Archive for what have you done to solange

VIVA GIALLO: 10 Favourites for an October Moon

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by goregirl

I did a guest post over at Anti-Film School of my Top Five Scariest Italian Horror Films. I yakked about how much I love Giallo and realized I had never really done a top 10 list of my favourites. I am going to use the same criteria as I did for my Anti-Film School list with one title per director so I can insure ten different directors are represented. Viva Giallo!

Deep Red (1975)

Directed By: Dario Argento

He is the maestro of murder, the master of deception, the connoisseur of color-distorters, the sweet whisperer of shadows, the conductor of the constantly moving camera, he is Dario Argento! My first foray into the world of Giallo started right here and I’ve never looked back. Hold on! I look back all the time! I’ve seen Deep Red more times than I can count on my fingers and toes! David Hemmings plays a pianist who lives below the films first victim and witnesses her death. Hemmings is perfectly cast as the pianist. He is not a detective, he’s a musician, and he charmingly trips, falls and bumbles his way through to the films conclusion. Daria Nicoldi does a solid job as an aggressive liberated journalist/reporter who works with Hemmings to solve the mystery. Death doesn’t get more stylish than this!

DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972)

Directed By: Lucio Fulci

The Godfather of Gore, the narrator of nightmares, the harbinger of horrors, the messenger of the macabre, the shepherd of the supernatural, and the luminary of the lens he is Lucio Fulci! When some local boys go missing and turn up dead in a small superstitious town practically everyone is a suspect. It twists, it turns, and it even shocks! The visuals are quite extraordinary and the performances are great particularly by the talented Florinda Bolkan who plays La Magiara a black magic practicing gypsy. There is an amazing mob scene that leaves me in awe every time I see it. Don’t Torture a Duckling is absolutely one of Fulci’s best and one of the best Giallo ever made!

THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH (1971)

Directed By: Sergio Martino

The ringmaster of red herrings, the taskmaster of twists, the squire of sexy, the baron of beauty, the superstar of scenery and set pieces, the captain of casting he is Sergio Martino. What is Mrs. Wardh’s strange vice? Mrs. Wardh likes men, and she also likes it a little rough and gets herself into a whole mess of trouble. It features the stunning Edwige Fenech, one of my favourite ladies of Giallo. The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh is sexy, beautiful, mysterious, thrilling, and violent! The finale is a trinity of twists that is oh, so satisfying! Exquisite!

TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (1971)

Directed By: Mario Bava

Who knows, there might not have ever been a director Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci or Sergio Martino if there had never been a Mario Bava. Mario Bava along with Riccardo Freda and Antonio Margheriti were the igniter’s of the horror inferno that would spread throughout Italy. Bava’s The Girl Who Knew Too Much and Blood and Black Lace are widely acknowledged as forerunners to the Giallo surge of the early 70s. And than there is the crazy convoluted gem; Twitch of the Death Nerve. What a great freaking title! And if I haven’t credited Bava with enough, this film is considered by many to be the first slasher film. It has a massive body count and each death is unique and nasty fun! Twitch of the Death Nerve is an absolutely fantastic looking film with a death around every 10 minutes and more red herrings than you can shake a stick at it! A gothic mansion, a serene bay, and a pile of greedy dead bodies; it is all part of a complete breakfast. Bava-licious!

SHORT NIGHT OF GLASS DOLLS (1971)

Directed By: Aldo Lado

I recently reviewed Aldo Lado’s excellent Night Train Murders, which is more straight up horror than my choice for this list. Short Night of Glass Dolls central character Gregory Moore’s seemingly lifeless body has been found. While his body appears lifeless his mind is working furiously to retrace his steps. We learn along with the character how he came to find himself in this predicament. This bloodless but engrossing tale has great suspense, an intriguing mystery and one hell of an ending! It also has a damn impressive cast featuring Jean Sorel, Ingrid Thulin and gorgeous Barbara Bach. Fantastic stuff!

RED QUEEN KILLS 7 TIMES (1972)

Directed By: Emilio Miraglia

Emilio Miraglia only directed six films and only two of those are horror-oriented Giallo. The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave is pretty fun but Red Queen Kills 7 Times is the masterpiece of the duo. An old supernatural family curse about a red queen motivates the action which is plentiful and fantastic! Jam-packed with steamy Giallo sexpots who look frightfully similar to one another! Red Queen Kills 7 Times is sexy, suspenseful, frantic, the kills are a creative delight and the red queen is a simply fantastic character! Red Queen Kills 7 Times is just a shitload of fun!

