John Steiner – Rest in Peace

John Steiner is another name that most might not know, but if you’re a fan of Italian cinema, then you will know his work. With a man close to 100 credits to his name in less than 25 years is pretty impressive. But also add the fact that he worked with many talented people and directors, including 4 iconic names in the Italian film industry. He worked with Lucio Fulci several times, in the early ’70s, such as in both of the White Fang films, Mario Bava in his last film, Shock (1977), Dario Argento’s Tenebrae (1982), and Ruggero Deodato’s Cut and Run (1984). Hell, he was even the main bad guy in Yor: Hunter from the Future (1983)!!! Needless to say, he is in a lot of our favorite films.

Unfortunately, it was reported that Steiner died in a car accident on Sunday, July 31st. As the years go by, the longer you have been a fan of cinema, we see more and more leave this part of their journey. But because we are fans, we know that because of their film legacy, they will live on and on, each time we bust out one of their titles. So now is the time to do just that. Break out Tenebrae or even Yor, sit back and enjoy Steiner’s work with a smile and remember.

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family during this difficult time.

Nightmare Industry – Italian Horror Documentary

From the producers of the In Search of Darkness documentaries comes a new one that looks to be just amazing! Nightmare Industry is a new documentary coming out soon that is going to cover the Italian horror film industry. With Phillip Escott and Eugenio Ercolani as the co-directors and producers, I have a great feeling that this is going to be essential viewing. According to Escott, they want to “tell the ultimate story about Italian horror cinema.” He also states that their goal for this project is for fans to learn something, which has my support right there! Escott said “I want them to be entertained. I want them to have fun, because that’s what Italian horror cinema is all about. But I also want them to walk away enlightened. I want them to learn. A lot about what went into making these incredible movies.”

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January Giallo

For the last several months, I’ve been honored to be part of the podcast Kicking the Seat, hosted by Ian Simmons, which he has been going through a bunch giallo films and discussing them with myself, as well as Dr. AC aka Aaron Christensen, and Bryan Martinez from The Giallo Room. The episodes are called Accademia Giallo and we’ve covered a wide range of titles from some familiar ones and some more obscure titles, so if you’re a fan, or want to learn more about this sub-genre, check these out.

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Suspiria at the Music Box!!!

This is a little short notice, but it was recently announced that Dario Argento’s immortal Suspiria (1977) will be screening at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre this weekend and next week. If you haven’t seen this film in the theater, then you haven’t really seen it. Seriously. This will be screened from a DCP format, which I’m guessing is the print from the Synapse recent Blu-Ray, so it is simply amazing.

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Holiday Ideas for Horror Book Lovers

If you’re looking for a gift for someone that is an avid book lover that also loves the horror genre, there are so many titles out there to choose from. And they just seem to keep coming out too! In fact, it’s really hard for me NOT to buy them for myself! Yes, having a library of horror reference books is not as cheap as it once was, but I’m not complaining. To be fair, I do not have copies of any of these yet. Key word… YET! But I know at some point, I’m going to have to kick my son out of the house so my library can take over his room!

If you know a big fan of Dario Argento, then I would highly recommend the latest book by Troy Howarth, Murder by Design: The Unsane Cinema of Dario Argento. If you’re not familiar with Howarth’s work, this would be a great place to start. I haven’t gotten my copy yet, but I have never been disappointed by his work, always making them not only very informative, but entertaining as well. This covers not only his work as director, but writer and producer as well. You’ll read about everything from his early work in westerns to his move into the director’s chair, giving us plenty of memorable films, from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970) to Suspiria (1977) to Sleepless (2001). You read new interviews with Argento himself, along with daughter Fiore Argento, actress Sally Kirkland, Irene Miracle, composer Claudio Simonetti, cinematographer Luciano Tovoli. Continue reading

Daria Nicolodi – Rest in Peace

These posts are always tough to do. It is with great sadness that we have found out that Daria Nicolodi has passed away today, age the age of 70. One cannot be a fan of Italian cinema and not know of her work, both in front of and behind the camera. From her appearance in Dario Argento’s Deep Red (1975), Tenebre (1982), to Opera (1987), as well as co-writing Suspiria (1977), one of the best horror films ever committed to film, she has definitely made her mark.

Thankfully, we know that her memory will not fade away, because she will still remain alive in our minds and hearts, every time we break out one of these movies. Her talent and beauty will be alive on screen every time we push play, and we can continue to be grateful that she has left us such gifts.

