unknown crime and starts receiving threatening calls from a unknown stalker the same day the ex breaks out. This segment seemed more Giallo or thriller than horror but a fun way to start the movie. Michelle Mercier is just "chef kiss" as Rosy and if I'm truly honest I have to admit her appearance in the trailer is why the coin flip went 2 out of 3. Sorry for the bias Demons but I still have flaws and weaknesses. I'm working on it.The second Story is an old world take on the Vampire or sorry Wardulak tale featuring Karloff as the head of a family turned into a Wardulak who decides to keep his brood together. Its got a few spooky scenes and really great shot I wont spoil of the youngest member of the clan. Karloff does look like he is having a blast in this and you got to respect a character "that doesn't turn his back on family" ™Universal™ The third tale is a "Just Desserts" tale. A riff on the tell tale heart and the most outright "Horror" tale of any of the stories. A nurse takes a ring that doesn't belong to her. The original owner may or may not be coming to get it back. This one is creepy from the word go with full on death mask faced old ladies, creepy cats and phantom baby cries. Look Can we talk for a second. Babies are creepy we all know it. We pretend they are cute and they maybe are when you can see them. But no one likes baby cries. Especially if you ain't got no baby. Also until you see it no one knows what's in that baby carriage. There could be some scary shit in there. It could be Larry Cohens "Its alive" inspiration. But there are no carriages in this story though so that's good. Sorry for getting distracted. But this was probably my favorite of the group and one who's fingerprints can be seen on a long list of other horror films. The final scene is an outro of Karloff telling you good night. That pulls out into an awesome final shot of the film that really shows you how much fun Karloff and maybe the crew are having. Overall a fun film. 3/3 on Junesploitation so far. I'm digging it.
My favorite Mario Bava film, Munkee. The Telephone is definitely giallo, and The Drop of Water is a masterpiece. The funny thing about Black Sabbath is that the American version and the Italian each have there own strengths. Structurally, I find that the Italian version works best. Ending with A Drop of Water is better than starting with it, which the American version does. The absence of Karloff's inimitable voice is the biggest flaw of the Italian version.
Tenebre (1982, dir. Dario Argento)I realize first seeing this movie now is like discovering Joy Division in 2012 but it's so great, loved it.
Inferno (1980, dir Dario Argento)First time watching and it thought it was ok. I'd still rate Tenebre, Suspira, and Deep Red higher than this. It did have some good sequences, kills, and atmosphere. I would have preferred a Goblin soundtrack. My bigger issues are how long it takes to understand the reasoning behind the murders, the change in main character(s), and how people in the building are related to the overall plot. But still good enough for a second viewing and maybe things will click better.
Eye in the Labyrinth (1972, dir. Mario Caiano)More thriller than horror. Stylish but a little slow. Not even Sybil Danning livens it up enough for me to remember much about it. Going to watch some Fulci to course correct.
The Church (1989) dir. Michele SoaviIt's as if Ken Follett had a fever dream written by Dario Agento with a weird ass score by Philip Glass and the Goblins and you got this heap of strange. There's enough solid production value and bizarre Rube Goldberg set pieces to keep it interesting.Not a bad late night flick, and duly recommended for the horror buff.
The Beyond (1981)I like Lucio Fulci a lot, but for whatever reason his movies tend to run together for me. That frustrates me, so I want to do a rewatch of his filmography to begin to separate them in my mind. I started tonight with The Beyond. I've seen this one the most and I dig it more and more each time I watch it. The sound design is bonkers, the eye trauma is almost too much, and the spiders are worth it alone. This movie is super-weird, very gory, and I love it.
Deep Red (1974) dir. Dario ArgentoGot to say, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when they revealed the trans person wasn't the murderer. After what we've gone through here in Tallahassee, it's good to let these old tropes die. Great Argento, needs more Goblin.
That'd sadly make it the exception to the unwritten-but-prevalent rule in Italian horror: gay/transgender = evil/killer. :-(
The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh (1971, dir. Sergio Martino)It's never really planned, but I think I watch at least one Martino film every June. Why stop now?This is a Giallo I absolutely acknowledge is very good but also was the wrong choice for tonight. Some Giallos are full-on horror movies, and some are more thrillers. This is a thriller. And I watched it right after Delirium and this isn't half as crazy as that. This is a good movie, but I didn't vibe with it tonight. I should have went with an Italian gothic or zombie flick. Oh well!
