Friday, July 19, 2013


Italian Horror is alive and well in Italy. If you don’t believe me, if you haven’t heard about all the rumblings going on from a very talented crew of indie directors, then you haven’t been following this blog or its associated Facebook page close enough. Last year during IHW we focused on interviewing and reviewing several Italian directors and their works who are very much in the business, creating controversy and powering over festival and home audiences alike. Whether well-established or up and coming, there’s plenty of ideas being formed, films being produced and news to soak up coming out of Italy. While we focused on light interviews and reviews last year, this year we’ll be offering a general preview of some of the projects in the works by some of our favorite Italians and a review or two.

Feel free to check out last year’s three part feature on the Indie Italian Horror movement that is still going, alive, well and waiting for the next Golden age to jump straight into the collective laps of horror fans around the world. Italy is for horror fans.






With music by the Simonetti Project, you’d be hard pressed to go wrong. Gabriele Albanasi, director of Last House in the Woods and Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show, directs the music video for a song featured in Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D. I may not have been Dracula 3-D’s biggest fan, but the music video works well. It compiles some of the best scenes from Dracula 3-D with great shots of the band performing the song. Witness the genius, Claudio Simonetti on the motherfucking Theramin! Fans of goth rock need… nay MUST apply.

Check out the full review of Dracula 3-D during Italian Horror Week 2013, and make sure to support Albanesi when at all possible. He’s a great fella and featured during Italian Horror Week 2012’s Part III where Justin Giallo (one of my favorite fucking people on the planet next to Edwige Fenech’s boobs… whatever that means). Kid in the Box is in pre-production per IMDB as of 2013. Let’s hope this one gets off the ground running.


There’s a new short in the works by accomplished filmmaker Davide Melini produced by Fabel Aguilera. Davide was instrumental in assisting me in contacting so many brilliant filmmakers for the feature last year. Thank you again, Davide for being a great friend and hope to meet you in person someday (for that Peroni). His works have always stuck with me and are among my favorite shorts to be featured on this blog. Now on to the new project. I’m pretty damn excited about this one.


Sarah can’t completely overcome the deaths of her grandfather and her older sister. The trauma and lack of sleep cause her to embark on a strange journey of apparitions and murders, apparently caused by her mind...

"Her worst nightmare has become a reality."

From Davide (in three different languages even):

- "Italian giallo" is ready to make its return in 2014!!!
- Il "giallo italiano" é pronto a tornare nel 2014!!!
- ¡¡¡El "giallo italiano" está listo para regresar en 2014!!!

I agree!

Also from Melini:

I’d like to pay homage to the Italian “giallo” genre, that will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014. The first "giallo" film ever was "The Girl Who Knew too Much" (1963), directed by Mario Bava. But the same director shot another film entitled "Blood and Black Lace" one year later, where the emblematic element of the "giallo" was introduced: the masked murderer with a shiny weapon in his black-leather-gloved hand. I want to bring back some classic 60′s and 70′s “giallo” film ideas, using new technology. The title of "Deep Shock" is a homages to Dario Argento's "Deep Red" and for Mario Bava’s "Shock".

Make sure to follow Davide’s progress with this short film. Hope to see it on the indie circuit soon. You can catch them on Facebook HERE. IMDB HERE. Teaser trailer coming soon. You know we’ll be posting it so keep your eyes open.

One last note. The music will be realized by the Italian band Visioni Gotiche. Please check out some of their work and subscribe to their YouTube channel.


Italian filmmakers and zombie movies. You might as well never separate those two concepts. Good or bad. Low budget. Less low budget. They’re all endearing for one reason or another. Check out the trailer above. The first thing I think is that I’m not happy with the CGI, but I hate CGI so fuck me running. Second, I like that we’re dealing with actual zombie looking zombies. That should probably be a song title “Zombie-Looking Zombies”. Somebody get the Vaudeville Vampires back together. I’m happy that we’re going “more” traditional. Is it me or do we have a motorcycle man who sorta looks like the ever great Bobby Rhodes pull up on a “Death Proof” motorcycle? This makes me a happy horror fan. Remember that this isn’t the fully completed product yet and is being used to raise funds to produce the movie proper.

