Woah! An Italian horror movie I haven’t seen! Well, that was my first thought, but my pal Jocke reminded me that we actually saw it during one of our so-called “geekends” a few years back. Maybe not the best sign that I had no memories whatsoever of Alessandro Capone’s Witch Story (aka Streghe), a generic title which fits a generic flick. I suspect I fell asleep during that first viewing years ago and missed a lot of it, because most of the time now it felt like it was the first time watching it!
A bunch of teenagers arrives - by bus by the way, no Scooby Doo Van here, to a small town to spend a weekend at an old house, owned by the family of one of the pieces of meat… I mean, of the characters. But the house have a backstory none of them could imagine. It was once owned (I think… not sure sure actually) by a witch named Helene and before she got lynched by a hysterical mob of grown men actually believing it’s proper to burn a woman alway, she casts a curse on the house and everyone in it… and that’s not a good sign in an Italian horror film. Soon our bunch of meatheads gets killed one by one by the witch...and there’s some sidestory about a cursed priest also, played the excellent - but almost always slumming - Ian Bannen.
Yeah, it’s not weird that Witch Story was released as Superstition 2 in some territories, because it’s quite similar in style and - more or less - story. The script is generic to say the least, but Capone was (or is? haven’t seen his latest works) a competent director and the movie looks like a million bucks. Or at least half a million. Or maybe close to one quarter of a million to be honest. Anyway, the cinematography is stellar and so is the visual storytelling - and for once this late 80’s Italian horror flick had a set designer who actually cared about doing something with the locations instead of just hanging a painting askew. Witch Story oozes of atmosphere and it’s lit in a way that every damn shot looks like a work of art.
If only there was a better script. Yeah, there’s nothing new here. The kids fuck and fight, walks away alone and gets killed, listens to lame rock music and all of them have that special non-special look the Italians loved so much when casting young wannabe-actors in the US. We who have seen a lot of these Italian productions shot in the US between 1985-1990 recognizes the cast. No, it’s not the same actors, but it’s the same characters. Like very low key spoof of American teens, less silly than those in local productions, but also lacking charisma. Witch Story have a slightly better cast than many others in the genre, but that doesn’t stop it from having a few of the worst actors I’ve seen so far also - and I’m looking at you Pierre Agostino, sleepwalking his way in an important role as a priest. The kids themselves are mostly okay actually, and it seems - but I’m probably wrong - that there’s a few scenes with improvisation on camera, which works better than I thought it would. The bickering in-between the kids, especially around the table, almost sounds realistic.
How about the gore then? It’s not especially gory, but it’s bloody and violent and delivers the goods that way. But one would wish for some more graphic violence, not only cheap stabbings. But it doesn’t mean it’s lame or anything like that, it’s more sadistic and dark than for example Umberto Lenzi’s similar and awesome Ghosthouse.
Witch Story is out on DVD in Germany, a quite nice anamorphic print, uncut what I know and with forced German subs. Well worth a purchase if you can find it!
Giovanni Frezza, the in euro cult circles, famous child actor did his last part in Lamberto Bava’s Demons. It’s very fitting. This is a boy that graced us with his appearance in Lucio Fulci’s The House by the Cemetery, Lamberto Bava’s A Blade in the Dark, Enzo Castellari’s The New Barbarians and Lucio Fulci’s criminally underrated Manhattan Baby. That’s quite an impressive career of Italian genre cinema. In Demons he’s 13 years old and I guess it was time for him to focus on school and getting a real job.
And it’s a great farewell, on several levels. The last we see of Giovanni is in a jeep, going away from the hoards of Demons chasing him and his family (and the leads of Demons also, but that’s another story). This is not just a goodbye to us, the audience, this is a goodbye to Italian horror movies. The Italian movie industry couldn’t go any further after Demons was released. It’s extremely gory, it lovingly embraces the colorful neon-style of 80’s cinema, the dialogue is outrageous, the screenplay is batshit insane and stuff just happens. There’s no logic in it, helicopters falls through the roof when they’re needed and just when characters say something will happen it happens.
