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Monday, July 15, 2013

ITALIAN HORROR WEEK - Italian Frankenstein Does the Giallo Golem Boogie

Italian Horror Week welcomes EKG (Elizabeth Katheryn Gray) host of THE MADNESS Horror movie watching competition and certifiable film nut.

I have to admit, I’m a late bloomer to modern horror. As a child I was well versed in most of the classic monster movies of the golden era as well as the films Ishiro Honda. But I really didn’t start exploring the era of 1970’s onwards until I was already in high school. Because of that, most of the “classic” Italian horror (Ihorror) films fell through the cracks. Sure I had seen the Mario Bava but that was about as far as it went. And really there was no excuse. I love Italian cinema. I love Leone and Fellini and have even seen every single Roberto Benigni film. It amazes me that I am still trying to fill this huge hole in my horror geekdom.

My first Ihorror experience was SUSPIRIA. I had heard for years that it is one of the best films of any genre let alone horror. I was really excited to see it which I think was also my undoing. I was too built up to appreciate it. While I found the score to be amazing (Yes, I am going to see GOBLIN) and the art direction just astonishing, I also found myself bored to tears. I have no problem with bad horror but I find that a boring horror film that to be a sacrilege. And that is how it goes for most of Argento, including DEEP RED (though I haven’t seen the director’s cut yet). I like elements of his movies but just cannot love them. However I have learned to love Lucio Fulci. While I find Argento’s films to be polished but total snoozer’s, I find the opposite in Fulci. His films are grimy messes but somehow are compelling and filled with shocking make-up FX that still hold up to this day. In fact I find Fulci’s zombie esthetic to be my favorite design for the walking undead.

So Dr. Terror assigned me to watch FRANKENSTEIN80 (F80). This is a modern Italian twist on the Frankenstein films. But while it’s certainly based on the mad-scientist-makes-a-monster movie, I am familiar with; it’s totally an Ihorror film in structure and style. F80 is really more a murder mystery than a straight up horror film. A gruesome murder and a theft (black gloves of course) in a laboratory spurs a reporter interest. He decides to investigate, thinking they are related. Of course his investigation leads to us meeting a modern version of Dr. Frankenstein and his monster.


So what do I think of this of it? To quote my friend Maynard Morrissey of HORROR MOVIE DIARY, F80 is “Hilariously dumb 70s rubbish”. It’s silly but never dull and extremely entertaining. That already makes it a winner. I also enjoyed this new take on the Monster. His name is Mosaic, which BTW is a great name for a Golem. He is a very different creature than in the original Frankenstein. The original monster had a soft heart underneath the terrifying exterior and was mostly misunderstood. Despite all the wretched things he did, you still emphasize with him. Mosaic is a straight up homicidal maniac and a rapist. You just know that every time you see him, it will end in horrific disaster. This leads to a decent amount of graphic nudity and violence as well as the Italian staple of well shot viscera.


I want to thank Jimmy Terror for introducing me to this film. It is most certainly a will be great one to re-watch, preferably with some Grappa and good friends. I would not call this film particularly scary but it works as a Giallo with some nice horror moments. People already in love with Ihorror should check it out. People that like the classics will get a kick out of this modern spin of a very well known story. As for me, my search continues in my long education. I know someday I will find that ultimate Ihorror film. Despite my lukewarm reception to most of these films, I know it’s there. I can taste the Italian tainted blood and makes me crave for more. This may not have quite been classic I was looking for, but it gives me hope that there is more fun and gore out there to behold.

 A SOLID GRADE B.

Cover Photo

WRITER: ELIZABETH KATHERYN GRAY
Gray is the founder, creator and host of the Halloween Horror Marathon Movie MADNESS, horror movie watching competion. She loves ponies, daisies, and DISMEMBERMENT. Make sure to stop by the MADNESS website and enter into the competition coming this fall currently engaged in Italian Horror Preview of this year's VIDEO NASTY themed competition.





DOCTERROR Note: I assigned this to EKG because she loves classic Universal Monster movies. I fully knew that this was NOT a Universal Monster movie, but it had Frankie in the title. I'll be helping out over at the MADNESS this year and excited to be judging and trying to repeat my Horror Jeopardy Championship on Dollar Bin Horror Radio.



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