Our deepest sympathies go out to her family and friends in this most difficult time. Riposa in pace, Daria. 

Giallo Canvas: Art, Excess and Horror Cinema

giallo canvasHere’s another volume for the library of giallo fans. Alexandra Heller-Nicholas has just released the cover of her newest book, The Giallo Canvas: Art Excess and Horror Cinema, which sounds to be much different look at this popular sub-genre of films. While most books on this sub-genre covers everything from the production and making of, sexual subtexts, and a huge focus on style, this title “explores an overlooked yet prevalent element in some of the best known gialli – an obsession with art and artists in creative production, with a particular focus on painting.” Sounds like a very interesting read, that is for sure. Plus, I love that this is something new to consider about these films, focusing on the art used in these movies. The author will be exploring art that is used by some of the masters of Italian giallo cinema, such as Mario and Lamberto Bava, Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Sergio Martino, Umberto Lenzi, and Michele Soavi. 

This will be publised by McFarland, but there is no release date as of yet. Stay tuned and we’ll keep you posted.

John Saxon – Rest in Peace

John Saxon - RIPAs this year goes on, we continue to lose more and more of some iconic faces in our movie world. You couldn’t grow up in the ’70s and ’80s and not recognize John Saxon’s face, mainly because he appeared in so many cult features over the decades. It didn’t matter if you were into the Italian giallo (Mario Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much, 1963 & Dario Argento’s Tenebre, 1984), schlocky sci-fi films (Blood Beast from Outer Space, 1965 & Queen of Blood, 1966), martial arts film (Enter the Dragon, 1973), or the countless exploitation titles he appeared in, you would see his face in there somewhere. Not to mention appearing as a cop in more than a few of these films, like Blood Beach (1980), the Nightmare on Elm Street films, and even Nightmare Beach (1989).

We had the opportunity to meet him while at the Flashback Weekend back in 2007 where his table was set up right next to ours. So we were chatting throughout the weekend and he was such a nice guy. So even though the internet has already flooded with tributes and announcements of his passing, I wanted to add my condolences as well. No matter what the film was, even lesser quality productions like Blood Salvage (1990) or Hellmaster (1992), he always delivered a strong performance. His last appearance in a horror title was with his friend Dario Argento in Pelts (2006), in his episode for the second season of The Masters of Horror.

Knowing that his work in all these wonderful films will keep his memory alive and well for generations to come.  And that really is all that we can ask in life, to be remembered fondly. And Mr. Saxon, you definitely will. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time.

Max von Sydow – Rest in Peace

Max von sydow - ripSince the internet has been flooded with notices about this a few days ago, everyone I’m sure has heard of the passing of actor Max von Sydow.  Even though he only made less than a dozen films you could consider horror, you couldn’t be a fan of the genre and not know who this man was, because of The Exorcist (1973). Granted, like a lot of us, we always assumed he was already an old man because of the incredible aged makeup he wore in that film, thanks to Dick Smith. But no matter what role he had, like a small part in Conan the Barbarian (1982), the over-the-top role of the Emperor Ming in Flash Gordon (1980), to even the humorous role of Brewmeister Smith in Strange Brew (1983), he always commanded your attention, as well as gave a very memorable performance.

From his early days with Ingmar Bergman to Dario Argento in Sleepless (2001), to even working with Martin Scorsese in Shutter Island (2010), he always had a captive audience with his talent. He is one that will definitely live on and be remembered for all of those incredible characters. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words

Ennio Morricone In His Own WordsI know I may be a little late to the party on this one (and kind of pissed at myself that I’m just finding out about this) but there is a book about this amazing composer out now, called Ennio Morricone: In His Own Words. Whether you are a fan of western soundtracks, horror, and any of the other genres Morricone worked on, you know he created an unbelievable amount of magic through his music. For me, going back to films like Nightmare Castle to the work he did with Dario Argento, his scores are always amazing.

According to the description, Morricone and Alessandro De Rosa had a years-long discussion of “life, music, and the marvelous and unpredictable ways that the two come into contact with and influence each other.” Published by Oxford University Press last March, this 368 page book covers the Maestros work and those he collaborated with, names like Leone, Carpenter, De Palma, Almodóvar, Polanski, and many more. According to Morricone himself, this is “beyond a shadow of a doubt the best book ever written about me, the most authentic, the most detailed and well curated. The truest.” How can you argue with that?

I know this will be among my next order with Amazon and I can’t wait to dig into it.