Italian Cinema

“Evelyn! No, please!” – Killer Dames Double Bill Arrow boxset (1971/1972)

Emilio Miraglia is an Italian director who was most active in the 1970’s. He directed around six features (though he could have worked uncredited in more) and then vanished from the scene (literally). While he directed different genres, he’s most famous for two features: The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (La notte che Evelyn uscì dalla tomba) and The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (La dama rossa uccide sette volte). Trailers (NSFW!) and more after the break.

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“A few more seconds and you’d have been a roast duck.” – Deep Red (1975)

I love watching Italian Giallo films and after a few false starts, I got stuck into a proper Giallo film by a man who pretty much invented or helped to invent the genre as we know it today. Deep Red is a classic murder mystery with lashings of blood, violence and non-sequitur characters that lead you down one path and back up others told by a filmmaker who, at least in this project, knows exactly what he’s doing.

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Nightmare City (1980) – Insert obligatory brainnnnssss line here (sorry, Umberto)

As I trawl through the Italian films of the 80’s, I’m reminded that when I was talking at one point to Oli (late of the Welcome to the Brain Palace podcast) about Italian giallo and zombie horror flicks, he kept saying two names: Mario Bava and Umberto Lenzi. I’ve not seen Bava’s works yet but I just watched my first Lenzi film. A total mess of a film, it’s so bad it’s good and more than makes up for its problems by not caring about them. Nightmare City, a film about zombies that drink blood but shush, Lenzi doesn’t like you calling them zombies, dammit!

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Contamination (1980) - Capricorn Theater Reviews

“Hamilton’s eyes were….were…HAMILTON!!!!” – Contamination (1980)

My first experience with Italian horror and science fiction has two rocky but excellent starts. The horror came in the form of Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and House By The Cemetery (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me). Watching them on the brand new DVD format (Wave of the future!), I loved Beyond and couldn’t finish House as I was too scared of it (Thanks so much Mick, for recommending and loaning them to me!). Watching them, I could understand their appeal: they were quickly edited, well paced and had decent actors in them who just tackled the work and nothing more.
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