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Author Topic: ITALIAN HORROR-EXPLOITATION CINEMA  (Read 18828 times)
The Firecracker
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« on: April 01, 2006, 03:49:48 PM »

since there is a british horror hammer film thread, I thought it might be appropriate to have a italo horror film thread. Now I am not to familar with the genre itself but I have a few titles that are worthy entries to the genre.

I have...

Kill baby kill: A Mario Bava film that deals with a cursed town that is haunted by the ghost of a little girl whom the towns people neglected her when she was dying. The film is creepy as hell and for the better part of an hour and twenty minutes you are not sure of what is happening(which is a good thing). The last ten minutes are a downer because Bava has to start making sense out of the movie, but he should have left well enough alone. The film is excellent except for the cheesy "hollywood" type happy ending. And as a bonus it has a few spaghetti western regulars in it such as sexy Erica Blanc and the always slimy buissness man Lulli Piero as the town inspector(who dies off to quickly). This film also has an excellent creepy soundtrack.

The Hatchet Murders: another good horror film from Dario Argento that faulters in the first half hour but picks up the rest of the film. The "reveal" at the end was a complete shock! Shocked
Very good film, it fails to scare sometimes because of the "not so scary" soundtrack. The soundtrack is excellent but it makes you want to flick your fingers to it rather than want to shiver in fear of it.

Suspira: Another good one from Argento. Soundtrack is excellent. Creepy movie throughout, not as scary as "Kill baby kill" but a worthy effort in trying to scare you.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 11:36:01 AM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2006, 11:28:34 PM »

I own Ennio Morricone's excellent soundtrack to the Italo horror film "Black belly of the tarantola". I have yet to see this movie. I saw it sitting there in the horror section of the local dvd store(the blue underground version) and wanted to pick it up just for the music, but it was bit to expensive so I got "I spit on your grave" for 5 dollars.

for those who dont know..."I spit on your grave" is an awful film(not because of the subject matter). The director has no sense of where to put the camera, it is often just positioned in an awkward place and left there, making the film hard to watch. It is incredibly tedious at times, you wish the main character would go on her killing rampage, as the film promises, the first ten minutes in!!!!! Terrible film.
stay away from it. I should have picked tarantula instead.

Anybody seen any Lucio Fulci horror films?

« Last Edit: April 02, 2006, 11:37:17 AM by The Firecracker » Logged



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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2006, 07:14:08 AM »

Is Suspiria Italian?
Thats a brilliant film i recall!

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« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2006, 11:07:00 AM »

being a huge fan of zombie movies I love Italian zombie movies... it's really about the same relationship I have between westerns and spaghetti westerns... I own fulci's Zombi2 and city of the living dead(which is surprisingly the better of the two)... also the house by the cemetery... between blue underground and Anchor Bay there are just too many to choose from, I recently purchased but have not viewed yet the Pyjama Girl Case which looks amazing. there are about a dozen Italian horror movies blue underground has released that I would love to see.

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« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2006, 11:35:00 AM »

Is Suspiria Italian?


Well Argento directed so I would imagine it is. I believe so anyway.

Chum: I have seen "house by the cemetery" at the local dvd store and want to see it, but with a title like that I was expecting ti to be a supernatural spook fest, but instead I found out it is a serial killer who tries to murder a family. Too bad. I take paranormal over psycho nut bag any day. oh well.

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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2006, 05:40:58 PM »

SUSPIRIA is very much an Italian film. Like much of Argento's work it has some good set pieces, but just does not work very well in it's entierity. For me his only completely satisfying film was FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET, and even his most rabid fans admit he hasn't made a decent film in years. His Jennifer Connely starring PHENOMENA (released the year after ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA) is bloody awful. Indeed, Argento's "set piece death scenes" have had a pretty bad influence on the genre, as Italian directors have gone to more and more desperate lengths to conjour "spectacular" deaths, which merely bacame more and more daft.