Synopsis from Picone:

Alice and Nicholas survived an epidemic that ravaged the world, now only inhabited by the undead. But the nightmare is not over: the rumbling of a motorcycle breaks the silence and seems to be approaching them. Maybe another survivor that will bring them safe? Or the most dangerous predator, which will be hard to flee from?

While the IndieGoGo fundraising appears to have been somewhat lackluster, if anyone can make a movie happen it’s PIcone. His Io sono morta is an extremely powerful short. Make sure to check that out as well.

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This movie has been busting out of the film festival circuit as I write this, having premiered June 2nd at festival Operazione Paura. It’s a high quality production featuring some familiar faces from neo-horror legend and lore. I’m talking about the all-star Debbie Rochon, Tiffany Shepis (of Troma fame) and Tara Cardinal who has the honor of being a part of The Profane Exhibit filming now (that movie is getting a veritable fuck ton of press). Everyone is exquisite. Close up angles that make you feel claustrophobic and intimate alongside ooey gooey gore pieces. You’ll taste your own teeth being ripped from your jaw.


In a dirty and narrow jail, Larry, Deborah, Hugo, Hernest and Liza, the prisoners, are obliged to suffer injustices from the guards and from their chief, the officer.
Yet above all of them there is the Judge. Nobody ever saw him, but he is the one that sets the rules and he's feared from inmates and guards too.
Suddenly, a new prisoner makes its out from nothing-like appearance: PRINCESS.
She is a beautiful lady, dressed only in a crow feathers coat, shining, sweet-smelling, sensual.
Her show-up causes curiosity in the others inmates, but also envy, suspects and a deep sexual agitation.
In a very short time Princess reveals her dark and supernatural nature: she can move objects with the power of her mind and she is extremely strong....

What I adore about Wrath of Crows is that it’s a story of people. Characters. A bunch of folks thrown into a prison each with their own horrifying experience. It’s disjointed, but in that way that a prison would be disjointed. Wrath pulls from a variety of different motifs creating a dark, sinister battle with the authority. Magical and supernatural at times. Ghostly. Surreal at others. The whole thing feels like a dark fairy tale for prisoners in need of a hero who find the demon witch destroyer bitch.

Beyond the very original story line which is virgin fresh, the up close and personal camera angles with tight shots of the actors’ faces, the camera swiveling about them in a panicked frenzy at times, still as silence others… these are unique easily close the gap between viewer and character. I was able to empathize with the prisoners and in that I would become as disturbed as them. It’s a ballsy move. An experiment in how uncomfortable you can make your audience while try to wrap them in the faces of performers who are oozing passion.

Zuccon keeps the effects practical. The contrast high, but the lighting dim. The women scantily clad. The prison misty and the crows flying.

Now this has just been released to the film fest circuit so it’s going to be awhile before you’ll be able to watch it at home. For now, keep it in your memory banks. Make sure you enjoy the trailer and try to support it when you see it playing. We’ll trying to give you updates as the film receives further festival dates or release on DVD. Ivan Zuccon’s personal website has a regular newsfeed that is a great way to keep up with news regarding this and other releases including The Shunning, Colour From the Dark and Nympha (featured in last year’s Italian Horror Week).


Synopsis from the filmmakers:

During a visit to an abandoned town on the mountains in Italy, five friends bring back to light an ancient relic found nearby an old monastery. From that moment, the villagers of the ghost town come back to life to hunt them down. A blind priest will try to save their lives, but what are his real intentions? Who is watching them everywhere they go?

(and in Italian too):

Durante una gita in montagna, un gruppo di ragazzi ritrova un'antica reliquia nei pressi di un monastero in rovina. Da quel momento gli abitanti del paese, ridotti in stato catatonico, gli daranno la caccia. Un prete cieco tenterà di nasconderli nella sua chiesa, ma quali sono le sue reali intenzioni? Chi è che li osserva ovunque vadano?