SEVEN BLOOD-STAINED ORCHIDS (1972)

Directed By: Umberto Lenzi

Seven Blood-Stained Orchids is bar none my favourite Umberto Lenzi film. A string of suspicious characters, inept cops and a glove wearing maniac coined “the half-moon killer” on account of the souvenir he leaves at the scene of the crime. Great looking cinematography and some imaginative murder scenes; including one of my all time faves that sees an artist killed and their blood mixing with paint. Violence, gore, nudity, above average performances and a bizarre and brilliant soundtrack. Some killer imagery and thrills that are not to be missed.

THE KILLER MUST KILL AGAIN (1975)

Directed By: Luigi Cozzi

To be honest, the only two films I’ve seen from Luigi Cozzi are the sketchy Starcrash and Contamination (which does have its moments). No matter, as he concocted a damn fine Giallo with The Killer Must Kill Again. It’s the story of an adulterer dirtbag who hires a killer to knock off his wife and a young couple that inadvertedly complicate the deal. This is a unique entry in the world of Giallo as we know who has committed the crime from the get go. Great suspense, wicked twists, creative visuals and Antoine St. John is just fantastic as the sinister killer. This guy has a face you don’t soon forget! St. John gets some solid support from Cristina Galbo, Femi Benussi, Eduardo Fajardo and George Hilton. An extremely satisfying Giallo!

WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972)

Directed By: Massimo Dallamano

Massimo Dallamano only directed 12 films but he certainly has an interesting resume! The voyeuristic Venus in Furs, his sex-infused interpretation of Dorian Gray and his other brilliant Giallo What Have They Done to Your Daughters? But I am all about the What Have You Done To Solange? Twists and turns, shocking revelations, an outstanding finale and of course a bevy of beautiful ladies! The cinematographer is Joe D’amato who directed Antropophagus. D’amato’s work in this film is quite impressive. The great Ennio Morricone does the score and adds a perfect moody tension. An intriguing, sexy, enthralling mystery.

THE CASE OF THE BLOODY IRIS (1972)

Directed By: Giuliano Carnimeo

I’m not very familiar with Guiliano Carnimeo’s work. He has directed a lot of Westerns; a genre in which I still have much to discover. I have seen only Fistful of Lead with George Hilton, which I enjoyed. The Case of the Bloody Iris illustrates why you shouldn’t move into an apartment where someone was murdered. Why don’t they ever learn? Another one starring the lovely and charismatic Edwige Fenech. A multitude of red herring and one of the wackiest bunch of oddball characters I’ve ever seen in a Giallo. Finding out how this bunch of bananas fit into the puzzle is a ton of fun. The Case of the Bloody Iris is a stylish, quirky, suspenseful Giallo!

13 Goregirl-friendly School-themed Horror Films

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2012 by goregirl

It is back to school time! Back to pencils, back to books, back to teacher’s dirty looks! In honour of higher learning here are 13 school-themed horror films that’ll teach ya a lesson but good…

LA RESIDENCIA (1969)

Directed By: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador

La Residencia takes place in a French boarding school for troubled girls. Naughtiness is definitely of the PG variety but its beautiful Hammer-inspired sets and costumes and its wacky Gialloesque plot stole my heart. Despite the PG-ness La Residencia does have a few meaty scenes to admire. I absolutely loved La Residencia’s wackadoodle reveal! It has a great cast of horror regulars including Cristina Galbó, Maribel Martín, Mary Maude and especially Lilli Palmer who plays Headmistress Fourneau with such graceful severity.

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HOUSE ON SORORITY ROW (1983)

Directed By: Mark Rosman

The House on Sorority Row takes place in…you guessed it…a sorority house. Seven sorority sisters pull a prank on their house mother that goes terribly wrong. It isn’t long before the septet of sisters begins getting picked off one by one. A relatively typical slasher but I found the plot meatier, the filming more stylish, and the acting better than many of its peers. It does have some minor pacing issues and isn’t as graphic as others but worry not, there are a few gory surprises to discover and it has a great finale.

