If you are a fan of Italian cinema, whether it be westerns, giallo, or horror, then you’ve most likely heard the work of Stelvio Cipriani, who passed away on Monday, October 1st, at the age of 81. With a career that spanned over 50 years, composing scores for over 200 films, he has help make those movies even better with his music.
He started studying music at the age of 14 and composed his first score when he was 29, which was The Ugly Ones (1966). He would contribute scores for such films as A Bay of Blood (1971), The Iguana with the Tongue of Fire (1971), Death Walks on High Heels (1971), Baron Blood (1972), Tragic Ceremony (1972), Rabid Dogs (1974), Tentacles (1977), The Great Alligator (1979), Nightmare City (1980), and so many more.
Thankfully for us film score fans, a lot of his work has been released on CDs, which allows not only us, but newer fans to discover and continue to enjoy years to come. So that his work with always be with us, which means he will always be remembered. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.
If you are one of those that haven’t had the pleasure to witness one of the best giallo films to come out in the last couple of decades, and one that looks like it was made back in the heyday of the black gloved killers, then you need to see Francesca, created by the highly talented brothers, Luciano and Nicolas Onetti. Just check out the trailer below to see what I’m talking about.
Suspicious Death of a Minor (1975)
Directed by Sergio Martino
Starring Claudio Cassinelli, Mel Ferrer, Lia Tanzi, Barbara Magnolfi, Gianfranco Barra, Patrizia Castaldi, Adolfo Caruso, Roberto Posses
There were a few things that got my attention right away when this disc came in the mail. First and foremost, it is directed by Sergio Martino, who has made more than a few films that I have really enjoyed over the years. I mean, let’s face it…the man is a god when it comes to the giallo! Secondly, it would be the first of five times that Claudio Cassinelli would appear in one of Martino’s films, before dying in a tragic helicopter accident. My first introduction to Cassinelli’s work was in Martino’s Island of the Fishmen (1979), co-starring Richard Johnson and Barbara Bach. He always seemed to have fun playing the good guy and did it well. So he’s always a welcome site for me when he appears on screen.
Some time ago, we posted about a Mario Bava Film Festival that was being held in New York, and that since we’re in the Chicago area, it was just too far to even think of making it to it. But now Chicago fans don’t need to worry since those Bava titles are coming to the Gene Siskel Film Center, starting next weekend, on August 4th! If you have never had the chance to witness the wonder of Mario Bava on the big screen, I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially titles like Blood and Black Lace or Black Sabbath. The colors alone on these two will just blow your mind. But even the beautiful black and white cinematography in Bava’s directorial debut, Black Sunday, is just stunning to see. Seriously, if you are a fan of horror films, Italian horror, or cinema in general, do yourself a favor and make it out to some of these (if not all of them!).
Back in the mid to late ’90s, I did something almost on a yearly basis that was one of those stupid things you do when you’re younger…driving from Chicago to New York for a convention, usually in the wintery month of January. I mean, when you have the opportunity to meet genre icons like Lucio Fulci or Paul Naschy, sensibilities tend not to come to the forefront of your thought process. Why pay $200 to $400 for a single plane ticket when I could get a bunch of like-minded horror fans in the car and make the 800+ mile drive there, stay a couple of days, and then make that same trip back. Granted, I was never dumb enough to do it alone, but the first few times we did this, it was in one straight shot. On the way there, we were so pumped full of excitement that the trip didn’t seem that bad. But for some reason the trip back seems sooo much longer. Sure, those long hours in the van were long, tedious, and sometime downright nerve racking. But it was an adventure, to say the least. Now I look back on those days with such fondness. Sure, maybe because I’m not behind the wheel at that moment, but those are still great memories.
Directed by Luciano Onetti
Written by Luciano and Nicolás Onett
Starring Luis Emilio Rodriguez, Gustavo Dalessanro, Raul Gederlini, Silvina Grippaldi, Evangelina Goitia, Juan Baustista Massolo
Over the last few years, there have been a few filmmakers out there that are trying to recreate the look and feel of the ’70s giallo films from Italy. Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani’s Amer (2009) and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013) come to mind, as well as the more recent film The Editor (2014), by Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy. Each of these films capture the look and feel of the sub-genre, though The Editor really seemed like it was more concerned with making fun of it than paying tribute. But that’s for another review.
There are a few up and coming filmmakers that are really trying to replicate the style of the Italian giallo film genre, some more successfull than others, such as Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani’s Amer (2009) and The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013). But when the trailer for this film simply called Francesca hit the internet, I would have sworn this was made back in the ’70s, the heyday of the giallo. The look, the color, the music, and of course, the style, is just amazing.
Directed by Luciano Onetti and written by him and his brother Nicolás Onetti, they give us a tale about a two cops on the trail of a psychopath that is set on cleaning up the city of the “impure and damned souls”. The film has won several film festival awards like Director at Buenos Aires Rojo Sangre 2015, Best Production Design at Tabloid Witch Awards – Hollywood Investigator 2015, Weird Visions Award at Ravenna Nightmare 2015, Best Giallo Film at Crypticon Kansas City 2016, and Special Mention at Horrorant 2016 in Greece. Not a bad start, huh?