Need Some Epic Italian Zombie Soundtracks?

Okay, so they might not necessarily be “epic”, or even zombies depending on who you ask, but Quartet Records has given fans of some of the lower quality (but still damn entertaining) zombie or plague flicks from 1980!

Quartet Records, in collaboration with Cinevox Records has released the score for Bruno Mattei and Claudio Fragasso’s 1980 film Virus, also known as Virus Apocalipsis Canibal, and probably best known as Hell of the Living Dead or Night of the Zombies. Now, anybody that has seen this film probably noticed that there are some parts of the score that sounds a little like Goblin’s score for Romero’s Dawn of the Dead (1978), and you would be correct. In fact, there is also music lifted from the score Goblin did for Luigi Cozzi’s Contamination (1980), and even a bit from Fernando Di Leo’s crime drama Diamanti Sporchi di Sangue (1978), done by Luis Bacalov. But it did actually have some original music in it, from Gianni Dell’Orso.

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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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New Howarth Book!!!

Our good friend Troy Howarth has officially announced his latest book, which doesn’t have a release date yet, but I know I’ll be adding it to my library! The title is Make Them Die Slowly: The Kinetic Cinema of Umberto Lenzi, which will be published by WK Books. This will be the first ever book covering Lenzi’s work in English, which will cover all of his films in depth, with plenty of interviews with people that worked with Lenzi and his films. While some might only know Lenzi’s name from the cannibal films that gave him a lot of notoriety, his work and impact in the Italian film industry was huge.

With a forward by Eugenio Ercolani and cover art by Jolyon Yates, the page count should be around 400 and most likely will be offered in both a full color version as well as a black & white version, priced accordingly.

When we have more details, we’ll post them here. I’m not only a friend of Troy’s but have devoured more than a few of his books and have never been disappointed by the coverage he gives to each of his subjects. I expect no less with this one.

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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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.

Book Review: Darkening the Italian Screen

Darkening the Italian ScreenDarkening the Italian Screen
Published by McFarland, 2019. 334 pages
By Eugenio Ercolani

As fans of Italian genre films, we all know the names of Argento, Bava, Soavi, and (hopefully) Freda. But there were so many that worked in the industry in the ’60s through the ’80s, that so many get lost in the shuffle. Maybe we’ve heard of them, or maybe we know a movie or two they did, but that’s it. That is what I love about this book, that it brings light to more than a few people that had connections to some of the films we love, but maybe didn’t know as much about them.

Going through the list of names interviewed in this book, there were a few that I was familiar with, such as Umberto Lenzi, Ruggero Deodato, Enzo G. Castellari, and Sergio Martino. But even with these guys, there were plenty of interesting and sometimes downright amazing stories to be learned within these pages, especially when we learn about their beginnings in the industry. Other names like Alberto De Martino or Mario Caiano, I was somewhat familiar with, but not a lot. Then there were names that I wasn’t as familiar with at all, such as Giulio Petroni or Franco Rossetti. But the great thing about if you’ve been a fan of the Italian film genre for any length of time, you will have at least heard of the films they are talking about, if you haven’t seen them already. Continue reading

Umberto Lenzi – Rest in Peace

Umberto Lenzi - RIPIf you were a fan of Giallo films, or just Italian horror cinema, especially their cannibal sub-genre, then you definitely knew who Umberto Lenzi was. While he started off studying law, he turned to his real passion…cinema. At first working as a critic and writer, he soon moved into film production. His first film was Queen of the Seas (1958). But starting in the late ’60s, he made several well made giallos, such as So Sweet…So Perverse (1969), Seven Blood-Stained Orchids (1972), Spasmo (1974), and Eyeball (1975).

But in 1972, he made the film Sacrifice (aka Man from Deep River), which was a slight take off on the 1970 film A Man Called Horse, except Lenzi’s was a little darker. With this film, some say that he started the Italian cannibal sub-genre, even before Deodato’s Cannibal Holocaust (1980). In fact, a year after that film came out, Lenzi did his best to top even that one, with Cannibal Ferox (aka Make Them Die Slowly) which one might think would be hard to do. Whether he did or not is up to the viewers, but either way, it’s a pretty tough film to watch. He would continue to make films into the ’90s, but never with any real success, usually due to budgetary reasons.

While he is usually remembered because of the later day films he made, his early giallo titles are well worth seeking out. None the less, no matter your tastes in his films, he was one filmmaker that made a permanent impact on the horror genre. And that is something to be said.

Lenzi recently passed away on Oct. 19th, at the age of 86. He will be missed, but his films will help him and his memory live on.