Archive for luigi pistilli

Goregirl Has Left the Dungeon…

Posted in Italian, movies with tags , , , , , on April 4, 2013 by goregirl

Spaghetti Unchained at The CinemathequeGory Greetings & Happy Friday (although it is officially Thursday evening at 9:30pm). Just got back from seeing Death Rides a Horse at the Cinematheque! I have watched some seriously wicked flicks over the last several days and will have some review goodness for you post haste. In the meantime enjoy this trailer for Giulio Petroni’s 1967 film Death Rides a Horse

death rides a horse

THE CASE OF THE SCORPIONS TAIL (1971) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , on March 24, 2010 by goregirl

I’ve mentioned many times on this blog how much I love the films of the 1970’s. That is why I am completely mystified as to how I could have overlooked the films of Sergio Martino. ‘The Case of The Scorpion’s Tail’ is the second Martino directed film I’ve reviewed during Italian horror month and is another outstanding example of the mans work.

Lisa Baumer wastes no time cashing in her husbands million-dollar insurance policy after he dies in a plane accident. Insurance agent Peter Lynch is sent to investigate the case. Bodies begin piling up and the million-dollar bootie goes missing. Ambitious reporter Cleo Dupont hooks up with Peter and together they try to solve the puzzle.

The film opens with a couple having sex; during which we are shown flashes of an airplane flying and then exploding in mid-air. I found it really entertaining that the first piece of the puzzle does double duty as a visual for an orgasm. The airplane shots were created using a model airplane on a string and that’s exactly what it looked like. It was so damn cheesy I couldn’t help but be charmed. ‘The Case of The Scorpions Tale’ has a deliciously convoluted plot full of red herrings, violence and numerous suspects with twists and turns that keep you guessing. You are well rewarded with a dramatic reveal and an excellent chase sequence. The chase really is superb but Martino cuts it short in a rather blunt manner. It’s a minor detail but I would have liked to see this scene extended. A great plot is complimented by stylish and inventive photography, fantastic set pieces, and beautiful outdoor scenery. It is all set to an excellent score from Bruno Nicolai. Topping it all off are top-notch performances from Martino regulars Anita Strindberg and George Hilton. The two actors have amazing chemistry together. The stunning strindberg is perfect as the intelligent and confident reporter Cleo Dupont. Hilton is excellent playing charming insurance man Peter Lynch.

There’s a decent body count, a bit of the red stuff and some beautifully staged kills. My favourite was a woman whose throat is cut as she is approaching a sliding glass door. The blood sprays all over the door, she falls forward and her face meets glass. Martino shows this from the other side of the door so we can see her face squished against the bloody glass surface contorting as it slides slowly down. This is accompanied by the squeaking sound you hear when you wash your windows. Great stuff! Although ‘Case of the Scorpion’s Tail’ certainly wouldn’t qualify as gory, its scenes of violence are very effective.

‘Case Of The Scorpion’s Tail’ is an amazing film with all the classic Giallo elements served up with flare and style by one of my new favourite masters of the genre. I’m thinking the Sergio Martino Collection might be a DVD box set worth owning. The NO SHAME dvd I rented had a nifty short documentary on the making of the film featuring director Sergio Martino, screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi and actor George Hilton, not to mention a flawless transfer of the film. Pure 70’s Giallo gold! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Starring: George Hilton, Anita Strindberg, Alberto de Mendoza, Ida Galli, Janine Reynaud, Luigi Pistilli, Tom Felleghy, Luis Barboo


Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , on March 10, 2010 by goregirl

This is my first viewing of Sergio Martino’s ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. The only other title I seen from Martino was ‘Torso’. I definitely need to check out more of Martino’s films! I will watch and review at least one more before the month is over. In the meantime, let me tell you about this little nugget with the ridiculously long name.

Oliviero Rouvigny is an author suffering from serious writers block. He is an abusive alcoholic in a loveless marriage to wife Irina and regularly seeks affection from other women. He arranges a rendezvous with a young woman working in a local bookstore. He learns from a police detective the next morning that the woman had been slashed to death. Suspicions run rampant and bodies begin to pile up. Oliviero’s life becomes even more complicated when a niece invites her self to stay with the unhappy couple.

‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key’ is a twist on Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Black Cat’. The films strongest element is its incredible character development and performances by its three leads. ‘Your Vice’ is highly psychological and wallows in human cruelty. There is also a significant body count and a bit of the red stuff. The films weaker moments occur when it wanders off into territory that isn’t really relevant to the central plot. For instance, there is a lengthy motorcycle race scene that was really unnecessary. There is also a red herrings thrown in pertaining to the first two murders that I didn’t think worked all that well. It throws you off track, but it briefly messes with the films vibe. In the end however, these flaws felt pretty minor.

In the opening scene, Oliviero Rouvigny is hosting a party. He is going on yet another drunken rant about his dead mother. His wife Irina doesn’t feel like drinking, and in response Oliviero has the guests pour the remainder of their libations into a bowl, which he then forces her to drink. After Irina runs from the room he continues by making an unsavoury comment about their black maid. One of the guests starts singing and soon the room is singing along while a loan female dances naked on the dining table. The musical interlude scared the shit out of me; I thought I was about to watch the giallo version of ‘Hair’! Worry not; this is the films one and only musical interlude! The scene closes with Oliviero having sex with Irina on the floor while she wears his dead moms dress. So in the first brief scene we establish Oliviero has mom issues, he’s a bad host and an abusive drunk. But this is a Giallo, and all may not quite be as it appears. The relationship between Oliviero and Irina is impressively venomous and bitter. Their dialog and interactions are one of the films best features and they are a fascination to watch every minute they are on screen.

