[Review] House of Blue Shadows FINALLY being released by TetroVideo

[Review] House of Blue Shadows FINALLY being released by TetroVideo

When you hear the word “Giallo,” you think of Dario Argento, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Umberto Lenzi, Sergio Martino. We know these directors and can assume that with them, we’re going to see what we’re used to seeing. Which is a normal response? The elements for a Giallo movie are there; however, how it’s presented can be done in various ways. Which is the movie I got to watch House of Blue Shadows, aka La casa del Buon ritorno starring Stefano Gabrini, Amanda Sandrelli, Fiammetta Carena

A young man, who unintentionally killed a little girl as a child, returns to the house where he was born, the place where the accident happened.

When watching the movie, I had to admit I was expecting a typical slasher movie. I was wrong, but in reality, I wasn’t disappointed. The film plays out like a telenovela not in a cheesy way where it’s over the top but an actual gripping story of madness, love, along with the guilt of an accidental death. We do see a masked stalker throughout the film, but it’s very much later in the movie, along with a few deaths For the most part the main character gives us a disturbing display of physical attraction to mannequin. Nothing gory, but the story makes up, so the ends still hold an impact on us, including the reveal of the killer. The film does have an excellent soundtrack that works with the scenes, especially with most of the scenes taking place during the day or some scenes indoors. The ending does satisfy the viewer, knowing there is closure for what we watched from the beginning to the end. The movie comes full circle.  Which again, don’t expect scenes of gore or torture. There are some decent scenes of choking and some stabbing. However though you have to remember the director didn’t go out to make a slasher movie, he went out to tell a story that captures the audience’s captivation.

I may not have seen every Giallo film, and there are even some horror films that I haven’t had the chance to watch. I’m grateful that Tetro Video is releasing a film that hasn’t been released in the US EVER. The film has won Best First work at the Fantafestival which truly deserves the award. When it comes to horror, it’s great to know that there are different takes on the genre that showcase the various aspects of what honestly scares us. For Beppe Cino, he went on to write and direct a movie where even the place we called home where we can be safe can be hell for us. You can’t outrun your past, and when it comes back to you, the debt you owe will be paid in full. 

Dario and Asia Argento Together Again With ‘Black Glasses’.

Dario and Asia Argento Together Again With ‘Black Glasses’.


In an interview with the Criminology Festival website, Argento confirmed the following details on his new giallo horror film Occhiali Neri – Black Glasses:
“Yes, I will shoot it in the spring. There are many outdoor scenes, surrounded by nature, in winter it is too cold to shoot,” Argento told the site. “As announced there will also be Asia. I remember her 8 years debut for Sergio Citti, then the whole journey that brought her to America. I wrote for her “Trauma”, she acted with me at 13 years old. A collaboration lasting five films. Our paths have crossed many times.”

Argento tells Spettacolo in a new interview that the relationship with his daughter on the set hasn’t changed:
“Nothing has changed: she’s always my daughter anyway, Asia remains Asia in any case. After all, she started acting with me and today she is happy to be able to work with me again, she is really happy. I am also very happy to work with her, also because there is a very strong understanding between us: she always manages to understand perfectly what I need, to understand me. This is why I can say that absolutely nothing has changed from this point of view.”

Their last flick together was DRACULA 3D. Rated R for crude and sexual content, language throughout, some drug use and brief graphic nudity, the film marked the return of Argento with a bloody, luridly creepy 3D version of the classic vampire tale, drenched in gore and sex.

Argento is also preparing ‘Loginus’, a horror series that will include mysterious murders, esoteric elements and ancient puzzles. The title refers to the Roman soldier that pierced the side of Jesus with a spear when he was crucified to make sure he had died. The series will be set between the French Alps and Palio de Siena.

Arrow In The Head

Posted by justin orman thompson in Categories, HORROR NEWS, 0 comments
FIRST LOOK – Upcoming Release for Domiziano Christopharo’s Red Krokodil (2012)

FIRST LOOK – Upcoming Release for Domiziano Christopharo’s Red Krokodil (2012)

Set for January 23, 2018, Unearthed Films’ CEO Stephen Biro contacted House of Tortured Souls with a digital press kit for the DVD/Blu-ray release of Red Krokodil.

