Director: Andrea Bianchi.
Starring. Karin Well, Cianluigi Chirizzi, Simone Mattoli,Antonella Antinori, Pietro Barzocchini. Italy. 1h 25m.
AKA Nights of Terror, Zombi Horror, The Zombie Dead, Zombie 3
This seems to be one of the long-lost zombie films of the 80’s, but there’s a reason why this isn’t talked about that much in the same circles as Fulci, Argento and D’Amato.
During the 70’s and early 80’s Italian cinema became saturated with dark tales of zombies and ghouls coming back from the dead to feast on the living. While Burial Grounds seems to follow all the popular trends of the golden age it somehow does this without much of a narrative. but still remains a fan favourite and is admittedly a very unexpected thrilling viewing experience. Continue reading Burial Ground : The Nights of Terror (1981)
AKA: Demons III
Director: Lumberto Bava
Starring: Virginia Bryant, Sabrina Ferilli, Paolo Malco, Patrizio Vinci. Italy. 1h 34m
So many classic horror novels are produced from the bizarre dream of the writer, Frankenstein was a fever dream so powerful that Mary Shelly had to get the essence down on paper in a male dominated world, going against the grain she knew that her unique mix of man playing god and the promise of some dark everlasting life was literary gold. Other writers have often marveled how they bring their nightmares and dreams to live in their writing and films, which is the premise of this scrawny horror. Made for TV in the mid 80’s there’s a lot of 70’s backlash in this Bava effort, which made up a trilogy of direct to video/tv film series.
Continue reading The Ogre (1987)
Director: Fernando Di Leo.
Starring. Henry Silva,Woody Strode, Adolfo Celi, Mario Adorf , Luciana Paluzzi Italy. 1h 35m.
Following on from Caliber 9, De Leo hits back with another violent manhunt movie.
After a shipment of drugs vanishes a rather charming syndicate boss Corso (Cyril Cusack) settles down two confidants and describes the mood for them, David (Silva) and Frank (Strodey) 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 local assistant, Eva will be waiting on them hand and foot and aiding their mission but the blundering idiot they are sent after might not be quite as useless as everyone suspects. Continue reading Italian Connection / Hired to Kill / La mala ordina (1972)
Director: Jurgen Roland.
Starring: Henry Silva, Herbert Fleischmann, Patrizia Gori, Horst Janson, Denes Torza. Italy/Germany. 1h 23m.
Two mobster godfathers walk into a bar, shoot the place up and try to assassinate each others children. It’s not a great joke but it’s the basis of this tough guy action movie with lashings of black comedy, overall it’s well plotted and there are some great scenes and a high body count but is it really such a classic?
A feisty Luca Messina (Silva) arrives in the stunning city of Hamburg, Germany with his gorgeous sculptured wife and family, looking to take over this ripe province with his henchmen and goons with the aim of establishing himself as the new top dog. Instantly his family settle into their new mansion while his gang start their mission to intimidate the locals and bully them into promising their allegiance. Most of the other Don’s back down apart from Otto Westermann (Fleischmann) he’s not going to let anyone crush his status and muscle in on his territory and the “Battle” commences as a tit for tat skirmishes break out all over the city as each gang tries to wear down the other. Continue reading Zinksarge Fur Die Goldjungen / Battle of the Godfathers (1973)
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)