italian horror

In 1972, director Massimo Dallamano teamed up with cinematographer Aristide Massacessi (aka Joe D’amato) to make “What Have You Done to Solange?” Dallamano was an accomplished cameraman in his own right, having shot Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More”. Directorially he had a made a name for himself 3 years earlier with the infamous “Devil in the Flesh (aka Venus in Furs)”. Ultimately though, Solange’ would prove to be his best known and most highly regarded work.

Lucio Fulci is probably most famous for his role as accelerant in the Italian gore arms race of the late 70’s and early 80’s. If Argento and Umberto Lenzi were Kiss and Alice Cooper then Fulci was Gwar. His signature works of grue abandoned logic and cohesive narrative in order to push the splatter factor past revulsion to near parody. Films like “Zombi 2”, “City of the Living Dead” and “The Beyond” sought out increasingly severe and unconventional ways of getting entrails, connective tissues, and the four humors onto the screen by the bucketful.

A young girl enters an old Roman apartment building in the middle of the night. The lobby is empty and the elevator is broken. She starts cautiously up the stairs and the lights go out. She continues onward with only the glow from her cigarette lighter to guide her through the darkness. At the top of the stairs a killer lies in wait… Not the most original sounding set up for a kill sequence. However, any material in the hands of Dario Argento is bound to come out sideways, backwards or upside down and it will inevitably be much more interesting than a simple synopsis would suggest.

Black gloves, black raincoat, beautiful but unstable women, more red herrings than a Finnish wedding reception, metaphorical animal titles, Haute Couture, J&B whisky, and a slightly naive protagonist caught in a killer’s path. If this is ringing a bell then chances are you have seen at least one giallo in your lifetime. ‘Giallo’ is of course, the generic term given to a spate of hundreds of violent whodunit films to come out of Italy between 1963 and present day (though the heyday was the 60’s and 70’s).

Produced by the snappy individuals responsible for both "The Orphange" and "Pan's Labyrinth," Stefano Bessoni's upcoming horror/thriller "Imago Mortis" is shaping up to be the sort of picture I'd like to see. What's more, it's scripted by one of the fine fellows behind Jaume Balaguero's outstanding "[Rec]," which is, of course, grossly superior to its US counterpart. Unfortunately, the trailer currently making the rounds for "Imago Mortis" isn't in English, but the imagery alone is enough to get the blood pumping.

Here's the synopsis from IMDb:

Celebrated horror director Lucio Fulci's final production, the less-than-stellar "Door Into Silence," will make its Region 1 debut on June 30th courtesy of Severin Films, the edgy genre-friendly distributor responsible for giving Vidal Raski's ultra bizarre cult favorite "The Sinful Dwarf" a much-needed home on DVD. Your desire to purchase this admittedly dodgy motion picture will depend greatly upon your tolerance for John Savage, car chases involving funeral hearses, and half-baked psychological terror. In other words, it's probably better suited to Fulci completists than anyone else.

THE BEYOND

Starring Catriona MacColl, David Warbeck, Al Cliver

Directed by Lucio Fulci

Grindhouse Releasing

It seems that, since just about everyone in the world of horror is so well aware of "The Beyond", and, even more appropriately for me, everyone in the world of horror has already written their own opinions about it, that to add mine just seems, well, totally redundant. You might as well title this “Not Another 'The Beyond' Review”.