According to the press release, here’s what we can expect:

Red Krokodil is the story of one man (played by Brock Madson), addicted to the mind-numbing drug Krokodil. He finds himself alone in a post-nuclear city similar to Chernobyl. His physical decay, caused by the massive intake of drugs, is mirrored by his inner world, as reality mixes with hallucinations.
The decomposition of the flesh caused by Krokodil is severe in its graphic, yet slow destruction, madness, and desperation are rampant as one man’s addiction to the drug runs out of control.
Director, Domiziano Christopharo depicts a psychological condition that brings a total detachment from oneself and from the surrounding world, Red Krokodil is a dark trip, with no way out.

Domiziano Christopharo is an Italian independent film director known for having worked with various notable filmmakers in the past, including Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust), Frank Laloggia (Lady In White), and Carlo De Mejo (City of Living Dead).

Christopharo is also known for his ongoing work to try and revive the erotic horror genre, familiar to many fans of the Giallo movement as well as fans of filmmakers such as Fellini and Argento – often having reviewers drawing comparisons with the two filmmakers and his own work.

Christopharo’s body of work includes House of Flesh Mannequins (2008), The Museum of Wonders (2009), Hyde’s Secret Nightmare (2010), Shock – My Abstraction of Death (2011), HP Lovecraft: Two Left Arms (2012), Doll Syndrome (2014), and much more.

Many have characterized Christopharo’s work as being pornographic in nature, but he prefers to respond with a quote from Picasso:

Art is never chaste and we should keep her away from pure ignorants. If it were chaste, it wouldn’t be art at all.

So far reviews have been favorable for the film’s release with Steven Paul from Beneath The Undergound calling it a film in which “you will know that you have truly experienced something special”, Barbara Tourette from Dark Veins saying “Brock Madson’s performance is a mirror of the psychic and physical consequences caused by Krokodil”, and Seth Poulin from Celluloid Terror defining it as having a “powerful message…that is open to personal interpretation and what you take the film for is exactly what it is”.

To nab your copy, visit the Unearthed Films Official Web Site.

Red Krokodil (2012)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: What Have You Done to Solange? (1972)


By Nick Durham

Italian horror and giallos...these are two of my favorite things ever. So why the fuck did it take me this long to discover and watch this? What Have You Done to Solange? is a 1972 giallo that features all the hallmarks of the genre, yet somehow manages to have a bit of class about it (well, a small bit) that a majority of these films certainly do not. Sleaze and giallos go hand in hand, yet this film is something else entirely, and now thanks to Arrow Films, a whole new generation of viewers can discover it.

What Have You Done to Solange? revolves around an Italian teacher named Enrico (Fabio Testi) whom is trying to get in the pants of one of his students. After a nasty murder occurs literally a few yards away from them, things begin to unravel for everyone involved. Enrico becomes a suspect, his affair gets exposed to his wife (Karin Baal), and the bodies just keep piling up with no end in sight. What's their connection? And just who the hell is Solange (Camille Keaton from the original I Spit on Your Grave in her debut role) and what does she have to do with everything?

Like I said earlier, What Have You Done to Solange? features a lot of the hallmarks of the giallo genre: eroticism, rampant nudity, vile murders, a confused detective, and a black-gloved killer. One thing that is notable about the film though is its craftsmanship. The camerawork and cinematography are wonderful to say the least. This shouldn't be surprising, considering it is directed by Massimo Dallamano, who served as the cinematographer for some classic Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Speaking of spaghetti westerns, legendary composer Ennio Morricone provides the lush score here as well. Nearly everything about this film is wonderful. If there's any flaws, it's that its conclusion is a little too anticlimactic.

This Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is a wonderful sight to behold. We get a new 2K restoration of the film, as well as a commentary track from critics Alan Jones and Kim Newman. There's interviews with Testi and Baal, as well as a visual essay that explores the themes of the film as well the sort of official, sort of unofficial sequels that would follow in its wake.

All in all, What Have You Done to Solange? is a masterwork of the giallo genre to say it lightly. This film is one of the landmarks of the genre, at least to me, and it deserves your time and attention. If you've never seen it and you dig giallos in the least, do yourself a favor and pick up this Blu-ray from Arrow Films. You'll be damn glad that you did.

