Una Magnum Special per Tony Saitta / Shadows in an Empty Room (1976)
Director: Alberto De Martino Starring:Stuart Whitman, John Saxon, Martin Landau, Tisa Farrow.Canada/Italy. 1h 54m
Shadows in an Empty Room is a distinct 1970s crime film with mad tones of Euro grime; this De Martino might be out of place in Canada, but it doesn’t drag for a minute. Shadows in an Empty Room is what would remain if you stripped a Giallo movie of its euro trash, bumped it up with a heavy Polittesco narrative, and went full frontal.
On the campus of Montreal college a man notices his ex girlfriend having a moment with her lecturer, and suspected lover, Dr Tracer (Landau), later on that evening a prank turns into a suspicious murder, and the prime suspect is Laundau, and his student/girlfriend is stone cold. Unlucky for him, her brother is a hard ass police officer, played by Stuart Whitman and his back up is the steely eyes John Saxon and they are about to get some Canadian Justice.
The only way to confirm that you were watching a horror movie in the 1980’s was the moment a pair of boobs were flashed across the screen, the exposure of flesh was the indicator that you were in for some slaherific blood and gore, monsters and creeps and this 1988 film is a perfect victim of its age! The intro plays out like a dated underwear advert (something the director was king of having filmed over 600 of them), but this panty advert lasts what feels like 20 minutes, but luckily the models are soon hacked to pieces so don’t get too attached..
Director: Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani. Starring: Charlotte Eugene-Guibbaud, Cassandra Foret, Marie Bos, Bianca, Maria D’Amato, Harry Cleven, Delphine Crual Belgium/France. 1h 30m.
There has been a lot of talk about this being the beginning of a new wave of Giallo, for a lover of the macabre like myself this was immensely exciting news. I have been into Giallo for a long time now, and while I find new oddities from time to time, it’s getting rarer so to experience new films from the eccentric genre, I eagerly sought out these new wave films.
I was pleasantly surprised not only does the movie has heavy Giallo imagery the story is somewhat diverse, more experimental and a feast of the senses but not entirely Giallie, but something more avant garde that i found myself submerged in. The story is all about Ana and her development from a curious youngster who blossoms into a stunning temptress with dark secrets.
The film is cleverly divided between three distinct sections, the first shows Ana as a plucky little tyke, played by Cassandra Forêt, she crept around the dark mansion, a shadowy figure, possibly her grandmother skulks around with a heavy mantilla layered with black lace, awaiting the death of her husband who’s resting in one of the many bedrooms. the chapter is presented in extremely dark primary colours, flashing light to dark and contrasted to the highest levels, eyes are key here, they are staring from every corner, constantly watching the girl.. Ana is after his pocket watch and fully aware that the shadowy figure is keeping a close eye on her, rooms are locked with heavy keys and eyes are often staring through keyholes, but she managed to get her hands on his watch by using a gold cross to break his post mortem, arthritic hands and is then attacked by the dark covered hands of her grandmother, while running away she bursts in on her parents having some pretty rough sex, and is obviously affected for life.
During the brighter second chapter Ana is now older, a teenager who is beginning to realise that she’s desired.. while accompanying her mother to the hair salon in the local village, the sun shines on them, and through the active camera and vivid sounds again the senses are alive with motion, sounds so crisp and loud that the force all of the senses into action Ana is painfully aware of her mother’s aging, she slips while walking in her heels, isn’t her hair a little greyer? Ana, now played by Charlotte Eugène Guibeaud notices people lurking in the shadows, watching her, when asked to wait outside with the other children she stumbles on a group of bikers and begins to parade herself in front of them when she’s slapped into reality by her mother and they return home, but it’s clear to see that she likes the bad boy influence.
In the final chapter, the now adult Ana has morphed into Marie Bos and is taking the arduous trip back to her now dilapidated family home, the taxi driver dons his black leather gloves and switches on a tiny fan, the seat burns her legs and she opens the window while noticing that the driver is eye banging her. While making herself at home she notices that the taxi driver has returned and another dark figure with black gloves and a razorblade. This final throw of the movie is the closest to the Giallo flavour which the film is famed for having the night scenes look as if they have fallen straight out of the heights of Gialloism. If you give the movie a chance and feel it as much as watching it, there’s a chance you’ll get a taste for it’s deep psycho sexual flavours and deep terrifying puzzles. Amer is a prolonged tease, certainly something to get fully immersed into and not to be taken lightly.
It’s strange and disturbing, a total tantalizing for all the sense, an experience more than a movie, clearly crafted in highly unique chapters by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani, a pair of directors who cut no corners and went full throttle into this deep mystery. But this was only their first step into the strange unknown, they later went onto create something a step closer away from a narrative in The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears in 2013 and then Let the Corpses Tan in 2017.
To pin down the film will only do it injustice as conjure a rare fantasy world and phantoms which cannot be described but picked out from between the fabric of the movie itself.
The film is simply another wild ride of the new wave of Giallo which will hopefully start to pick up pace or at least be propped up by many more titles from this fearless duo.
R – The strange colours of your body’s tears (2013), Tulpa(2012), Let the Corpses Tan (2017) L – New Wave of Giallo
AKA Non Si deve profance il sonno dei morti, Don’t Open the Window, the film officially has 15 titles, so take your pick..
Director: Jorge Grau Starring: Ray Lovelock. Arthur Kennedy, Cristina Galbo. Spain/Italy. 1h 35
There’s a subtle Giallo twist to this unusual but gripping science fiction zombie flick, undead, mystery, giallo, car crash, sci fi horror, pesticides, it’s got so much going on but all to the backdrop of the gorgeous English countryside and littered with the creeping dead.
