We have lost one of the premiere makeup artist from the movie world. Being one of thousands in the industry, to have your work literally change the face of a specific horror sub-genre, is something pretty damn amazing. Italian makeup and special effects man Giannetto De Rossi was one of them. This talent that showed us what putrefying flesh of the living dead should look like, passed away on Sunday, at the age of 78 years old.
Coming from a family in the industry, with both his father and grandfather working as makeup artist, it didn’t take long for Giannetto to realize that he was pretty good at it as well. He started working on films in his early 20s and never looked back. In 1974, working with Spanish director Jorge Grau, he created some unforgettable zombies, as well as some over-the-top gore effects in Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, which remain still impressive almost 50 years later. A few years later, he would create the look for the Italian zombie in Lucio Fulci’s Zombie (1979). Not only were there some incredible gore effects, but De Rossi made the zombies look scary as hell. With dirt packed faces, worms crawling on them, and plenty of the gooey red stuff, he made these creatures a walking nightmare, even before they clenched their teeth into your flesh.
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One of the first real over-the-top gory zombie films to be inspired by Romero’s Night of the Living Dead (1968) was released 6 years afterwards, directed by a Spanish filmmaker, but shot in England. It is also known by more than a few titles. I can remember looking it up in Phil Hardy’s Encyclopedia of Film and trying to figure out just what the real title was! Well, we are talking about Jorge Grau’s 1974 No profanar el sueño de los Muertos, which has been announced to be released on Blu-ray by Synapse Films this September. Continue reading →
Well, they finally announced the complete lineup for the fall Super Monster-Rama and I am doing all I can to try and figure out a way to make it to this one. I mean, how can any self-respecting Paul Naschy fan skip out on seeing not one, not two, but THREE Naschy flicks on the big screen?!?!? Plus, it is a Spanish horror theme for the whole weekend. If a triple dose of Naschy wasn’t enough, then about adding in Blind Dead film? Or Jorge Grau’s amazing zombie flick, Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue! Then you throw in some rare & obscure titles like Graveyard of Horrors and The Dracula Saga, that just makes the cake.
So while I’m still trying to figure out a way, you should start making your plans to head out to this event. It takes place on Friday, Sept. 20th and Saturday, Sept. 21st, at the Riverside Drive-in in Vandergrift, PA.
There are those directors that may have only worked in the horror genre a couple of times, but still have made quite a big impact. Jorge Grau was one of them. News came out today that he has passed away at the age of 88.
Grau only directed two genre films, Ceremonia sangrienta (1970), released over here as The Legend of Blood Castle, and his most famous one, No profanar el sueño de los Muertos (1974), most commonly known in the states as Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, though it has quite a few other monikers it was released under.
Watching Corpses for the first time in my youth made me aware of a few things. This was one of the first color zombie films that featured a lot of gore. I mean a LOT of gore, courtesy of Giannetto De Rossi who would later work with Lucio Fulci on many of his famous gore/living dead films. But Grau also showed audiences the European way of not following the traditional aspect of the genre. He didn’t follow the normal conventions of the zombies, putting his own spin on them, still making them very effective.
Grau directed over 30 features over in his career that spanned almost 5 decades. For him to only direct two horror films, one of which is considered a classic in the zombie sub-genre, ranking it right up there with Romero’s best, shows that he had a strong voice and vision. One that it is still seen and heard over four decades later, as much as it will be for generations to come.
Our thoughts go out to his friends and family. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
For those who didn’t know, the Music Box of Horrors returns this year on October 24th for another 24-hours of movies, mayhem and madness. They have only announced a few titles so far, more recently the addition of Jorge Grau’s Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue (aka Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, amongst about a dozen other titles). Needless to say, I was very excited to hear that, since this is one of my favorite European zombie films. Made only a few years after Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and amazing gore effects by Italian mastro Giannetto De Rossi (Zombie, The Beyond, House by the Cemetery), Grau gave us something that was slightly different in the zombie mythology, with a little bit of a enviromental message, and one hoot of a undead flick. If you haven’t seen this, then now is your chance to not only see it, but see it on the big screen! The Krypt will be vending once again this year, so we’ll have our usual wares of horror reference books for you to help with your horror education.
Tickets for this onslaught of horror are only $25 if you purchase them before October 1st. Between the 1st and Oct. 23rd, the tickets will be $30, and then $35 at the day of the show. So you should really order your tickets now and save that extra little bit of cash.
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