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Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Interview with Domiziano Cristopharo

Domiziano Cristopharo has been wowing audiences in his native Italy for years. So it’s a true pleasure that he is now taking the US by storm. Thanks to the 2018 release of the Director’s Cut Blu-ray of his 2012 film Red Krokodil, Domiziano reached a whole new audience. Red Krokodil chronicles the downward spiral of drug addiction and proves that Domiziano is no stranger to body horror.

Domiziano Cristopharo

His penchant for the grotesque is showcased in his work, and he doesn’t hold back, which is a real treat for those of us that prefer the more extreme end of the horror genre. As a fan who prefers foreign horror, I was honored to speak with Domiziano recently, and to find out what it is that fuels the man behind the lens, and to get a sneak peek at what he has in store for us.

Domiziano Cristopharo

House of Tortured Souls: I read that you’re often compared to Dario Argento and that you’re the first Italian director to revive the erotic/horror genre. How does it feel to be described that way?
Domiziano Cristopharo: Actually, I was recently even described – by a very kind critic – also like a “mix between the Fulci’s trilogy of hell and contemporary American horror” (and this is a comparison that really makes me feel proud to exist)… but I don’t know, I don’t see resemblances in my works, and I would love to be closer/similar just for a 10% to a master like Fulci or Bava.
HoTS: You made your first film, House of Flesh Mannequins, in 2009. What did you do before you got into film, and what inspired you to do it?
DC: I work in tv, stage and film industry by age of 14. My principal job till 20 was acting then I started professionally to realize fx make up, and write screenplays. My intention was to sell the script but was rejected for years in Italy ’cause the contents. So I tried to send it in USA and I was lucky: empire films produced it and gave me the direction of the movie too.
HoTS: Do you feel there is a difference between Italian horror filmmaking and American horror filmmaking?
DC: More than a difference, I see an abyss. I started in 2008 and I did more than 25 films ’till now (including collective projects and productions). In 2011 after my third film I quit work with Italy and Italians. This helped me to become more productive and find a really active market and a field where I get the chance to grow up as a person and as an artist. In Italy I had just two small distributions in those years, DVD of my films are still available only by import. No support at all and useless to mention the hate and rage that fill this field… Favorite sport of other directors and horror fan here is to create a shitstorm round people who have even a small success. Bad, bad, bad.

Domiziano Cristopharo

HoTS: A lot of your work can be described as extreme horror. What is it that attracts you to that part of the genre?
DC: I always loved to explore excesses, I think is useless to offer to an audience – especially as indie – something that already exists. But my concept of extreme is not related in blood, I don’t even use much of it in my films. Extreme is a feeling, is to dare, to show something forbidden, something not socially accepted, not only murders but evil thoughts, nasty actions, uncomfortable secrets. This is also what makes my lead roles so intense and in same time scares actors so much that I hardly find people to hire.
HoTS: You recently helped produced Sacrifice, one of the latest installments to the American Guinea Pig series. What are your thoughts on the rumors that viewers walked out of early screenings of the film due to content?
DC: Aren’t rumors at all. In France, during the “Sadique-master” (a festival dedicated to extreme movies) three people fainted and one puked. In Italy during the “optical theater festival”, a girl fainted and we needed more than 1 hour for reanimate her… Was scary. I’m very proud of SACRIFICE, is the first part of an extreme trilogy (second part is TORMENT by Adam Ford and XPIATION, just concluded, by me) may be the first extreme Italian series by decades. Biro caught the potential of those films and he wanted it so badly in the AGP saga.
HoTS: Poison Rouge was an actress in your first film, and she also directed Sacrifice. What made you want to collaborate with her again?
DC: She acted with me on stage first, we had a sideshow called BLOODY CABARET; then she played in many films: from the debut in FLESH MANNEQUINS to HYDE’S SECRET NIGHTMARE and PHANTASMAGORIA. She also always helped me on set as assistant director.
SACRIFICE was in my thoughts written for a female role, but I had troubles with the actress…
So I asked Poison to replace her, and then finally I gave to her the direction of the movie.
HoTS: What’s your favorite scary movie?
DC: Dunno, I have many… I love classics… and for sure Carpenter, Fulci, Bava, Cronenberg… But also Polanski, Jodorowski, Lynch



Posted by Alan Smithee in EXCLUSIVE, INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: How It Ends (2018)

MOVIE REVIEW: How It Ends (2018)

I have this nightmare about being separated from my loved ones who live thousands of miles away, by a sudden, catastrophic event. I’m pretty certain that my lack of survival skills and penchant for staying indoors at all time will do me in, and I would not survive the drive across country to save them from the perils of whatever is happening.

This brings us to How It Ends, a new Netflix Original written by Brooks McLaren and directed by David M. Rosenthal. It starts out innocent enough, introducing us to a young couple, Will Younger, played by Theo James of Divergent fame, and Samantha Sutherland, portrayed by The Vampire Diaries’ Kat Graham. In flashbacks, we know they are eagerly awaiting the birth of their first baby, but the big event at hand at this time, is Will’s dinner with Samantha’s parents in Chicago, by himself, while Samantha stays home in Seattle. “Just don’t bring up, the boat,” warns Samantha as Will prepares to leave on his trip.

How It Ends / IMDB

Dinner goes off how one would imagine, and we soon see Will in a video chat with Samantha. Suddenly there’s static, and the call is lost. This catapults both Will, and Samantha’s dad, Tom Sutherland (Forest Whitaker as amazing as always), into Tom’s silver Cadillac, and they set off in a race against time to Seattle to rescue Samantha from whatever is happening.

How It Ends / IMDB

And that’s all we learn. It’s ‘whatever is happening’. While the film isn’t without a few scares and some drama, there is little to no development of any kind outside of the characters. And that’s not even a lot of development either. We are introduced to a young, Native American woman, Ricki (Grace Dove from The Revenant) who fixes their car after an altercation with two deer and a questionable cop, and agrees to accompany the two men on their trip for $2,000 in exchange for car maintenance. But after a pretty dramatic incident involving stolen gas cans and a fire, Ricki takes off and is never referenced again. It’s the undeveloped moments like this that hold How It Ends back.

How It Ends / IMDB

There are some cool car maneuvers and some fun shooting with fantastic cinematography. However, none of that can save How It Ends from imploding on itself. It’s a fast watch that doesn’t feel the almost two hours it runs, but I would have gladly watched a longer film if it promised to not leave me thinking, ‘WTF?’

Posted by Alan Smithee in FAMILY HORROR, MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments