The Eurocult Film Thread

craner

Beast of Burden
20 Essential Italian Genre Films

(Films that burn off the screen.)

Profondo Rosso (Argento)
Black Sabbath (Bava)
The Great Silence (Corbucci)
Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone)
Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (Petri)
Cannibal Holocaust (Deodato)
Don't Torture a Duckling (Fulci)
Suspiria (Argento)
Blood and Black Lace (Bava)
Milan Calibre 9 (Di Leo)
Django (Corbucci)
The Mask of Satan (Bava)
Zombie Flesh Eaters (Fulci)
The Whip and the Body (Bava)
The House with Laughing Windows (Avati)
What Have You Done to Solange? (Dallamano)
Django Kill! (Questi)
The Strange Vice of Mrs Wardh (Martino)
Top Sensation (Alessi)
Kill, Baby, Kill! (Bava)

20 Underrated Italian Genre Films

(Films, often ignored or unseen, to track to the ends of the Earth.)

Beatrice Cenci (Fulci)
Confessions of a Police Captain (Damiano)
The Horrible Secret of Dr Hichcock (Freda)
Le Orme (Bazzoni)
Hitch Hike (Campanile)
Planet of the Vampires (Bava)
Four Flies on Grey Velvet (Argento)
Big Guns (Tessari)
Manhunt (Di Leo)
Perfume of the Lady in Black (Barilli)
Massacre Time (Fulci)
The Frightened Woman (Schivazappa)
The 10th Victim (Petri)
Nightmare Castle (Caiano)
The Last Man on Earth (Ragona/Salkow)
Rabid Dogs (Bava)
Lady of the Lake (Bazzoni)
Dellamorte Dellamore (Soavi)
Who Saw Her Die? (Lado)
Special Mission Lady Chaplin (De Martino)

Honorary Mentions

(Superb or wondorous specimens that just failed to make either cut.)

Lizard in a Woman's Skin, Fistful of Dollars, High Crime, Emanuelle Around the World, Inferno, Django the Bastard, And God Said to Cain, Street Law, Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Lisa and the Devil, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, The Fifth Cord, Companeros, The Black Belly of the Tarantula, Violent Rome, Tenebrae, Danger: Diabolik, Citta Violenta, The Mercenary, Bay of Blood, Tentacles, The Boss, Washing Machine, The Last Shark...

I was unable to complete a list of overrated films for this. The only person I know on this forum who could do that is Idlerich, because he prefers weird, pervy French films.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Should probably also mention A Black Veil for Lisa and Flavia the Heretic. Florinda Bolkan, with 5 films, is probably the most featured actor. Uh, no, hang on, Franco Nero has 9...
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Jean Rollin documentary.

Never really liked Rollin, got what he was doing (and was interested to learn he was a friend and contemporary of Bataille, which made a lot of sense) but, you know, boring. Too slow, mostly. The French are always slow.

Jess Franco was anything but slow, but you could easily tire of his slapdash sex surrealism quite quickly, though again I appreciate the arguments in its favour. When it worked it was brilliant, for example: Vampyros Lebsos, Eugenie de Sade, Eugenie...the Story of her Journey into Perversion, She Killed in Ecstasy, A Virgin Among the Living Dead, Succubus, Sadomania. But he made about 200 films, and most of them were appalling. Ambivalent about him, but he was basically a force for good in an evil industry. Rollin was just dull, no excuse.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I have to say that I find Rollin's oeuvre to be slightly pathetic, even contemptuous, as I do Bataille's fiction. Franco, even though he occupies similar aesthetic space, I could never say this about: more a sense of sadness, and admiration. He could've made amazing films, but rarely did; on the other hand his sheer productivity, single-minded application, versatility and longevity is impressive in itself; he also nurtured Soledad Miranda, who was a gift to the world.

Plus, Rollin was an intellectual and an artist realising his banal ideas and private fantasies in film; Franco was a film-maker, a cinema obsessive, a vouyer with misplaced intellectual pretensions, and therefore made better films than Rollin with whatever means and techniques and habits he had.
 
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craner

Beast of Burden
Episode 3 is about the real genre artists, the Italians, although the film does contain some odd detours probably determined by who the producers could interview and the footage they could access when made in 1999. Bava takes centre stage, quite correctly, but the other two giants, Argento and Fulci, are slightly shunted out by a couple of third-tier characters.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
A slightly plump but still red-haired Dagmar Lassander remained very sexy in 1999, which is more than can be said for Rosalba Neri, but Neri had nothing to prove or remain sexy for because she had been the most incredible woman on the planet in 1968. She could rest easy and enjoy the rest of her life, unlike Edwige Fenech who obviously felt the need to join a gym, eat lots of vegetables and worry about her image. She looks as good now as she did in '68, but why? She was a rival to Neri in those days. Just enjoy the rest of your life. Get flabby, smoke.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Did I mention we went to see The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Miss Osbourne at the BFI a month or three back? I guess maybe Borowczyk's last proper film before he slipped into total soft-porn nonsense. Allegedly (but not really) based on the original, racier version of the book which Stevenson was forced to burn after Borowczyk found a copy in the Bodleian Library.
Udo Kier stars as Dr Jekyll and they found a really weird looking guy to be Mr Hyde who emerges from a bath after Jekyll has added the magic formula and thrashed about in it for a while. Because it's Borowczyk Hyde roams through the house raping men and women to death with 30cm penis (a fact we are given when the doctor examines the body of his first victim, a young girl). Much weirdness ensues with every scene except the very first taking place in a claustrophobic house with weird lenses and filters distorting every shot. There is also the post-modern twist in which Jekyll's wife to be is actually Fanny Osbourne, Stevenson's real wife who was so outraged with the original story. Not so here, I don't want to give the ending away but I thought it was pretty interesting and not really what I was expecting. In fact, every bit isn't really like the original - Jekyll isn't a "good" man horrified by his transformations, he openly (as opposed to arguably subconsciously) seems to actually enjoy having the alter-ego he can use to do all the stuff he can't do himself.
And for some reason it's got Patrick Magee in it plus an incredible soundtrack by Parmegiani.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Fantastic Italian Films That Arrow or Camera Obscura or Shameless or Raro Should Be Restoring Right Now

