AKA Hired to Kill, Manhunt in the City, Manhunt in Milan, Manhunt
Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Mario Adorf, Henry Silva, Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 40m.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, Dave Catania (Silva) and Frank Webster (Strode) listen patiently while they are given clear instructions to travel to Italy, where they are to act as American as possible in order to gain the attention of their target, both men speak the language fluently and are more than capable of finding the man suspected of being responsible for the missing drugs and making him suffer. A beautiful local assistant will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite a useless as everyone suspects.
Small time pimp and crazy headbutting tough guy Luca Canali (Adorfi), seems pretty low key, not the shifty character you’d expect to accidentally lose such a precious cargo. The film partially opens with him spending a pleasant day with his “girlfriend/bottom bitch”in the park then beating up two douchebags using Tekken 2 tactics.But the magic of this film is that Luca is a family man, his stunning ex and beautiful daughter get all his love and attention, and pretty soon the movie shifts from the two tough guys high tailing and it turns into the “Luca show” while he tries to keep ahead of all the mobsters who are now suddenly hot on his tail and all in his slightly comedic style. Continue reading La Mala Ordina / Italian Connection (1972)
Director: Cédric Kahn
Starring: Stefano Cassetti .France/Italy/Switzerland. 2h 4m
Based on: Je te tue. Histoire vraie de Roberto Succo assassin sans raison
by Pascale Froment.
What exactly is a criminal? Someone who goes above and beyond to get what he wants with little regard to anyone else or the law, or a totally feckless loser who just stumbles from mess to another? Cedric Kahn manages to paint a detailed picture of a man who crosses both of these descriptions and still manages to be both comical and highly dangerous in his escapades.
In this brilliant, slightly polished adaptation of real events, a bizarre criminal anti hero is etched out as Cassetti masquerades as Roberto Succo, a mixture of Jesse James, Hitler and Norman Bates, he argues about art, nationality and politics along the way. Mr Succo, esconded form prison five years after being convicted for the murder of his parents in 1981. His death defying run of fun saw him elude police in three different countries for 2 years, spending his time woeing girls, sightseeing, killing, raping, burgling and fucking up the odd bank job. The movie is generally detested by the French police for its alleged glamorisation of a real-life killer, but it’s a testament to the accuracies within the film and highlights how useless they were to allow him to carry on for so long. Continue reading Roberto Succo (2001)
Director: Sergio Martino.
Starring. Barbara Bach, Joseph Cotten, Richard Johnson. Italy. 1h 40m.
Somewhere in this science fiction fantasy horror, there is a great director who’s floundering out of his depths. Martino has some crackers under his belt including All the Colours of the Dark (1972).
Starting with a murder is always the best way to start a Giallo and Martino with all this previous experience kept to his tradition, a couple embark on a shifty night time mission to find hidden treasures, only to be met with clawed fish hands and bloody death in the (surprisingly well lit) dank caves of an unknown island, along with their mercenary crew who are slaughtered by the same hands along the shore. A short while later in 1891 a military doctor Lieutenant Claude de Ross (Claudio Cassinelli) survives not one but two shipwrecks and ends up on a mysterious island with a handful of prisoners survived with him. On this strange isle the are faced with hunger and some of the convicts meet grisley ends with the fishmen and the survivors flee into the jungle only to encounter Edmond Rackham (Johnson) who’s a sadistic douchebag who’s on a power hungry ego trip, alongside him is a stunning captive, Amanda (Bach). Continue reading L’sola defli uomini pesce / Island of the Fishmen AKA Screamers (1979)
Director: Alfredo Giannetti
Starring: Franco Nero, Dalila Di Lazzaro, Carlos de Carvalho. Italy. 1h 36m
A somewhat whimsical crime thriller, Blue Eyed Bandit stars the iconic Franco Nero as Renzo Dominici, mild mannered crippled and aged clerk who works for a bank, but little do his employers know what by night he transforms into a young, dynamic blue eyed criminal mastermind.
By day he shuffles around in a clever disguise, working long hours, visiting his mother in her nursing home and all the while secretly scoping out the office and waiting for the big pay day but as he ultimate heist get closer, Stella (Lazzaro); a loose member of the cafeteria staff starts to work out that there is much more to the old quiet clerk and she attempts to slide into the deal. Continue reading Il bandito dagli occhi azzurri / Blue Eyed Bandit (1980)
Director: Umberto Lenzi
Starring: Tomas Milian, Henry Silva, Ray Lovelock and Anita Strindberg .Italy. 1h 40m
This movie could easily be called “Il criminale più stupido d’Italia” as it follows the misadventures of a total psychotic loser criminal who couldn’t con his way out of a paper bag successfully but his constant efforts do cause some sensational cinema.