I have pretty much a love/hate relationship with Italian horror. Love some individual films, hate the vast majority of them. One of the "loves", if you can love something so damned ugly, is Ruggero Deodatto's CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST. It's one of the most intense and challenging horror movies ever made, with a narrative structure almost as complex as CITIZEN KANE, and an ending which has been ripped off by ROMPER STOMPER and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, to name but two. It also features some reprehensible animal deaths on screen, something which instantly makes many hate the movie, but then again so does APOCALYPSE NOW and PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID to name but two more "respectable" productions. However, so gleefuly nasty is the killing on camera of an alligator in Deodatto's earlier and quite revolting ULTIMO MONDO CANNIBALE, I find it impossible to say I'm a fan of Deodatto's work in general.

In the 1970's (CANNIBALE HOLOCAUST was made in '79 and released in 1980), Italy ground out some of the most extreme and brutal films ever made. Often it seemed that their film makers were indulging in sheer naked misogeny, as in Fulci's THE NEW YORK RIPPER, where the camera lovingly follows a razor blade as it slices through a womans breasts.

Then there was the whole cycle of Nazi fetish films, such as SS EXTERMINATION LOVE CAMP and THE BEAST IN HEAT. Fortunately these are usually rather more silly than their provocative titles suggest, and what's even odder, seem to have all arisen from Liliana Cavani's art house hit, THE NIGHT PORTER.

Another love. Thank's to Mario Bava, we have the magnificent Barbera Steele looking her best in the suberb MASK OF SATAN (aka BLACK SUNDAY), a black and white gothic horror which rivals anything from Hammer films at that same period. Later he brought us the delicious Marisia Mell in DIABOLIK, and he's a film maker who's work I want to see more of.

Unlike Lucio Fulci. I recently saw his very silly, but vastly regarded BEYOND, which stars David Warbeck, who was of course James Coburn's IRA friend in GIU LA TESTA. It's another one of those endless parade of Spag Nasties which makes no sense whatsoever. Set in Louisiana, it opens deacades ago, as a group of angry rent-a-mob types attack an isolated hotel. It's main guest, a painter, has discovered one of those pesky old books from which he's learned of the existence of 7 gates leading to hell. Would you know it, the hotel he's staying in is built on one of them. The angry ones crucify him to a wall and chuck quicklime all over him, causing a great deal of dissolving. There's a lot of dissolving folk in this 'un, seems to have been Fulci's big idea that week.

Cut to the present day, and Catriona MacColl has been left the hotel in her rich uncle's will. The place is a dump, with a river (the river of hell!!) running through the basement, and comes with it's own imbedded staff, in the shape of Arthur and Martha. A series of people helping to get the place together for a grand re-opening start to die, often involving dissolving and screaming. One of them falls off a ladder, is paralysed and has his face eaten off by a flurry of spiders, both real and comically mechanical. MacColl starts seeing ghosties, and befriend's David Warbeck, who plays a constantly scowling doctor who works at the local morgue.

Things happen and two blind girls are involved, though I've forgotten already what the hell they were doing in it. One of them lives in the same house as Kieth Carradine in PRETTY BABY. Eventually the dead start to walk. Warbeck reminds us that he is a doctor, and doesn't believe in this mumbo-jumbo. Soon though he's armed with one of those six shot revolvers which never run out of bullets, shooting the dead.

He is actually extemely bad at this. He shoots them all over their anatomy but they still keep staggering on. Eventually going for the head shot, one of them falls over "dead". He tries this again with the same success. Being a scientist however, he fails utterly to notice this corrolation between "shooting them in the head makes them stop" and "shooting them anywhere else doesn't", so carries on with the body shots. After rescuing MacColl from the clutch of the zombies, where does he decide to take her, where they'll be safe? To the dead body filled morgue, of course. He just doesn't think things through, this bloke. He also tries to load his gun by dropping bullets down it's barrel. Now, I've never handled a gun in my life, never mind starred in a Leone western, but even I know that's not how it's done. Once again, as the "chief zombie" (the dissolved painter, I think), staggers towards him, he shoots him all over his body. I was actually shouting "The head! Shoot 'im in the head, you idiot!" at the screen, by this point. Amazingly, the film manages to end with quite a good idea.

The rest of it though is strictly for those folk who love watching papier mache heads with red dyed water gushing out of them in more and more silly situations. Warbeck was so taken with the plot though that he wrote a never made sequil himself, called BEYOND THE BEYOND. Thus it is with all too many Italian horror's. For every ZOMBIE FLESH EATERS (aka ZOMBIE 2, also made by Fulci), featuring possibly the world's greatest bikini, there is a BEYOND. Don't even get me started on LA CASA DALE FINESTRE CHE RODONO (The House With The Laughing Windows). As every character in that film says, "I'll tell you later."