I watched it for the first time pretty recently and "didn't vibe with it" pretty well describes my reaction too. I get what you're putting down.
Glad to hear I'm not crazy. I appreciated that it was actually about something and it's got a really good Edwige Fenech performance. But it wasn't what I wanted.
City of the Living Dead (1980, dir. Lucio Fulci)Yes, I've seen it 10 times, but I wanted to introduce Erika to a Fulci she had never seen and it was a good excuse to finally check out the 4K restoration on our Arrow Blu-ray. Still my second favorite Fulci behind THE BEYOND. Such a nightmare movie.
Lisa and the Devil (1973)The Italian exorcist with Kojak as The Devil. Don't worry, they snuck in the lollilop...and for some reason a mannequin with a mustache.
I have a strange affection for Lisa and the Devil. Although it is not Mario Bava's best work, LISA has stayed in my head longer than some of his more famous movies. There is a dreamlike quality to it that makes it easy to revisit. Even the atrocious Exorcist rip-off made from LISA, House of Exorcism, I have grown a little fond of over the years. HOUSE always make me laugh.
Spasmo (1974, Umberto Lenzi)Umberto Lenzi has the same attitude to nipples as Joel Schumacher.It would have just been a psychological giallo. But Lenzi, cause he's Lenzi puts a strange almost Gothic landscape behind what's happening. It's makes everything off kilter and a little creepy. I had a lot of fun with this. Especially with characters just popping up like they had teleportation powers.
Tenebrae (1982, dir. Dario Argento)This gets better and better each time I revisit it. Daria Nicolodi, John Saxon, and Giuliano Gemma all hold esteemed spots in my personal pantheon of exploitation icons, so it’s such a treat to see them all in the same film. This time around I was over the moon for the bizarre subplot about John Saxon’s love affair with his new hat; I could have watched a half-hour of unused takes of him swinging his head around in wild circles to display the quality of that hat!
Opera (1987)Huh. Not really sure how I felt about this one to be honest. After it ended my only reaction was to scratch my head. Kind of a rollercoaster of a movie, just not sure if it was a good rollercoaster or not.
Ghosthouse aka La Casa 3 (Umberto Lenzi, 1988)Delightful! And the score is fantastic.
CON-TV has the Rifftrax version of "Ghosthouse," and it's a freaking scream. "Ghosthouse" is worth seeing on its own once, but afterward rewatching it with Mike, Bill and Kevin is almost mandatory. :-)
The Church (1989)Rise up against the Tectonic Knights?!
The Stendhal Syndrome (1996)Asia Argento is very good here as a tortured police officer, as is Kretschmann, who jumps into the role of disturbing rapist/killer and nails it. Very well shot, and though the CGI doesn’t work at all (this was apparently the first Italian film to use CGI, and it really shows), I appreciate what Argento was going for. I did love a scene where Asia’s character walks through a painting into a city street- great stuff. Overall, a solid entry in the later career of Dario Argento.Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)In some respects I'm glad I've seen this... but this is one I will never watch again. Both beautiful and incredibly horrific, and feels like it may end up feeling more like a documentary if we keep heading the way we're heading.
"Stendhal Syndrome" is the last Argento movie I'd classify as good and rewatchable. I can't think of anything he's done after '96 that rises up to worth renting, let alone owning. :-("Salo" is such a work of pure artistic rage that it's worth preserving as a time capsule of 70's Italian protest cinema. But yeah, there's a reason I haven't bought the Criterion Blu-ray over the many chances I've had to purchase: I never want to be in a place where I'd have the urge to rewatch it.
The Church (1989)Like most Italian horror films, I thought the imagery, goat-man, and tone was great, but I don't imagine I'll revisit this again because of a lack of narrative and awkward editing.
FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (dir. Bava) Least favorite Bava I've seen. I read this was more a horror than thriller but it wasn't really either. People are getting killed over an annoyingly bad jazzy score and then others keep discovering them over and over. Didn't feel it.