italian horror

Katherine MacColl reacts in terror in Lucio Fulci's The Beyond

If the eyes are the window to the soul then that must make The Beyond a mischievous neighbor kid with a bat and a whole mess of baseballs. Lucio Fulci’s 1981 gore fest is driven by an almost otherworldly urge to inflict spectacularly revolting ocular trauma, utilizing thumbs, rusty nails, and even the occasional ravenous tarantula to do the job. This onscreen eyeball assault is matched only by the film’s persistent attacks on the common sense of those watching.

The audience at the Metropol Theatre in Berlin settle into their seats, crack open a Coca Cola, and prepare themselves for a little horror film. What they didn't prepare for, is to have the theatre become their own personal hell on earth-- run rampant with obscene, ultra-violent DEMONS.

If you’re anything like me, after listening to the recent HorrorHound Weekend Episode, you probably went and scoured the Internet for a film called “Plankton”. Actually, I know you did, because there was a short wait to get the DVD from Netflix. Demonstrable evidence of something that I like to call the “BGH Bump”. Regardless of the reason why there was a wait, the allure of a movie that sounds so amazingly awful is hard to ignore. Truly awful yet entertaining films are hard to come by. And unfortunately, more often than not, promising bad movies wind up being simply bad.

I’m a big fan of Italian horror films. While not always perfect, they have a unique style that lead to a viewing experience that’s one of a kind. The colors, the music, the gore, the women, the religious overtones, all of them contribute to a style that’s unmistakably Italian, for lack of a better word. When I saw that there was a super low budget American film called “The Italian Zombie Movie”, I was curious. Could a super low budget film get that vibe right? Could a director who’s last name isn’t Fulci, Deodato or Argento produce a film with that feel? Turns out, sort of.

We're just over the halfway mark to Halloween and many horror fans have no doubt already revisited many of their favorite films. In a time centered around nostalgia it becomes increasingly more difficult to take in something new, and its even harder to find genre flicks that last. Despite obvious comparisons that can be made to films like "Dead Alive," (one of my absolute favorites), Michelle Soavi's "Cemetery Man (Dellamorte Dellamore)" succeeds in being both a popcorn flick and an art feature, and should be a welcome addition to any horror fan's Autumn lineup.

Growing up, I had a really close friend who would scour the then emerging internet for lists of movies and then hunt them down relentlessly for our viewing. There was always one film that eluded us however. That was Lucio Fulci’s 1980 film, “City of the Living Dead” (also known as “The Gates of Hell” in some home video releases). What drew us to the it was the description of the insanely over the top gore, women vomiting up their internal organs, people’s brains being ripped out the back of their skulls, men having their heads run through with power drills... this movie sounded insane.

**Editor's Note: Angelo is another new addition to our writers team, please welcome him in the comments!**

I have a love/hate relationship with Italian horror films. On the one hand, they are some of the most stylish horror flicks around. Vivid colors, unique and memorable soundtracks, over-the-top ridiculous gore, beautiful women, interesting use of recurring motifs and symbolism, are all staples of the genre. However, theyʼre also, in general, incredibly poorly paced. The question usually is, are they stylish enough that the filmmaking keeps me entertained while the plot is dragging? Unfortunately for "Donʼt Look Now", the answer to that question is no. The film, while having an interesting plot, has some serious pacing issues that detract from the overall experience and prevents it from being the classic that it could be.

That’s a crappy meatball! That’s what I assume all the Italian movie critics said after watching "In the Mouth of Ubaldo Terzani". I read the plot to the film three times before I gave up and just decided to make my own.

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.