If Demons was mention in the Guinness Book of Records it would be under the headline “The Most Unsubtle Movie Ever Made”. But this also makes it such a good movie, because it dares to go where few others would stray. I’m not sure who was the driving force behind it, but considering Lamberto Bava’s dislike of gore it wouldn’t surprise me if Dario always was at hand, checking so the movie would deliver what he promised the distributors. And it’s very gory. I always forget how much until I watch it again, and there’s so any decapitations, ripped flesh, gouged eyes and chopped off limbs - it’s almost like a dream come true.
No, it’s IS a dream come true, a movie that only could have been released in 1985 and still be a classic today. It literally have everything you want from a movie like this, everything. Sometimes you see a poster or a cover and your imagination starts running amok. You see so much stuff in front of you, stuff you want to happen. And then you realize the filmmakers deep inside are pretentious assholes who think they’re doing a seminal, subtle future horror classic and brags about how genre cinema becomes more effective and scary without showing the money shots. Let me quote Roman Polanski:
“I don't really know what is shocking. When you tell the story of a man who is beheaded, you have to show how they cut off his head. If you don't, it's like telling a dirty joke and leaving out the punch line.”
And that’s something everyone involved in Demons understood. The actors are in on it, Lamberto obviously are also, almost like he’s trying to outdo what Argento probably asked him to do. The set up, inside a cinema with Italian genre posters on the walls sets the tone of it; this is a meta-movie, a celebration of all things Italian horror. It don’t even try to be serious or subtle, this is it. This is the definition of 80’s horror, gory splatter, a euro cult music video, a senseless video rental classic, drinking game brilliance, tongue-in-cheek madness, spiked hair fashion. A cocaine-fueled neon orgasm.
When Giovanni Frezza leaves us at the end of Demons it’s not only us, the audience, he’s leaving. He’s saying goodbye to Italian genre cinema, not only for his own sake, but in general. Sure, Demons 2 came and didn’t make the same kind of graphic blood splash - even if it’s a movie I’ve come to like more and more over the years. It just never became the same thing after Demons, like someone penetrated the Italian genre cinema balloon with a needle right through the eye… and all was gone.
Because what the hell should the filmmakers do after Demons? It’s impossible to beat.
Intervision Picture Corp have stirred up a lot of enthusiasm by releasing the last movies of legendary Italian director Bruno Mattei, two cannibal movies two zombies flicks. But wait, there’s more! The Jail, a great WIP film is out there, just waiting to get proper distribution. It’s probably Mattei’s most accomplished production from his last years, a brutal mix of sleaze and gore - and its even better than most of it’s counterparts from the 70’s and 80’s. But one that’s been totally ignored, even if it’s been released on DVD in the United States is the not-so-spectacularly named The Tomb.
A group of hot archaeologists and their professor travels to Peru to examine a newly discovered Mayan temple, where a vengeful high priest was buried hundreds of years ago. Like in all movies of this kind something goes terribly wrong and oopsie daisy, the high priest comes alive in the form of a demon-esque guy and his horde of supernatural beings, mostly zombies (which makes this his third new zombie movie before he died!) and skeletons. The students have to fight their way out from the underground temple to survive!
Maybe the only funny scene in Scary Movie 2 is when a walking skeleton is seen… and no one thinks is scary. And it’s not. Skeletons is never scary, except if they have some rotten flesh still on the bones and a pair of crazy, big eyes. So when David Brass, a Mattei and random Filipino movie regular, as professor Santos, the local expert and guide, gets attacks by footage lifted directly from Sam Raimi’s Army of Darkness, we’re not talking bloodcurdling terror exactly.
I’m a big fan of Mattei, and very forgiving fan. It’s clearly that Mattei hadn’t found his comeback-style yet, or maybe it was producer Paolucci who made him restraint himself when it came to violence and gore. Because this fucker is pretty dry. Not super-dry by any means, but compared to what he did in Cannibal World, Land of Death. Island of the Living Dead, Zombies the Beginning and the above mentioned The Jail: The Women’s Hell, The Tomb don’t have that much to offer.
