Saturday, July 13, 2013

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK - Early Years in the Marinara: Italian Horror? It's in there!

Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit of TerrorGuest post from the Tattooed One who is also the owner of a grand Storage Unit... OF TERROR! Recanting his early experiences with some of the great Italian Horror movies from the golden age of the boot.     

I've been asked by Dr. Terror (James Harris) to submit an article to "The Blog of Horrors" for Italian Horror Week 2. And I would like to thank him for the opportunity of getting to do it. 

I have to say my first exposure to Italian Horror had to be the commercial trailer for Dario Argento's "Suspiria". It had freaked me out the first two times, but by the third time I wanted to see it more than anything.

My mom was going to take me to see it since I was fine with watching "SQUIRM" and "GRIZZLY" in the theater, but a friend of hers already had and said it wasn't anything a seven year old should be watching.
Sooo that sucked... but on the bright side I did see The Car, Empire of The Ants, ORCA and Day of The Animals that year with my parents. Star Wars was out too, but it was in the theater for less than a week in my area (That's a whole story by itself).

Okay, I'm back to the subject of Italian Horror Movies! The very first I had ever seen was Lucio Fulci's "ZOMBI 2" like most of us had on late night Cable TV. And how cool was it to see a zombie fighting with a shark?! Then the movie completely kicks our mental asses with the zombie makeup jobs and that woman having her eyeball impaled on that broken piece of wood! If that weren't enough we had Lucio Fulci take us to "The Beyond" on late night cable, and this time he has a dog give a zombie a beat down (Along with its blind owner) and had a bunch of huge spiders eat a man's face!
When I was in my early teens (starting in 1983) the local Mom and Pop Video Store became my daily destination. And I was lucky enough that it was staffed by people that didn't care that I rented horror movies as long as I stayed out of the adult video room.  Then with the help of my favorite horror magazine (There wasn't an internet with horror sites yet kids) I would find all of the cool of the Italian Horror Movies on the racks.

Movies like Dario Argento's "CREEPERS", Pupi Avati's "The House of Laughing Windows", Ruggero Deodato's "Cannibal Holocaust" (Just wasn't happy with the animals being killed), Mario Bava's "Kill Baby Kill" and Dario Argento's "Deep Red" introduced you to a whole new style of horror filmmaking.And when I was going through the magazines I was surprised to find out that "Let Sleeping Corpses Lie" was an Italian Horror movie with a Spanish director "Jorge Grau". Parts were filmed in England as establishing shots, but the majority was filmed in Italy.

Then "Black Sabbath" (Yup the one that inspired the band's name) was another Italian Horror that was filmed in England and directed by "Mario Bava". That one really blew me away when I saw his name on the video box with Borris Karloff's! And I still think it's amazing how you would there would be all kinds of language barriers hindering the cast and crew of these films, but they always turned out great. 
The Italian horror movies differed from their American Grindhouse cousins with actors where they would use a multinational cast and dub the movie after. And the directors used a detailed art house style. And they made sure to go over the top with the fake blood and gore. It could be argued that the F/X aren't the highest detail, but it makes me wonder if they did it that way to keep the escapism.

Later in 1985 I was able to finally see an Italian Horror Movie in a movie theater, and that film was Lamberto Bava's "DEMONS". I had told my friends that it was an Italian movie and would probably be dubbed. Of course the first thing they thought of was the old Godzilla and Kung Fu movies, but explained that it would be more like MAD MAX.

And once they heard "Save Our Souls" from Motley Crue in the soundtrack along with music by Accept and Saxon to accompany the monsters and gore they were hooked. After that it was a weekend long Italian Horror VHS Marathon with them to catch them up on the greats.

Bei Tempi!
(Good Times!) 


Steve Mezo is the proprietor of Tattooed Steve's Storage Unit of Terror. Please visit him over on Facebook HERE and give his page a like. Then check out this horror blogger's unique and experienced perspective on timeless classics over at TATTOOED STEVE'S STORAGE UNIT OF TERROR. Do not let the beard frighten you; leave that up to his warped and wonderful mind.

Note from Doc Terror: No turtles were harmed in the making of this post. 

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Steve. You always have an interesting and honest perspective. Thank you, for sharing your memories in writing.