(because nobody else has done it properly)

Special Mission Lady Chaplin
Iguana With the Tongue of Fire
The Marseilles Connection (aka High Crime)
Violent Naples
Rome Armed to the Teeth
The Cynic, the Rat and the Fist
Kill, Baby, Kill!
Planet of the Vampires
Blood and Black Lace
Five Dolls for an August Moon
Four Times That Night
The Whip and the Body
Massacre Time
Amuck
Ok Connery
The Horrible Secret of Dr Hichkcock
The Ghost
Big Guns
Confessions of a Police Captain
Illustrious Corpses
Tentacles
Django the Bastard
A Black Veil for Lisa
Lady of the Lake
A Gun for 100 Graves
And God Said to Cain
The Detective


I say, less gore, more style, please.

I have seen too many of these amazing films on crap bootlegs and old, bad transfers on video or DVD and YouTube to know something is wrong.
 
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craner

Beast of Burden
I have to say that after rewatching Leone's Dollars trilogy over the last few nights, I think I was being a bit unfair not including them in the 'Esssential' list. However much I love them, I can't seriously argue that Django or Django Kill (let alone Top Sensation!) are better than Fistful, Few Dollars or Good, Bad & Ugly. These three are, technically at least, incredible. Great Silence is another thing altogether, though. It certainly runs them.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
If I was to rerun that list I would dump Django Kill, Top Sensation and Mrs Wardh for the Dollars films, and yet, somehow, it would be a more boring list. Strange.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I know this is a thread where I largely talk to myself (or ignore Idlerich, usually because I have no idea what he is on about, but wish I did) and generally sound like a mad old man. But that's ok.

Am in the middle of watching Dallamano's Super Bitch. Has good mid-70s London scenes, and am mostly trying to work out who was in power at the time (Wilson or Heath?), maybe not a good sign. Has Stephanie Beacham in it, that is Sable Colby from Dynsasty (it was a UK-Italy production) which is quite enjoybale. A lot of sex and nasty shoot-outs so far, some nice Dallamono pictoral touches, all going fine. Not convinced it's a keeper, though. An early poliziotteschi, done up by Arrow, but I could name at least six or seven of the genre worth more time restoring than this, even though I haven't even finished watching it yet.
 

IdleRich

IdleRich
Yeah, agreed. I am still reading this even if I have little to say because I haven't had much time for watching any films and those I have watched haven't tended to be of the eurocult type lately I'm afraid.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I just watched the new Raro clean-up of di Leo's Shoot First, Die Later. This was his first and immediate blast after the noir trilogy, and has had a mixed response. Well, let me tell you, I have watched some quite dreadful di Leo films (Rulers of the City, To Be Twenty (yes), Killers vs. Killers (but I love this, regardless)), and a handful of classics. This was great. It was gritty, it was in Milan, it was politically cynical and physically harsh, it had the near lustre of Milan Calibre 9 and Manhunt, it had the unhinged car chases under bleak grey Northern Italian skies and along dusty concrete back streets, the Bacalov score, the kick-in-the-gut emotional murders...everything he does well.

I am now watching the opening of Castellari's The Heroin Busters. I am not sure why it has taken me so long to get around to this one, but it has. First 20 minutes are amazing: the Goblin score (which I have been listening to for ten years, so it's a kick to hear it in context), the ultra-vivid colours and visual propulsion, the combination of a stripped-off, pumped-up Fabio Testi and a chubby, angry David Hemmings (for once it's better to see this dubbed)...all going well so far. I will report back. The Green Inferno awaits.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I am going to watch Rome, Open City tonight. I know fuck-all about serious, respected Italian cinema. It gets a bit embarrassing when you tell people that you like Italian films, and they go, "Fellini, eh? Visconti, is it?" and what you actually mean is that you just spent thirty quid on special editions of Cannibal Holocaust and The House on the Edge of the Park.

So Rossellini it is.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
Well, it was magnificent of course, but not too far divorced from the more reprehensible Italian films I adore, despite being the first neo-realist classic. The odd combination of ambigious and obviously partisan politics, stirring melodrama and stark realism, perverse sexuality and brutal (even lingering) violence and gore, couture style and gauche populism...we could almost direct a straight line from Rossellini in '46 to Deodato in '80 if we were feeling creative. (Or if I was, which I am.)
 

craner

Beast of Burden
And to be fair, it does take some effort to draw out the subtle layers of Cannibal Holocaust and Killer Nun, although it can be done. I have done it, but it left me hungover.
 
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