But it’s still impressive, considering the cheapness of it. Everything begins with the attack and execution of the high priest, played competently by Hugo Baret, and we’re treated to a nice temple set - which of course is the set used in the rest of the movie also - and colorful Mayan costumes. Most of the movie is later set inside the temple and the archways and tunnels around it, with only quite mediocre actors to accompany us I can’t say its boring, but its hardly something to celebrate either.
If only The Tomb had the same form av absurdity like Island of the Living Dead, gore like Zombies the Beginning and sleaze like The Hail, it could have become an awesome rip-off of The Mummy, Indiana Jones and every other temple movie around the block. Now it’s just okay and most of it is because of nice sets, gorgeous jungle and the fact that it’s Mattei pulling the strings behind the camera.
There’s something fishy (sorry for that, couldn't help myself) with Piranha 2: The Spawning and I can’t point out exactly what it is. Being an infamous troubled production ending with director James Cameron being fired and - according to some sources - breaking into the editing facility to re-cut the movie without producer Assonitis knowledge, but caught and the movie restored to what Assonitis wanted. But there’s also people who say that Cameron left the movie exactly like he wanted to. Who should we believe? I don’t know.
Lance Henriksen is a tough local cop who’s constantly argue with his ex-wife. Their teenage son have discovered girls and gets interested in a tourist girl. At the same time mysterious deaths connected to a diving school gets Lance attention, mostly because his ex-wife owns the school. Melodrama deluxe. Once a year it’s a tradition to witness the spawning, some fish-related stuff and all the guests at the luxury hotel will participate… but what they don’t know is that the water...and air...is packed with flesh-hungry flying piranhas!
Piranha 2: The Spawning (also with the title Flying Killers) have very little to do with the original movie by Joe Dante, a masterpiece of tongue-in-cheek 70’s cinema from the stable of Corman, instead the sequel comes off like the rip-off of Jaws the first movie was blamed to be (when it wasn’t, just a cash-in with a spoof-twist) and is deadly serious. Almost, because a couple of the guests and crew at the hotel is the typical comic reliefs.
Lance Henriksen is excellent, believe it or not - considering the source material - and is really cool and hard as the sheriff (wearing a costume he bought from a waiter and an upside-down freebie pin to fake a police badge). There’s really some electricity between him and Tricia O'Neil, and the added drama with his teenage son makes it more interesting. Storywise it’s a bit dry, with the occasional fish attack, but it really never takes off. The awaited finale when the fish attach the moronic hotel guests on the beach is good, but too short.
How about the gore then? The fine make-up effects by Gino De Rossi is acceptable and the flying is fish is not THAT corny, just a little bit. It’s bloody, but not overly graphic. Plus one point for a nice miniature helicopter explosion and some of the weirdest sexual tension I’ve seen in a movie of this kind. Because there’s a very subtle, but yet present, incestous vibe between the mother and son in the story, and the rest of the film have a very odd, hardly noticeable, sexual atmosphere to it.
Either people were fucking like rabbits behind the camera or Cameron could have been the sleaze master if he didn’t choose the super-mainstream path. We have Piranha 2 to thank for the existence of Terminator by the way, something he dreamed up during a feverish stay in Rome for the release of his first fishterpiece.
No, Piranha 2: The Spawning isn’t the super-bad movie some people claims it is. It’s just a pretty standard killer-animal movie with an absurd premise and a really cool hero. That’s something I can live with.
There’s times when you just have to do something to be able to go on with your life, one of those was yesterday when I researched The Eerie Horror Midnight Show and found out that the leading lady of that movie, Stella Carnacina, six years later starred in a disco musical retelling of the life of Christ. Yeah.
A DISCO MUSICAL RETELLING OF THE LIFE OF CHRIST. Holy Motherfucking Son of God!.