Opening with a bunch of robbers/kidnappers, snatching a young boy, their (not so trusty) getaway driver is Giulio Sacchi (Milian) manages to kill an officer while waiting and soon the gang is being chased around the city, they manage to speed past a train which cuts them off from the cops in time for them to drop the child and ditch the cops, they find a secluded place to recoup and kick the crap out of Giulio for foiling their efforts, after threatening to castrate him he heads back into the city alone. The brute roughs up his girl for some money and kills another cop while robbing a cigarette machine, while other officers arrive to investigate he starts displaying disturbing behaviour by squaring up to Inspector Walter Grandi (Silva). Eventually the bad tempered loose cannon, devises a scheme of kidnapping the daughter a wealthy businessman, who his girlfriend works for, but with a crazed moral compass and no scruples his manages to mess up each step of the way, but just manages to stay one step ahead of Inspector Grandi but mostly by mistake. Continue reading Milano odia: la polizia non può sparare / Almost Human (1974)
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.
The film focuses on two protagonists who until their vehicle crash led two totally different lives, there’s Edna (Galbó) Who’s trying to visit her family and the brash George (Lovelock) a hot tempered and pushy individual but his drive really powers the action. Continue reading The Living Dead at Manchester Morgue / Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (1974)
AKA Alien Terror AKA Strangers
Director: Ciro Ippolito
Starring: Ciro Ippolito, Belinda Mayne, Mark Bodin, Michele Soavi,Judy Perrin. Italy. 1h 32m
Before the Alien (1979) film could be fully licenced and trade marked, it obviously had a profound effect on Italian director Ciro Ippolito decided to take it upon himself to craft a unauthorised sequel, and while this film has a low budget, the scope is there for a much bigger and impressive project, but the Alien lifeform is more affiliated with The Thing (1982)– In a Cave.. and has little to do with Ridley Scott’s cult classic.
While the earth eagerly await the return of a group of astronauts, meanwhile in an unrelated television studio, Thelma Joyce (Mayne) appears to talk about Spelunking and caves but she had a terrible psychic episode and violent visions forces an abrupt ending to her interview. The spaceship arrives but the crew are missing, in theory I believe this is supposed to be the derelict Nostromo. Meanwhile a young girl playing on the beach finds a pulsating blue rock, when her mother finds her, she’s missing her face. Continue reading Alien 2 – Sulla Terra / Alien 2 – On Earth (1980)
Director: Franco Prosperi.
Starring: Lorraine De Selle, Ugo Bologna, John Stacy, John Aldrich Stefania,Pinna Italy/Germany. 1h 32m.
A short while ago the Amazon delivery guy brought two films to my door, on a chilly winter morning, Wild Beasts and ROAR! I had hope for a double bill of amazing creature features and I got it.. I started the duo with this gem from the 80’s which like Roar (1981) involved the use of many large wild animals, undergoing a wild night in the city.
Half horror and half “let’s think about what we’re doing to the environment” movie, it’s scattered with gruesome animal attacks as well as highlighting ecological issues. But it’s just a normal day at the zoo when a beautiful photographer Laura Schwarz (De Selle) arrives to take some photos at the local zoo, she’s introduced to the various lives of a range of animals and procedures in the zoo, while the animals seem to be going about their normal day to day lives there are some concerns that they are “off their food”. Wrapping things up the photographer gets the cold shoulder from her young daughter who she rarely see’s day to day and is experiences abandonment issues. While the brilliant zoologist Ruper Berner ( Aldrich) retreats to his home for a shower.. Continue reading Belve Feroci (Savage Beasts) / The Wild Beasts (1984)
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.
Starting with a peculiar scene a groups of boys dare each other to go down some dark stairs (hence the name) eventually one of the boys is forced down into the darkness where he meets his grisly fate, from there Bava leisurely sets the pace of a whodunit with some impressive jump scares. Continue reading La Casa Con La Scala Nel Buio / A Blade in the Dark (1983)
Director: Alfonso Brescia.
Starring. Robert Hoffman, Irina Demick, Pilar Velazquez, Adolfo Celi. Italy. 1h 32m.
I’m not sure what the fascination is with the Giallo scene and parks, houses being on the edge, and girls getting killing in them. But this was a bit of a jumbled mess for me, I got the story but some of the characters were a little too bat-shit-crazy to make the film all that plausible. Continue reading Ragazza Tutta Nuda Assassinata Nel Parco / A girl killed in the park (1972)