Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960-1980
Published by McFarland, 2011. 346 pages.
By Danny Shipka
“To all those who have received grief for their entertainment choices and who see the study of weird and wacky films as important to understanding popular culture.”
That is the little dedication in the beginning of the book, which I immediately felt a kindred spirit with the author, since, like many fans of cult cinema, have had to try and explain and/or defend their love of this genre. For someone who is new to this type of films, especially from the three countries covered here, this would be a great introduction. This is not an in-depth or critical study or college thesis where the author is trying to come up with some outrageous theory, but an general overview of the films, filmmakers, and what was going on in those countries during this time. As a newcomer to this, you will find quite a few titles to add to your “To-Watch” list, which honestly, is the best thing a reference book can do for the reader, making them want to seek out and watch the films that are discussed. And with that, author Shipka does a great job.
One more thing we can look forward to in 2019 is the continuing proof that print is definitely not dead. Sorry folks, but not even close. Granted, my bank account very well could be, but there are more than a few books coming out this year that I know will be must additions to my library. Not sure where I’m going to be putting them when they do arrive, or when I’ll get around to reading them…
FAB Press announced that they will be publishing the English language edition of Dario Argento’s autobiography, simply called Fear. That is the only details FAB released but since I hadn’t even heard that he was even writing an autobiography (that was actually published in 2014…thanks Troy!), I am more than a little excited about hearing his stories, right from him. I can only imagine the insights and stories we’re going to hear right from the man responsible for so many incredible pieces of cinema.
Add this to the fact that Troy Howarth’s new book, Murder By Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento, will be out in 2020, that means we’ll have a few more Argento books for the library shelves. Maybe we’ll even get to see Volume 3 in Howarth’s So Deadly, So Perverse giallo series. Positive thoughts, my fellow book fiends.
Chicago’s Music Box Theatre has been hosting these 24-hour marathons since 2005, and I have been at every one of them. There were a few times I was just there as a fan to watch the movies, but usually I’m there as a vendor. When I am set up as a vendor, part of me always regrets not just coming as a fan and being able to enjoy watching the films instead of staying behind my table. Sure, with my wife Dawn there, I could always sneak out to catch a film or two, but I usually feel bad about leaving her there to watch the table alone. Plus, I always feel I might miss something. We also usually pack and leave somewhere around 2am, figuring sales are usually low or non-existent by then. But this time out, things were a little different. Continue reading
Two weeks from today, the Music Box Theatre will once again unleash the terror from their projector, screening 13 features (with 10 of them being from actual 35mm prints!) in this year’s The Music Box of Horrors! Since our last post, they have added one final feature to the lineup, Dario Argento’s Opera (1987), which will be the Italian uncut version, playing in Chicago for the first time! This is actually Argento’s personal 35mm print being screened! How cool is that?
Directed by Dario Argento
Starring Anthony Franciosa, John Saxon, Daria Nicolodi, Veronica Lario, John Steiner, Giuliano Gemma, Christian Borromeo
“Every humiliation which stood in his way could be swept
aside by the simple act of annihilation: Murder”
In the early ’80s, after spending several years with the first two films in his Three Mothers Trilogy, Suspiria (1977) and Inferno (1980), something happened to Argento while in Los Angeles that gave him the idea for what would be his next picture. He started to receive some strange phone calls from a ‘fan’ who wanted to discuss his work with him. With each call, they became more and more distressing to Argento, especially when this person said he wanted to kill him. After leaving LA, Argento started to really think about that concept of murder. Shortly after, he was quoted saying “To kill for nothing – that is the horror of today. If you kill for money or to achieve a goal, I can understand that, even if I can’t condone it. But when that gesture has no meaning then it is more repugnant than ever.”
So the genesis of Tenebre started.
The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971)
Directed Dario Argento
Starring James Franciscus, Karl Malden, Catherine Spaak, Pier Paolo Capponi, Horst Frank, Tino Carraro, Rada Rassimov, Aldo Reggiani, Carlo Alighiero
This has always been my favorite of Argento’s Animal Trilogy. Even though the reveal at the end of the film doesn’t have the big “It’s You!” payoff that a good thriller might have, this is a giallo after all so it comes down to many other things. But having a blind puzzle maker as one of the main protagonists is something that I’ve always thought was a cool idea, and Malden does an excellent job here.
Last August at the Flashback Weekend, they had a special screening of the newly re-mastered 4K scan of Dario Argento’s Suspiria. It was an amazing experience, almost like seeing it again for the first time.
But now it is back again, screening this time at the Music Box Theatre. If you’ve never had the chance to catch this new 4K scan, I cannot recommend it enough. Not only does the print look amazing, the sound is just stunning. The soundtrack has been restored to the original quadraphonic mix, which means you hear it all around you.
You may have seen Suspiria before. But you’ve never seen it on the big screen like this way before. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out.
It is screening at the midnight shows next weekend, Feb. 9th & 10th. For more information, head over to the Music Box Theatre’s website HERE.