Make no mistake here, I’m not religious - or hardly even spiritual (but I try to keep an open mind), but I just can’t stay away from something like this. I even kinda like musicals, if the dare to be different. like Jesus Christ Superstar, The Happiness of the Katakuris, Cannibal! The Musical and of course Brian De Palma’s masterpiece Phantom of the Paradise. And White Pop Jesus is for sure different.
Jesus (the amazingly sleazy Awana Gana) decides to wander the earth (or Rome, I guess) after escaping from heaven - or is it a asylum, constantly having dialogues with his heavenly father. He meets Lattuga Pop (Stella Carnacina), the sister of the always unlucky Commissioner Vito (Gianni Magni), who instantly falls in love with him. Together the start gathering followers, disciples, to spread the message of love of God to the sinful population of Italy - with the help of DISCO MUSIC! But somewhere around the corner is the mafia, always up to some shenanigans! Will Jesus stop them...or will the police stop him first?!
Oh boy, what the hell was this? It’s a musical with some weird hippie/anti-hippie, disco-esque christian message with some slapstick, sex jokes and lots of extremely catchy tunes by the always excellent team of Franco Bixio and Vince Tempera. To be fair, the songs are good and dancing isn’t bad either, I’ve seen worse! Just don’t expect Jesus Christ Superstar here, this is much, much, much sillier. The songs, and the scenes with Jesus are surprisingly serious, but there’s several stories on the side which is packed with the traditional wacky not-so-funny Italian humor!
It’s hard to tell what White Pop Jesus want to say actually, does it want to spread the message of Christianity or does it want to be a satire of the stupidity of mankind? Sometimes it feels like a morality tale, telling how dangerous it is with drugs - exemplified a dance number where a woman is transformed into a giant syringe whenever she feels for it. Is Jesus really Jesus or just an escaped patient from an asylum? The answer is ambiguous and the ending makes no sense whatsoever.
I sense the filmmakers wanted to reach out to a very wide audience: the disco crowd, the christians, those who like comedy, the families and the potheads. Everything at once. Is it good? I honestly don’t know. I can’t tell if this was a good or successful movie, it’s just so plain bizarre and absurd.
But I know one thing; the moment some fool releases it on DVD or blu-ray I will be the first one to buy it. Why? Just check the trailer below. You won’t believe your eyes.
I sincerely wonder how the original American distributors came up with The Eerie Midnight Horror Show? What the heck do that have to do with the movie itself and it’s not similar at all to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the title it’s inspired by. So it took me some time to actually gather energy to watch it and of course I had to see it the best way possible, through Code Red’s newly-ish released blu-ray! First of all, I have to give it to Bill over at Code Red, to release such an obscure movie! And that’s awesome, that’s a sign of really caring about strange, weird genre cinema. And in maybe ways this is a good example of stuff that needs to be seen in good quality: it’s italian, it’s colorful and it’s a 70’s film. Always fits good in HD!
Stella Carnacina is Danila, she’s a young art restorer. The company she works for have purchased a strange, hunky beardless Jesus-like statute from a church that had to be closed many years ago because of the satanic orgies that happen there (isn’t that awesome?). In the workshop the statute seems to come to life and possesses Danila, who becomes overly sexual and acts like Linda Blair in The Exorcist - no head-spinning, but there’s green vomit! Her unhappy parents who live in some weird relationship involving other partners becomes worried - naturally - and calls an exorcist! Yay!
A surprise indeed, a lot better than I expected it to be - and considering the negative reviews I’ve read earlier it’s a friggin’ masterpiece. But no, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a good movie and most of all, an original movie! The first part is the best, which is genuinely creepy! This statute (played by Ivan Rassimov) need to been seen to be believed! SO weird. The scene where the statue comes to life is masterful horror and the visions Danila have, including a gory crucifixion is a highlight of the movie - and is without a doubt one of the greatest exploitation moments in Italian genre film history.
Ivan Rassimov is excellent, he’s dangerous and I guess he’s a demon or the Devil or whatever. His performance is creepy. Stella Carnacina is great in the part as the innocent art restorer getting sucked in a nightmare of sex and violence. Luigi Pistilli is the exorcist and Gabriele Tinti is the hunky lover to Danila’s mother. So it’s a nice cast. Many who have seen this movie have commented on that the first half is the best, and I can - actually - agree on that. It’s twisty and perverse, with some cool effects and a sleazy, very European atmosphere. The second half isn’t bad, but it goes into very familiar exorcism-territory, maybe too familiar, and even if it’s not boring we’ve seen it before.
The blu-ray from Code Red is a bitted rugged, but looks good anyway! It’s sharp for the most time and captures the beautiful cinematography by the experienced Carlo Carlini. The scratches and dirt just gives the movie a layer of grindhouse feeling and never takes away from the overall experience. The Eerie Midnight Horror Show is far from a perfect movie, but it’s still a new favorite of mine and the blu-ray - if you can find it - it’s a must to the collection!
Thanks Code Red, keep ‘em coming!
Bruno Mattei - or Vincent Dawn as he called himself once again during his last years - went out with a blast, a bang, something so crazy it almost out-crazy yesterdays Island of the Living Dead, not exactly in the same way but pretty near. When the first movie was an insane concoction of ideas, Zombies: The Beginning does one thing and that’s ripping off James Cameron’s Aliens, scene for scene, twist after twist! He’s done it before, with Shocking Dark, another rip-off of Aliens, but I wonder if this one actually hits the marks even more. That’s also the biggest drawback here, because one would have wished the uncontrolled insanity of Island could have continued. But hey, who cares? As long as Mattei delivers the goods!
Sharon (Yvette Yzon) survived the ordeal on the island, and the final twist of that movie seems just to be a dream here. Good for us, because this means we have a chance to witness the whole story - except Newt - of Aliens copied thoroughly, but instead of alien monsters there’s some insane new breed of zombies, or what the hell we should call them, coming from some kind of organic zombie breeding machine! Oh, and don’t forget the giant zombie gorilla outside also. He’s angry. Very angry.
You know, sorry. But there’s no idea to have have a proper recap here. Just go to IMDB and check out the summaries for Aliens and you’ll get the point with this movie. I love unauthorized remakes, the trashier and sillier they are. I don’t find them to be bad, I just like when a smaller producer fucks around with the big boys and girls - with no respect at all for international copyright laws. Because we all know no one is suffering from this, at least not when it comes to super-cheap Italo-Filipino co-productions aimed at a small genre audience. Like another rip-off, Seytan (Turkish Exorcist), Zombies: The Beginning also becomes successful just because it copies the original so methodically. I mean, if you make your copy exactly like the original I’m pretty sure some of the original magic will follow.
In that way The Beginning have a great flow, it’s never boring and it’s lovely to see new versions of old classic scenes, but shot cheap and with Filipino actors doing their zombie routine - or even creepier, Filipino children being conehead-zombies with big black bulging eyes and weird - WEIRD - movements. It’s packed with gore and action, but most of the explosions is “borrowed” from other movies, Aliens actually - and there’s a lot of footage from The Hunt for Red October! You won’t be bored here - except it would have been terribly fun if they had continued the style of Island of the Living Dead, something more original and with tons of references instead.
But who am I to complain? I love stuff like this.
According to the writer of this movie, Antonio Tentori, Mattei loved horror movies. He prefered making horror - real horror, not thrillers - gory, brutal, hardcore horror. That’s easy to see when you watch these two last zombie films, because they never turn away. They have little money behind them, but there’s so much fun stuff, so many money shots - and it’s hard to not get drawn into it.
The movie ends with a clip of Bruno, old and frail, sitting and talking to someone behind the camera. He seems relaxed and happy. Ciao Bruno, we’re many who misses you…
Once again have Intervision Picture Corp given us a nice release of a movie that easily could have been forgotten. They have also, like with Island of the Living Dead, given us awesome, old-school artwork which fits perfectly. Thanks.