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STACY: ATTACK OF THE SCHOOLGIRL ZOMBIES (2001)

Directed By: Naoyuki Tomomatsu

Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies takes place everywhere. The school tie-in being simply the film is called Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies and there are copious Japanese schoolgirls aged 15 – 17 dressed in schoolgirl uniforms. Girls are experiencing a euphoric happiness before dying and becoming zombies. Experts call it “Near Death Happiness”. There is only one way to eliminate the deathly-adorable menace and that is a “repeat kill” which involves chopping her up into 160ish odd pieces! It is also a love story. A gory horror-comedy of the first order, but it also has a message. Seriously.

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NIGHT OF THE CREEPS (1986)

Directed By: Fred Dekker

Night of the Creeps takes place in and around the campus of Corman University. A horror comedy that smooshes together the alien, slasher and zombie genres into one big delicious ball of entertaining! Alien slugs jumping from zombie heads…how can you not love that? The opening flashback scene is a brilliant beginning and there is plenty of action and laughs right up to the finale. The two leads played by Jason Lively and Steve Marshall are likable enough but the highlight here is the great Tom Atkins who gives a top notch performance as Detective Ray Cameron. Pledge week is a real bitch in this seriously fun campy classic from the 80s!

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TORSO (1973)

Directed By: Sergio Martino

Torso takes place on a college campus where two women and a man have been murdered; strangled to death by a black and red scarf. A female student recognizes the scarf and along with a group of friends becomes the target of the killer. Officially, a chunky section of the film takes place off campus in the beautiful Italian countryside. Visually Torso is a lovely polished film and is directed by one of my very favourite Giallo masters Sergio Martino. Torso has nudity, gore, a great soundtrack, a balaclava-wearing killer and an exciting and suspenseful finale.

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BLACK CHRISTMAS (1974)

Directed By: Bob Clark

Black Christmas takes place in a sorority house during Christmas vacation. The sorority sisters are disturbed by a series of creepy threatening phone calls which inevitably result in their deaths. Black Christmas is a well made suspenseful slasher that has some great moments of intensity and a bit of humour and commentary thrown in for good measure. I was especially impressed by the point of view shots of the killer from various cramped spaces. The performances are decent from a solid cast including Margot Kidder, Olivia Hussey, John Saxon and Art Hindle. It wins extra points for being filmed in Canada!

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972)

Directed By: Massimo Dallamano

What Have You Done to Solange? takes place at St. Mary’s Catholic College for Girls. Gymnastics teacher Enrico Rosseni is having an affair with one of his students. The two are frolicking in a nearby park when they learn a student of the college has been murdered nearby. Soon other girls in the school are turning up dead and the frisky teacher is looking like a suspect. An intriguing puzzle and a well laid out plot that makes for a plausible and extremely satisfying reveal. What Have You Done to Solange? is visually pleasing and packed full of lost innocence and sexuality; it also has a fantastic soundtrack!

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SUICIDE CLUB (2001)

Directed By: Shion Sono

Suicide Club takes place in numerous locations that do include a high school. This is really a borderline choice for this list but I’m quite fond of this movie and it does begin with 54 Japanese schoolgirls joining hands and throwing themselves in front of a train! Suicide Club is full of commentary on popular culture, youth, family, love and suicide amoung other themes. Although the music makes me a bit nuts it is very clever how key plot elements are sung rather than spoken. It also has some great gore and some wonderfully strange and surreal moments.

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THE LOVES ONES (2009)

Directed By: Sean Byrne

The Loved Ones takes place at both the local high school and the home of Lola Stone. Lola is broken-hearted after Brent declines her invitation to the prom. Lola’s daddy makes everything right again by kidnapping Brent and bringing him back to their home for a prom night he will never forget. Lola is one of the most wonderfully eccentric and utterly mad female characters I’ve seen in a horror movie for a while. Brent is a very empathetic character and I rooted for his survival. I even enjoyed the gore-less subplot involving Brent’s best friend and his goth date. An all around entertaining flick that is well-executed, funny, gory and intense.