Rating: 4.5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dressed to Kill (1980)

BLU-RAY REVIEW: Dressed to Kill (1980)

By Nick Durham 


After a seemingly super long wait (and a recall, more on that later), we finally get Criterion's release of Brian De Palma's Hitchcock wanna-be giallo thriller, Dressed to Kill. Somewhat critically reviled upon its original 1980 release, Dressed to Kill features all the typical De Palma film elements that we've come to expect: close-ups, inventive camerawork, and slow motion shots. Watching it again for the first time in a long time really makes me appreciate the film much more for what it is than I did when I had originally seen it in my youth, and the fine folks at Criterion have released the film in a Blu-ray set that...well, I'll get to that in a bit.

Anyway, Dressed to Kill revolves around a sexually frustrated married woman (Angie Dickinson) that ends up getting brutally murdered after having a random tryst with a stranger. Her murder is witnessed by a prostitute (Nancy Allen), who soon teams up with the son of our victim (Christine's Keith Gordon) to find the killer. Michael Caine is here too as the victim's shrink, and De Palma regular Dennis Franz is here too as...well, as Dennis Franz. The film is sexually charged and features some shocking violence for its time, and remains one of my favorite works from De Palma to this very day.

Now let's get to the Blu-ray release. Over the years, I've never had much in terms of issues with any DVDs or Blu-ray releases from Criterion. Their releases are usually top notch in terms of picture restoration/quality, special features, etc., which made me excited to see what they could get cooking for this release of Dressed to Kill...then something happened. It was announced that there was a mastering issue with the film's presentation, causing Criterion to delay the Blu-ray's release.  Well, a second pressing was ordered and the Blu was eventually released...and it the film looks terrible. Now it doesn't consistently look terrible, in fact sometimes it looks pretty damn good, but there are plenty of times where all of the sudden the film's picture stretches out of the blue, and the framing of the film is all over the fucking place. The old DVD release from MGM from years back is better quality than this for fuck's sake. While the film's color looks very vibrant in 4K, the framing inconsistencies are so damn jarring that it ruins the damn film, and that's a shame. Other special features, which include new interviews with Nancy Allen and others, as well as a documentary on the film from 2001 and a feature about the cuts needed to be made to film to avoid being rated X.

So yeah, the Criterion Collection edition of Brian De Palma's Dressed to Kill is disappointing to say the least. The film deserves a better treatment than this, especially from Criterion. Damn shame that this release leaves so much to be desired. If you can find this cheap and are a fan of the film and don't already own any of its previous DVD or Blu-ray releases, then I guess pick this up. If you do already own the film in one form or another, this really isn't much of an upgrade.

Film rating: 4/5

Blu-ray release rating: 2/5


Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
Synapse Films Restores Dario Argento’s Tenebre

Synapse Films Restores Dario Argento’s Tenebre

By Amy Mead

Steven J. Bejma's Tenebre Poster

Recently, on October 22nd, I was privileged enough to take part in a one night only screening of the most recent remaster effort by the geniuses over at Synapse Films, Dario Argento's Tenebre. The bonus features are still being worked on and the finished product is expected to be released on Blu-ray in the early part of 2016.

Every time I watch a new Synapse remaster, I am blown away and it was no different with Tenebre. It was truly stunning. I was seriously taken aback by how good it looked and I am chomping at the bit to see what the bonus features might have in store for us.

I was so taken with the quality and clarity of Tenebre that when I got home from the screening that night, I had to throw in my old copy to see the difference and I was absolutely floored. I don't know how these guys do it. Talk about talent and skill!! I have seen several of of the Synapse Film remaster efforts and I love them all. But this one? It is simply breathtaking. You really have to see it to believe it.

Synapse Films also has plans to restore two other Dario Argento films, Phenomena (aka Creepers) and Suspiria and I am beside myself with anticipation after seeing what they've done with Tenebre. I am now extremely eager to see what they do with these films. We will of course keep you up to date with the progress on those films and will share any updates as soon as we are made aware of them.

In addition to the screening there was an announcement made by The Flint Horror Collective's Chris Ringler about the fate of the Flint Horror Con. Sadly, it is no more. HOWEVER, there will be new event taking place in 2016 called The Monster Marketplace and it will be a great place for Michigan area horror fans to find all sorts of one of a kind horror creations from many local, independent artists and vendors. Rumor has it there may even be a celebrity or two, so stay tuned for info on that.