I remember when the return of Bruno Mattei was just a rumor, something that was spread on the internet like an urban legend. The first reports came, more info and suddenly a few of his last films started to appear on DVD in Russia and Czech republic. I think the first one I saw was Snuff Killer, Mattei’s sleazy and quite entertaining take on Joel Schumacher’s extremely underrated 1999 thriller 8MM, then someone dug up his new cannibal movies and the race was on to find ‘em all! I’m a proud owner of every genre movie Mattei made during those last years, including the fun The Tomb - but it’s extremely awesome that Intervision Picture Corp have taken upon them to unleash them in easy-to-find version, uncut and without strange foreign subtitles covering half the screen! So I sat down and watched Island of the Living Dead again, after four years (my last review was in 2011, time fucking flies!) and it’s still awesome in all its cheesiness!
A gang of treasure hunters decides to go ashore on an mysterious island, after - by mistake of course - dropping a newly found gold treasure right into the sea! Lead by captain Kirk (veteran actor Gaetano Russo) and tough bitch Sharon (Yvette Yzon, who had a nice run with these Mattei productions!) they starts to explore the island, but soon find themselves surrounded by zombies, demons and ghosts! Now they have to fight their way to safety! Something like that. You know my dislike for recaps! But there’s not much more to it, you just have to see it to fully comprehend what the hell is going on!
In some ways this is mixtape of zombie movie. There’s references to everything from House of the Dead (there’s a captain Kirk in that one also, including the boat), Night of the Living Dead, Zombie Flesh-Eaters, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead etc etc. Without bashing it I would say that there’s hardly one second that’s not stolen or inspired (or is this a very clever and gritty homage?) by other movies, but it’s also made with a lot of energy, passion or whatever you want to call it. The actors - whose performances becomes more cheesy when they’re dubbed - really gives it all, and like proud soldiers do what Mattei and the script demands them to do!
What strikes me the most, and it was something I’d forgotten since the last time, is the wacky, crazy ideas that comes seemingly out of nowhere! We have zombies whose arms grow out after being blasted off by a shotgun, a ghostly flamenco dancer, Blind Dead-esque zombies and normal trashy Zombie 3 zombies and lots and lots of cheap gore and violence. It might not be Day of the Dead quality on the effects, but I don’t mind obvious fake heads being blown to pieces one after another or zombie make-up’s that threatens to fall off any minute! To spice things up Mattei and producer Paolucci (who also gave us Dario Argento’s Dracula 3D!) “borrows” a lot of footage from Hollywood movies. It’s not that badly inserted actually, and if you’re not a scholar in exploitation cinema and euro cult - like me - you won’t probably notice it!
Another veteran in Filipino and Italian movies have a pretty big part, Jim Gaines and the film is dedicated to Mike Monty, another Mattei-favorite. Just so you know. Island of the Living Dead, well… I liked four years ago, but I absolutely adore it now. It’s such a crazy, insane movie - and it knows it needs to deliver entertainment, which it does over and over again. It also inspired a sequel, kinda, and I will try to revisit that one very, very soon! But one thing's for sure if you’re a fan of Bruno Mattei or Italian/Filipino genre cinema; you need to own this now! Intervision Picture Corp have done a great job releasing the last hurrah of Bruno Mattei!
Even if I fully understand the attraction in serial killers I've always had a problem understanding the romanticizing of them. I’m guilty myself, I just have to lean my head to my right and I can see all my true crime books in the hallway bookshelf and don’t even mention my movie collection, filled with serial killers from all corners of the earth. So I’m one myself. But I don’t admire them, I don’t see them as doing something good. But boy, it can be so suspenseful reading about these human monsters of the night. I've heard about Il Mostro before, but it was always hard to find information in English about this serial killer (or serial killers) who from 1968 to 1985 killed 16 people, all of them making out in the forest areas outside Florence.
