Dellamorte Dellamore (1994)
Directed by Michele Soavi
Starring Rupert Everett, Francois Hadji-Lazaro, Anna Falchi, Mickey Knox, Fabiana Formica, Clive Riche, Barbara Cupisti, Anton Alexander
The first time I watched this film, it was from a bootleg VHS tape, several generations down from the original source, in Italian with no sub-titles. I was very familiar with the director, being a huge fan of his first three films, and was very excited to see his latest, even if it meant watching it under these particular circumstances. And it didn’t matter. Soavi’s use of the camera, the look and feel of the film, and giving us something like we hadn’t seen before, even though I might not have understood exactly what was going on, I still loved it. Soon, I would upgrade my copy to another crappy looking tape, but this time in English. Then a great looking one, but back to Italian. Then finally splurging the money and acquiring the actual Japanese laserdisc, which has one of the best covers to date, which you can see to the right.
Not sure why, but when this film was released over here in the states, some moron decided that the original titles would confuse people, so they changed it to Cemetery Man. Nice job, dumbass.
Death Machine (1994)
Directed by Steven Norrington
Starring Brad Dourif, Ely Pouget, William Hootkins, John Sharian, Martin McDougall, Andreas Wisniewski, Richard Brake
Okay folks, here’s one title that the Sci-Fi vs Horror people can fight over. You have some people trapped in a huge corporate office building that are basically being stalked by a demented weapons designer and his latest toy. This toy, called the WarBeast, is a huge mechanical killing machine, with long razor sharp claws, a mouth with huge metal teeth, and can track its target by their fear! Is it Sci-Fi or horror? You decide. But no matter which path you go, director Norrington gives us a nice view of both worlds, nicely intertwined together making one hell of a movie!
Dark Waters (1993)
Directed by Mariano Baino
Starring Louise Salter, Venera Simmons, Mariya Kapnist, Lubov Snegur, Albina Skarga, Pavel Kokolov
On the audio commentary for Dark Waters, director Baino mentions something that Alfred Hitchcock had said about how the invention of sound would destroy cinema. I am paraphrasing this, but his point was that after movies had sound, more time will be spent listening to the story than watching what is happening on screen. One could listen to a film and pretty much get the idea of what is going on, instead of letting the visuals tell the story, which I think is especially true with today’s features. Well, Dark Waters is a perfect example of the opposite of that theory. In fact, when it starts, there is almost 18 minutes before any real dialogue is heard. And in that short time, unforgettable images appear on screen, such as shots of nuns with large crosses on a hill, or more nuns in a darkened field at night with burning crosses, we see the murder of a young girl, with her blood flowing into the water that is leaking through the catacombs in the convent, to even something simple like an old woman on a bus playing with a couple of spiders. Thse are just but a few visual to start off the film. But it continues through the rest of the running time. If modern day Hollywood made their films look half as good and striking as this one, the cinematic world would be a much better place.
Black Sunday (1960)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici, Enrico Olivieri, Antonia Pierfederici, Tino Bianchi
Once you start to wander down the path of Italian horror cinema, there is one director that is a must for you to seek out. While I know quite a few fans start out with Dario Argento, which is a great place to start, but you mustn’t stop there, but go further back. Back to 1960 when the film Black Sunday was released. There are many titles that are considered ‘classics’, but director Mario Bava’s tale of witchcraft, Satanism, and revenge, is one of the best examples of black and white horror cinema, or really horror cinema in general.
The Devil’s Rain (1975)
Directed by Robert Fuest
Starring Ernest Borgnine, William Shatner, Ida Lupino, Eddie Albert, Tom Skerritt, Keenan Wynn.
Back in the day when I was eagerly eating up any and all horror films I could get my hands on, I tended to laugh off this title, mainly because of the thought of Ernest Borgnine playing an evil character. From his days of McHale’s Navy, I just couldn’t see him being scary, let alone some demonic entity. But this film changed all of that.
The Eyes of My Mother (2016)
Directed by Nicolas Pesce
Starring Kika Magalhães, Diana Agostini, Olivia Bond, Will Brill, Joey Curtis-Green, Flora Diaz, Paul Nazak
This is one of those films that will definitely leave a mark on the viewer. Whether or not you like what unfolds in front of you, it will be very hard to forget. And isn’t that what we hope from all cinema? Something that has substance and is not easily forgotten a day later? Something that will make you think or get a reaction from you. That is what writer/director Pesce has done here with this film.
Horror Express (1972)
Directed by Eugenio Martin
Starring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Alberto de Mendoza, Silvia Tortosa, Julio Peña, Helga Liné, Telly Savalas, George Rigaud, Victor Israel
For any horror fan that is just starting his long journey into the depths of genre, one path that is easy and most followed are the ones that feature certain iconic actors known for their work in the genre, such as names like Karloff, Price, Chaney, Lorre, and of course Cushing and Lee. With the work Cushing and Lee did with Hammer Films, as well as many other genre pics, it gave a young and eager fan plenty of titles to investigate. If you found one of the many films that they both appeared in, then it was an even better deal!