Anita Strindberg plays Irina nervous and twitchy and utterly distraught, while Luigi Pistilli plays the alcoholic and abusive husband somewhat reserved. The two play off each very well and carry the film beautifully. But as awesome as these two stand out performances are it is niece Floriana played by Edwige Fenech who steals the show. She invites herself to stay with the couple and seduces both Irina and Oliviero and plays them against each other. This sassy little minx owns the Floriana character and pulls off one of the most memorable performances I have ever seen in a giallo.

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I have The Key’. It is a well-paced, moody, psychological head trip with a great score from Bruno Nicolai. The dialog is smart, biting and occasionally humorous and the outstanding character development really elevates this one! Viva Giallo! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Starring: Edwige Fenech, Anita Strindberg, Luigi Pistilli, Ivan Rassimov, Franco Nebbia, Riccardo Salvino, Angela La Vorgna, Enrica Bonaccorti, Daniela Giordano, Ermelinda De Felice, Marco Mariani, Nerina Montagnani

Reazione a catena – TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , on September 17, 2009 by goregirl

twitch of the death nerve dvdI am crazy-nuts about Italian horror. I have not reviewed nearly enough Giallo for this blog! What is it I love about horror films from Italy? They do not generally feature large group’s of mind-numbingly stupid teenagers or 20-somethings. They have more violence and creative deaths. Story is relevant, and is often an intricate puzzle. Women can be killers too! You never know who will live, if anybody, and the “Final Girl” concept is pretty much thrown out the window. Basically, I love Italian horror for all the reasons it is different from its North American peers. I’m not saying all Italian horror films are good any more than I am saying all North American horror films are bad. That would just be stupid! Italian horror, simply put, was a breath of fresh air. Back in the days of VHS I would blindly buy any horror film I seen. This was not a good idea if you loved horror films from other countries. They were often marketed under more than one name. I had purchased this film under the title ‘Bay of Blood’ AND ‘Twitch of The Death Nerve’. Both copies were dubbed to boot! I really do hate dubbing! There was no internet to look up such things and when you’re buying copious horror films, it’s easy enough to duplicate. I sure do dig the strings of words that make up Italian film titles. Who needs one word film titles anyway? ‘Six women for the Murderer’, ‘What Have You Done To Solange?’, ‘A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin’,’Four Flies on Grey Velvet’, and one of my favorite titles ever; ‘Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key’. Was I doing a review here? It’s so easy for me to get lost in a sea of endless rambling when I get on the topic of Giallo! Sadly, Italian horror had its heyday in the 70’s and 80’s, but I guess that can be said of the horror genre across the board. They just don’t make them like they use to! I’m a junkie for the 70’s stuff and always wished I was a teenager during that decade. Time to get down to a little business now! Today I review a film by the great Mario Bava. One of my personal favorite Bava masterpieces and the granddaddy of them all! ‘Twitch of The Death Nerve’, ‘Bay of Blood’, ‘Antefatto’, ‘Carnage’ or ‘Reazione a catena’, whatever title it might be found under, it is pure horror perfection!

An elderly heiress is killed by her husband who wants control of her fortune. What ensues is an all-out murder spree as relatives and friends attempt to reduce the inheritance playing field, complicated by some teenagers who decide to camp out in a dilapidated building on the estate. (I usually compose my own plot summary, but Mr. Ed Sutton posted this on IMDB and it sums it up short and sweet.)

In the films opening scene we see a wealthy wheelchair bound woman getting killed by an assailant, who in turn is killed himself. This sets the pace for the films action. Bava certainly appeared to have a disdain for those with power and money. It all comes down to greed and the depths to which people will sink to elevate themselves in society. This is certainly not the only Bava work where this comes out crystal clear, but it is definitely the most violent. ‘Twitch’ features a most impressive body count in its 80-ish minute run time. If you are going to give this a sub-genre label you would have to put it in the slasher category. Bava has included elements of classic giallo throughout the film, like black gloved killers, unusual and eccentric characters and an intricate story with numerous plot twists. But the showcase of ‘Twitch’ is really each
elaborately staged death scene. It is true that characters are shot at us like bullets in this film and then are quickly snuffed out. We never
still from twitch of the death nerve
get to know any of the characters, but I always assumed that was Bava’s point. The storyline may seem a bit confusing at times, as there are numerous characters with their own unique agendas, but in the end it all comes down to one factor. when the film has come full circle and reveals itself, all that is left is a greedy pile of bodies. Any film maker is going to have a certain amount of personal views in their film and Bava likes to serve his with a little black humor and gore. The film keeps a steady pace and there is a death about every ten minutes from start to finish. Fantastic! Each one of these scenes is a unique feast for the eyes. A large, gothic mansion on a secluded serene bay is the perfect backdrop. Bava definitely has a unique style and balances out the beauty of the setting with extreme violence. Apparently the property they filmed on was thin on trees and Bava used camera angles and tricks like setting up branches to walk the camera through to make it appear more deeply wooded. The man definitely has an eye for detail. Compared to the special effects and CGI’d gore of modern films, I suppose that ‘Twitch’ may come off as looking rather dated to some viewers. Certainly, the film reflects the fashions and furnishings of the early 70’s, but the style and quality of effects is timeless. This film was way ahead of its time when it was released. Audiences had never really seen that kind of graphic violence. It is no wonder that copious films have borrowed and outright ripped off scenes from Mario Bava’s classic Giallo slasher. All horror fans should see this movie. You may not enjoy it as much as I do, but you will marvel at its obvious and massive influence on the horror genre, particularly the slasher films of the 1980’s. Viva La Bava! A Deeply underappreciated Italian horror film director Who should be worshipped like a god! Highest of recommendations!

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Camaso, Anna Maria Rosati, Chris Avram, Leopoldo Trieste, Laura Betti, Brigitte Skay and Isa Miranda