The murders were heavily ritualistic, often beginning with shooting the man and then the woman, and continuing mutilating her body - removing her breast and finally the vagina, ending with placing a thin branch of Olive Tree inside it. At one point the killer (or killers, which might be the most logical thing considering the advanced set-ups) accidentally killed a German gay couple, one of the men had long blonde hair, which visibly upset the killer who ripped a gay porn magazine into pieces before leaving the site.
The case was never officially solved, even if there was arrests and even imprisonments - but at the end everything always went back to zero. I guess we will never know the truth. But like any big crime case there’s always been a lot of attention to it and we've see a comedy from Roberto Benigni inspired by the case, a mini-series telling the whole story, several books - especially the one by Douglas Preston (The Monster of Florence: a true story), which filled in the last pieces of information for me. But even before that, way earlier, I saw two movies based on the case: Cesare Ferrario’s Il mostro di Firenze (1986) and Camillo Teti’s L'assassino è ancora tra noi (1986) aka The Monster of Florence and The Killer is Still Among Us. Both came the same year, on year after what later was known as the last murder from Il Mostro.
Did Il Mostro stop because of these films? Who knows. The last years had been intensive, with murders after murders, touching a very sensitive part of the Florence population: sex. Florence is a town high on itself, which can be understood, and like in many other parts of Italy men and women live at home until they’re married, which makes a car or tent in the forest a great place to have sex without your parents knowing about it. This oddly enough created a small industry of guides, showing people who would like to watch the best places to watch young couples. The the forests of Florence was packed with lovers, guides and watchers. No wonder two very similar movies was released the same year.
Cesare Ferrario’s The Monster of Florence is a very typical giallo, up until the ending, where it goes a more realistic - but still mysterious route. It was co-written by Mario Spezi, who later worked with Douglas Preston on his book, and therefore it’s easy to find some of his opinions and theories in it, including - I guess - putting something of himself in the soul of the main character: a writer played by Leonard Mann. It’s the usual story, he’s doing the investigation himself together with his journalist girlfriend, tracing everything to that first murder in 1968 - but what does that really mean? Is it the same killer still at large? It seems like Spezi believes it’s a bigger conspiracy around the corner, and not just a crazy, frustrated village man. As a giallo it works, and it have some suspense, but it feels like Ferrario drags the story a bit too much and the kills gets repetitive after a while, the killer shoots someone through a car window in slow motion and then there’s a lot of screaming.
Camillo Teti’s The Killer is Still Among Us is shorter and more modern, youthful if you would like to say so. At least compared to other giallo-style movies. It’s harder, more realistic - but basically follow the same path as the other movie, this time the criminology student Christina (played by a great Mariangela D'Abbraccio) who - exactly like in Alejandro Amenábar’s Thesis - decides to choose a controversial subject for her thesis, the ongoing murders of Il Mostro! Teti still packs the movie with red herrings, but leaves the best for the end when he gives us a particularly nasty and graphic murder and ending which both is very frustrating and rewarding.
I like both movies, but I find Teti’s the most refreshing one. It wasn't as gory and graphic I remembered it to be and it could easily be edited together with Ferrario’s project, because they’re so similar in story, but also a lot harder, realistic and brutal. I would love to discuss the endings of both films, but I don’t want to spoil them. But what I can say is that they have similar ideas, and you can see both movies as warnings to young people - stay the fuck out of the woods and fuck somewhere else.
Both The Monster of Florence and The Killer is Still Among Us is a must watch for fans of both true crime and giallo films, especially because they stay so close to what really happen - and read Douglas Preston’s book before or after to get a bigger look at what happen during those years in the darkness of Florence.
The question is of course: is The Monster of Florence still among us? I don’t think so. He’s dead or locked up somewhere, but there might be more of them out there. Who knows, maybe they’re preparing a comeback...
Nerd, geek, socialist, horror fan, collector, freelancer, skeptic, atheist, open-minded, traveller, stubborn, grumpy, creative, easily bored, low self-esteem, cold, warm, nostalgia-hater, arthouse, exploitation, anti-racist and sometimes quite nice