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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2006, 02:10:10 PM »

Juan Miranda

If you like Mario Bava you should check out "Kill baby kill" like I mentioned earlier. That flick begs to be seen.

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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2006, 05:32:21 PM »

I would love to see KILL, BABY, KILL especially as last night I watched the Euro compendium film HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES. I was uttery blown away by the film's final segment, TOBY DAMMIT, directed by Fellini. I've been told that Fellini used some imigary and plot ideas from Bava's film (released the year before), so if nothing else, I'd love to compare the two films.

TOBY DAMMIT also has a Spaghetti western connection, in that Terrence Stamp plays a drunk, washed out British actor travelling to Rome to star in "the first Catholic western".

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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2006, 05:57:59 PM »

well if you would like...I could burn you a copy of mine and send it to you.

unfortunatly my copy is an old pan and scan version of the film.

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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2006, 09:05:14 PM »

That's a very kind offer, Firecracker. A friend of mine here in England is a mega horror collector, and I should be able to see it round his house soon, but thank's for the thought.

Mean time, here's some grabs from the groovy madness that is TOBY DAMMIT.











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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2006, 06:17:05 PM »

well if you change your mind, just ask me.

That last picture is definatly reminiscent of "Kill Baby Kill". The ghostly girl that haunts the town bounces a ball around sometimes.

actually that last picture also reminded me of another film I saw on cable many years ago.

It was an edgar allan poe adaption of three of his short stories.
One of the stories starred Jane Fonda. All three stories were rather weird and very advant-gard. I couldnt make out the meaning to none of them.

The last story had was about a celebrity who sold his soul to the devil. The devil shows up as a little girl(much like the one in the picture) who carries around a rubber ball.
Is "Toby Dammit" the same film? That girl with the ball is a dead ringer for the "devil girl" in the  Poe movie.

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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2006, 06:23:52 PM »

I just noticed in the last picture the girl is sitting next to an escalator. THAT IS THE SAME MOVIE!!!! she is in an airport or train station or something like that(cant remember which). And she first appears to the celebrity on the escalator.

But I dont remember any of the other screen shots being in the same film. strange.
Is Toby dammit one film, or three seperate stories?
I remember distinctly that the first story was with Jane Fonda in some medieval story about a ghost...the second story I dont remember...and the last tale was about the celebrity doing a talk show and a demonish little girl with a ball that shows up to take his soul(I believe).

am I right Miranda?

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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2006, 06:42:29 AM »

Yes, TOBY DAMMIT was the last story in the Euro anthology film you mention. Called HISTOIRES EXTRAORDINAIRES, or SPIRITS OF THE DEAD in the US, it is based on three stories by Poe, the first of which was directed by Roger Vadim, starring his then wife, a very grumpy looking Jane Fonda. The second story was directe by Louis Malle, starring Alain Delon and Brigitte Bardot (with black hair!), and shot by Leone regular, Tonino Delli Coli. The last story, by Fellini is in a completly different league from all the others though. Just extraordinary cinema.

Interesting to hear that the little girl with the ball (actually the Devil) is the image Fellini has lifted from KILL, BABY, KILL. If that's the case, then one could argue that Bava has himself lifed that image from Carol Reed's ODD MAN OUT and THE THIRD MAN, both of which feature creepy kids with bouncing footballs.

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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2006, 09:54:39 AM »

In "Kill baby Kill" the bouncing ball doesnt get featured until an hour into to the movie.

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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2006, 04:36:03 PM »

Juan Miranda did you see Histories Extraodinaires on DVD or TV. I have always wanted to see what this movie was like. I bought a Barbara Steele oldie Castle of Blood on ebay yesterday (original not a DVD-R and it has some nice extras) and was directed by spaghetti regular Antonio Marghereti. I have Kill Baby Kill in a box set with Blood & Black Lace and Whip and the Body. Other Italos in my collection are Black Sabbath, New York Ripper, Cold Eyes of Fear, Bird With the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Tenebre and Suspiria. I'm not so keen on the Zombie  cycle...i have a few on VHS but at the moment i am concentrating on Mario Bava and other 60's ones.

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