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PIECES (1982)

Directed By: Juan Piquer Simón

Pieces takes place on a college campus somewhere in Boston where women are being gruesomely murdered. Pieces is gory fun from its insane flashback opening scene right through to its nutty finale. It has a ton of unintentional laughs, a crazy plot and some spotty acting and it is absolutely one of my favourite 80s slashers! Just look at the gooey mess in the picture I included. It also has one of my very favourite bits of bad acting of all time which I also included for your enjoyment. Who is this lousy bastard and why does he keep a piece of each woman?!!

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CLASS OF NUKE ‘EM HIGH (1986)

Directed By: Richard W. Haines & Lloyd Kaufman

Class of Nuke ‘Em High takes place at Tromaville High School, which is conveniently located next to a nuclear power plant. Needless to say nuclear nuttiness ensues! Classic Troma full of odd-ball characters, bodily fluids, off color humor and gratuitous gore. There is nigh a serious moment in Class of Nuke ‘Em High along with a ton of over-the-top shenanigans, bizarre twists, plenty o’action and one of the looniest endings ever. No one makes a film quite like Troma makes a film. If you are unfamiliar with Troma I recommend checking out their Wikipedia page here.

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SUSPIRIA (1977)

Directed By: Dario Argento

Suspira takes place in a prestigious dance academy in Freiburg Germany. The plot revolves around Suzy a new student at the academy. After a fainting spell Suzy, who had planned to live off campus with another student is involuntarily moved into a dormitory room. Peculiar incidents occur including murder most fowl and Suzy learns the school is run by a coven of witches. Suspiria without a doubt is one of the most beautifully and inventively filmed horror entries of all time. Not to mention its impressively staged death scenes, its excellent cast or its epic soundtrack. Suspiria is a bonafide masterpiece of the macabre.

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CARRIE (1976)

Directed By: Brian De Palma

Carrie takes place at Bates High School a week before prom. Carrie’s life is a living hell; she is abused at home by a fanatically religious mother and terrorized at school. Several students are caught mocking and taunting Carrie in the shower and are given a week’s long detention. One of the girls takes pity on Carrie and asks her boyfriend to take Carrie to the prom. Meanwhile a cruel prank is being planned for Carrie’s special night. Carrie’s iconic prom massacre is simply the result of one young woman’s nightmarish existence. Well…that and some serious telekinetic powers! The films best asset is Sissy Spacek’s stellar performance in the titular role. And Piper Laurie kicks some serious bad ass as Carrie’s hideous mother. A great looking film with perfect atmosphere and beautifully executed scenes of intensity not to mention a top notch soundtrack.

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WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, Italy, movies with tags , , , , on March 29, 2009 by goregirl

what-have-you-done-to-solangeA married teacher is having an affair with one of his students. While the two are getting frisky in the park, the student thinks she spies a possible murder. It is confirmed when a dead student turns up shortly after. When a string of other deaths with the same M.O. occur the police suspect the amourous teacher. In an attempt to clear his name, he does a little investigating of his own and learns of a woman named Solange whose shocking secret may be linked to the murders. The storyline sounds typical but they put in plenty of twists and turns to make it interesting. There are some genuinely suprising moments throughtout and an absolutely wicked ending. The film quality is excellent. The cinematographer is Joe D’amato who directed the infamously brutal “Antropophagus” as well as alot of really crappy horror porn. D’amato’s work in this film is quite impressive. The great Italian composer, Ennio Morricone does the score for this film and adds a perfect moody tension. Generally speaking the cast perform well but there are a few incidents of “over-acting” which comes off just a bit cheesy. A very solid giallo.

In case you aren’t familiar with the term “giallo” it is the Word for yellow in Italian. The yellow they are referring to is the color of the covers of pulp fiction novels. It has become an umbrella term for Italian horror and thrillers. Giallo as a genre seen huge international success mainly in the 1970’s. Generally when you see references to the greatest Giallo’s they are films from this decade and occasionally the early 1980’s. Solange is an excellent representation of the
genre and should not be missed. Highly recommended!

Dungeon Review: 4/5

Directed By: Massimo Dallamano

Starring: Fabio Testi, Cristina Galbó, Karin Baal, Joachim Fuchsberger, Günther Stoll, Claudia Butenuth, Camille Keaton, Maria Monti, Giancarlo Badessi and Pilar Castel
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