It’s another super special guest post! To go along with this week’s theme of foreign horror, I thought it would be really fun to have my friend Gavin share some of his extensive knowledge of Italian Giallo films. Sometimes there are people who know way more about things than I do. Crazy right?
Gavin and I had a chat in which he contributed a rich collection of fun facts about the Italians. And also an entertaining exchange he had with David Hess (Last House on the Left, House on the Edge of the Park). I hope you enjoy this as conversation much as I did!
Gavin is a friend from my days at the College of William and Mary. We once took a Russian Cinema class together. One day we started talking about horror movies and we’ve been friends ever since. He can be found on twitter @gavindupavin.
I’ll also be talking about some of these movies over the next couple of days.
ON ITALIAN GIALLO AND EXPLOITATION HORROR
seriously though, have you seen Rabid Dogs / Kidnapped? Mario Bava thriller that was tied up in the courts for like 30 years
but i have a couple of bava on my list to watch in oct
its more eurocrime/thriller than most bava
but in terms of terror, you feel it
i dont know how he saw it when he did (bootleg of a bootleg of a bootleg i’m sure) but tarantino was heavily influenced by it for Reservoir Dogs
they both start with a robbery you dont see that has gone awry
also, did you know Inferno was the last thing bava worked on?
they were trying to figure out a great way to introduce the apartment matron as a Mother and Bava had the idea of having a mirror break with a skeleton behind it
that’s why Opera, as wildly shifty as it is, is argento’s last real success
cause Bava died just before
as well as his nasty split with Daria Niccolodi
(which is also why she gets the peep hole bullet to the brain, they hated each other)
Opera is a mean, sadistic film
i honestly havent watched it in years
but the POV shot from the crow flying through the theater is a masterpiece of camerawork
i read Scorcese watched it and couldn’t figure out how Argento did it
Tenebre has the famous “in and out and over to the other side of an entire apartment building” in one shot, but they built a crane / track over the entire building
in Opera, the camera clearly swoops all over and shows places where it was, and a crane or track would show up
it has to be more simple than it seems (a la the horror film Travolta is working on in the beginning of De Palma’s Blow Up)
the part where the killer looks in the mirror and you dont see a camera just the dude
simple, its a window with a mirrored set on the other side
thats another director in love with Argento.
[Rabid Dogs] was unfinished, as was the score
but in terms of the score, it WORKS
cause they basically play the main theme throughout the whole movie
but it creates this sick amount of tension
i’m looking forward to watching this
also has one of the scariest rape sequences ever, and the chick isnt even touched
but what they do is still absolutely rape
that’s the thing, it isnt like I Spit on Your Grave (which i honestly believe is a very feminist film)
no one touches her, she’s threatened with violence and forced to humiliate herself
in so many ways, it is scarier than a rape scene just because it displays all the control issues of a traditional one, but is portrayed entirely differently
speaking of rape scenes, i’ve met David Hess and he was like, the nicest person ever
i’ve heard that!
“you lived in new york in the 70s right?”
“did you get recognized?”
“often, people would literally move away from me if they saw me on a subway. often there was a poster of me doing something horrible nearby so that didn’t help”
“Well you did an awful lot of raping in a lot of your films. Not in Bodycount, but that sucked.”
“Yeah, it did”
and we talked about how the House on the Edge of the Park is way better than it gets credit for
it sucks i lost it but I had him sign a Last House on the Left lobby card “the godfather of film rapists, david hess”
he also laughed out loud when I said he did classy rape films, not trash like Forced Entry
and when I said he was the only thing missing from Irreversable
Oh! I forgot! Have you seen “Inside” yet?!
Oh yes! I did!
best horror film of the past decade, imo
i watched it like a week after you told me
here’s a bit of neat trivia that as americans, is lost on us
the lady who played the lead’s mother (who she kills with a knitting needle by accident)
she’s like the french people’s Julie Andrews
so it was suuuuuper shocking to see that for french audiences
that scene was amazing
also, another movie you gotta check out if you havent seen it: Amer
its hard to classify, almost impossible
but it has tons of gialloesque sound and imagery
added to my list!
and it’s coming to netflix in like a week
this is great, i didn’t have that many recent films on my list
most of what people have been telling me to watch so far is from the 70’s and 80’s
I’m not sure if i can call it a horror film
but take a look at the theatrical poster and try telling me it isnt absolutely influenced by 70s italian horror:
i’m just an encyclopedia of exploitation
that poster is amazing!
i want to share your knowledge with the masses… or, at least, the ten people who read my blog
ie, Friday the 13th Part 2 is copied kill for kill from Bava’s “Bay of Blood”
is it really?
plotwise no, killwise, yes
ten horror/exploitation films you should check out if you havent:
1. Rabid Dogs aka Kidnapped (dont watch the Kidnapped version, Lamberto Bava re-edited his dads work and butchered it)
2. any 60s/70s Bava or Argento you may have missed (Bird with the Crystal Plumage, 5 Dolls for an August Moon, Blood and Black Lace, etc etc).
3. Witchfinder General (the uncut version. best performance vincent price ever did)
4. Sergio Martino’s giallo works (Torso, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I have the Key, Curse of the Scorpion’s Tail)
6. What have they done to Solange?
7. The House of the Devil and Cabin Fever 2 (by Ti West, trust me on these…both amazing homages to 80s horror)
8. Fulci’s lesser known works (Dont Torture a Duckling, Woman in a Llizard’s Skin, House by the Cemetary, City of the Living Dead, The New York Ripper)
9. The Woman in Black
this is way more than 10 but still
Also check out Michele Soavi’s 80s/90s stuff: The Church, Dellamorte Dellamore (US Title: Cemetary Man)
i’ve seen House of the Devil!
that was ridiculous
yeah thats why you have to trust me on Cabin Fever 2
ok, i’m sold
9000000 times more ridiculous than House of the Devil
straight to dvd sequel but its so faithful to 80s shit, just from a different light than House/Devil
I’m such a horror dork I have the scores to The Beyond and The Bird With the Crystal Plumage on vinyl
the latter is SUPER rare, cause the only release that people can find is of a US orchestra performing Morricone’s score. i’ve got one thats the original recording
those scores are wonderful
now i’m gonna have the Beyond’s “la. lalalalalala. lalalalalalala!” stuck in my head forever
word for word exhcange i had with a friend a couple years ago
“Justice rules. you know track 3, Phantoms? its so good”
“They just sampled Goblin’s main theme to “Tenebre,” thats why its good
“whose theme to what?”
‘nevermind, it rules’
A couple of these titles I’ve written about:
Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man) in my Top Ten Zombie List
Lucio Fulci and his movie Zombie in my Top Ten Zombie List