As dedicated nod to the 70’s Giallo movement Tulpa sees a successful business women, Lisa Boeri (Gerini) get pulled into a grotty underworld while living a vivid double life.
Opening with a gore filled sado masochistic murder. A man enters a deadly game as a dominant but soon becomes the victim of a leather gloved maniac with a wild moral compass, out of the thick bloodied and drawn out scene the story of Lisa, a ball busting, successful business woman, well respected and admired but she keeps her nocturnal activities a painstakingly repressed, after hours she’s an eager member of a esoteric underground club, named Tulpa, owned by a strange tibetain character, a true embodiment of the hierophant played by the otherworldly Nuot Arquint . Unfortunately for Lisa, her two world’s are set to collide when her sexual partners from the club are savagely slaughtered.Continue reading Perdizioni mortali / Tulpa (2012)→
Director: Lamberto Bava Starring. Michele Soavi, Andrew Occhipinti, Fabola Toledo, Anny Papa. Italy. 1h 50m.
The literal translation of the title is The House with the Dark Staircase which is a little bit more appropriate; at least for the opening scene. Initially cast as a mini-series the film was scraped by Italian TV moguls for being too violent, so re edited as a much shorter film.
Starring: George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Alberto de Mendoza,Ida Galli. Italy. 1h 33m
Martino’s The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail is an engrossing Giallo film but strangely it focuses more on the investigation than outlandish slayings. A woman, Lisa (Galli) inherits a massive fortune when her husband dies in a freak accident which results in his plane blowing up mid-flight, she leaves her lovers embrace and collects her money. Close on her heels is the suave and seductive an agent Peter Lynch (Hamilton) sent by the insurance company, checking to see if she had anything to do with the freak accident. They become close as a mysterious stalker starts slaughtering the people around Lisa including her husband’s bit on the side who also wants a cut of the fortune, their marriage of convenience is nothing of the sorts now, with a deluge of lovers and mysterious people entering the frame it’s a total nightmare to work out who the culprit might be, but the local police look clueless and are unable to offer answers or protection, Lynch eventually falls for and investigates the murder with an ambitious anchor woman, Cléo Dupont (Strindberg). A small heirloom holds the key to identifying the deranged killer but will the lovers find the answer before it’s too late.Continue reading La coda dello scorpione/ The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail (1971)→
I got new art supplies so while I was tinkering with those I managed pull out a few golden oldies but then when I realised a new DVD was pretty short I crammed in one priceless Giallo too!
Bullitt (1968) – I remember watching my mother get all excited about Bullitt, she’s a huge fan of Steve McQueen and as a kid I didn’t know why but i’ve been converted, I brought Bullitt a few years back and was totally blown away by it time and time again, I’ve had a passion for retro/vintage cars and while I’ve always adored Mercury Lead Sleds I finally caved in and I want a Dodge now.. But the film is quite strange, famed for being “that car film” there’s a lot of crime thriller going on as well. McQueen plays a toughen San Francisco cop who is out for blood, his target is a local king pin who has killed a witness who was left in his care. McQueen’s need for speed sparked him to insist on doing all the car chases and he made a point to keep his head near or out of the window in all the scenes to the audience that it was him at all times… damn I love car chases!! 9/10Continue reading Last Night’s Movies 25.07.2017→
I keep forgetting these updates but I managed to watch a couple of films last night, both brilliant in very different ways, and two classics, one new and one old and close to my heart.
The Fly (1986)
Despite being “not a fan” of remakes this film has always been a great favourite of mine, it’s simple and effective but taking the science and horror brilliance from the 1958 classic and letting it lose in the hands of Cronenberg resulted in some spectacular effects and a highly entertaining gory film, that still has some cult status, those amazing pods, the body shocking gore which rocketed Goldblum’s career, although he still plays the same character in all his films. One person I think we all forget is Stathis Borans (John Getz) an actor I only recognise when he has a beard, I’m going to write a piece about him, the only character who successfully makes it in both films although massively scarred for life both mentally and physically. So for those who haven’t seen the film (many shames on you), this remake is similar but much more daring that the it’s much older original, I’ll get into the differences in another post. But a brilliant and recluse scientist Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum)manages to build Telepods that transport objects via particles through space, while conducting a test he manages to transport himself through space but unfortunately a fly is present in the pod and they are genetically spliced together. It’s that simple but becomes so complicated for him as he mutates into a 6ft human fly.. queue The Cramps! Cronenberg, well known for his obsession with the flesh turned a retro horror into buckets of puke and lose body parts gore romance, and we can’t forget this romance as it was pretty real, Gena Davis who plays the love interest did in fact become involved with Goldblum. For me it’s brilliant and still stands the test of time. 9/10Continue reading Last Nights Movies 09.03.17→
Director: Romolo Guerrieri. Starring: Carroll Barker, Jean Sorel, Luigi Pistilli. Italy/France. 1h 35m.
A couple return to Geneva from their honeymoon flaunting around various parts of Europe, the rich Deborah (Barker), and beautiful lover Marcel (Sorel) are only in town for one night before things start to become strange. Marcel notices an old friend, Philip, who totally blanks him in a nightclub, after catching up with him again during the evening, Philip announces that Marcels former fiance Susan is dead and it’s all his fault, despite her death being a suicide Philip still strongly blames Marcel for her death.Continue reading The Sweet Body of Deborah/The Body/Married to Kill (1968)→