Did you watch this trailer? Good. Found footage is everywhere, and its success is still in the hands of the director. What that director shows you. The things that director chooses not to show you. While I have not as of yet perused this film I can tell you that it has promise and filled with some images that seem to evoke older Italian possession films of the 70’s. I’m thinking Beyond the Door here. Check them out on Facebook HERE. Buggio and Magni have decided to tackle a shooting style that isn’t exactly forgiving, so I wish them the best in their endeavor. The release date is supposed to be Spring of 2013. If we get a hold of copy, expect a full review.


We had the absolute pleasure of interviewing Roberto last year for Italian Horror Week and reviewing his film The Hounds. In a great turn of news Midnight Releasing will be making this available for those of us in the United States. Trash House Cinema in the UK. Newgolden Entertainment in Italy. We’re very happy that this could lead to further success for such a great piece of modern Italian cinema.


One step away from a reconciliation with his wife, Mike Crowel, a CID agent, is assigned to a sinister case involving four young friends, Sarah, Jake, Martin and Dave. They soon become the unwitting focus of the evil forces and chillingly supernatural events surrounding Mike's investigation.

You can pick up the movie at Amazon HERE. Make sure you go like The Hounds on Facebook HERE and check out Part II of our IHW2012 look at the modern Italian renaissance to read the full review of The Hounds and interview with Del Piccolo. Website HERE.


Synopsis from Amazon:

Sebastian, a loner artist, photographer and filmmaker spends his days in the seediness of life's elements. Taking pictures, photographing violent acts and spending a lot of time watching homemade films filled with jarring imagery, Sebastian also happens to be his building's landlord. He has also suffered an abused childhood, being subjected to sleep deprivation and constant home videos. Things begin to change for him when apartment tenant, Sarah Roeg, begins to take interest in his work and Sebastian himself. Boldly brave, House of Flesh Mannequins pulls you into its own hell!

I watched a few of Cristopharo’s works one afternoon, but House of Flesh Mannequins with its strange sense of mood achieved by strange lighting, classical music and completely vibrant feel seems to grab ahold of me and shake me. I’m not going to say that I found it terrifying or scary. It was simply unnerving, much in the same way that a dark carnival is disturbing or perhaps a gruesome car accident that begs your eyes to stay open even though your brain promises to be good if you keep them shut. There’s a sort of burlesque, Bousman feel about Cristopharo’s work. Erotic nightmares that titillate but shock. When the gore tap turns on, every mug in the room will be filled.

The Museum of Wonders is absolutely key to understanding from what origin Cristopharo derives his subject matter. He seems to be deeply connected with a dedicated troop of actors who are part of a wholly other performance artistic group. It’s a tight knit crew and one that works well together to form almost David Lynch like surrealism. This kind of filmmaking isn’t for all horror fans, but folks who enjoy art picture will dig it. Folks who love dark carnival too.

I also had the opportunity to review Cristopharo’s short film work for the P.O.E.: Project of Evil. This is a group of filmmakers that have decided to do their own interpretations and adaptations of some famous and not so famous Edgar Allen Poe stories. The stories will be familiar. The interpretations, not so much.

I’d urge you to see House of Flesh Mannequins to start. It would have the most crossover appeal with fans of classic Italian Horror. The name itself reminds me of any number of Gialli titles. Cristopharo's new project is intense. Take a look at the video below. I can assure you that it has everything you love about Italian Horror though with more modern sensibilities. 7 Gates ways, the beyond, jazz, blood... Bloody Sin... coming to film festivals SOON!

One of the things that came up multiple times in conversation throughout the preperation for Italian Horror Week this year was that Italy does not seem to support the filmmakers that it produces. That is to say that the folks in Italy generally do not appreciate or foster this art form; that filmmakers had to leave Italy to attempt to make a name for themselves, to be successful and to find an audience (especially in the United States). It sounds ever so familiar when I talk to indie directors in the states only they have no other point of origin to find success. We have to support the growing population of visual artists. We will be checking back in with this great group of gentleman, supporting their films on our site and Facebook page and will always try to get the word out... Italian or of any nationality or country of origin. 

Thank you to all the filmmakers who have worked so hard to create the films we are discussing today and for taking the time out of their midnights to talk to me about their projects.


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