Many thanks to Synapse Films, The Flint Horror Collective, Mott Community College, and Black and Gold Film Productions for making this one night only event a reality for us. I am thrilled to have been able to show my support and participate in an event such as this and honestly cannot thank them all enough for this experience. It's not too often cool stuff happens on the horror front in Michigan. It was truly an honor and a privilege. Anyone who did not attend this event and had the means should be kicking themselves right now. Hard.

I give this remaster a 10/10 Psychotic American authors.

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

MOVIE REVIEW: The Editor (2014)

By Nick Durham

Before I speak anything in terms of the brilliance of The Editor, the first thing you need to know about is the crew behind it: Astron-6. Featuring Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy, and Conor Sweeney, Astron-6 is the Canadian troupe that is responsible for the hilarious and brilliant Father's Day released by Troma in 2011 (and, seriously, go watch that like right now) as well as the low budget and super enjoyable green-screen romp Manborg. Seriously, go watch their work before you watch The Editor. Doing so will really make you appreciate just how far technically these guys have come within the past few years.

Anyway, The Editor is the crew's tribute/take on the giallo. A lost and too often underappreciated horror sub-genre, it's rare that we get a giallo anymore (let alone a good one...seriously, Argento, what happened to you?), and here we get not only a pretty good one, but a rousing and hilarious tribute as well. The story revolves around once prominent film editor Rey Ciso (Brooks) who, after a horrifying accident, is left with wooden fingers. Now editing grindhouse filth, Rey finds himself in the center of a series of grisly murders, as well as being hounded by a very "passionate" cop (Kennedy), and dealing with his fallen-star wife (Nurse 3D star Paz de la Huerta). All that is only the tip of the iceberg, though, as things aren't all what they seem, and when shit hits the proverbial fan, trust me, it really hits the fan.

As I said before, The Editor is definitely the most technically impressive film Astron-6 has given us so far. The camerawork, set design, costumes, and everything in between is both a loving tribute to the giallo as well as poking delightful fun at the all too prevalent shortcomings that the genre would feature as well. The performances from nearly everyone involved are wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, and the cameos and small roles from genre stalwarts like Udo Kier, Laurence Harvey, and the super sexy Tristan Risk will definitely bring a smile to your face.

With all of that praise in mind, there's one thing you should keep in mind: The Editor is definitely not for everyone. If you're not into giallos or have no experience with them, you're not going to get much enjoyment here. You're bound to laugh your ass off quite a few times, but you'll miss all the surprising nuances and in-jokes that are peppered throughout nearly every frame of the film. That being said, you'll be missing out quite a bit, and that will kill how super enjoyable the film truly is.

I can sing the praises of The Editor day and night, and in all honesty I kind of want to, but I digress. This is a truly wonderful take on the giallo, and saying that it's worth your time and attention is saying it lightly. The fine folks at Scream Factory finally blessed us with a home video release after it garnered tons of praise on the festival and genre circuits, and with good reason. Go watch it, right fucking now.

Rating: 5/5

Posted by Alan Smithee in MOVIE REVIEWS, REVIEWS, 0 comments
TRIBUTE: Lucio Fulci: The Godfather of Gore

TRIBUTE: Lucio Fulci: The Godfather of Gore

By Amy Lynes

Master of the Macabre
There aren't many people that I idolize but Lucio Fulci is definitely one of them, and he's number one on my list.

I was seventeen and home alone when I watched my first Lucio Fulci film. It was The House By The Cemetery, and watching it alone was a big mistake. HUGE! I sat there for the next hour and a half mesmerized by what was unfolding on the screen in front of me, even though my heart was racing, I was scared out of my mind, and all alone in an old, creepy ass (haunted) house.

Never before had I seen so much blood and gore! I was excited, terrified and repulsed all at the same time. As soon as it ended, I instantly rewound it (yes, it was on VHS) and watched it again. I would watch this wonderfully intense and graphic film three more time before eventually returning it to the video store.

I wanted to see more of this man's work and soon began renting all the films I could get my eager hands on. Zombie (aka Zombi 2) came next and, once again, I was blown away. There were scenes where I actually found myself holding my breath, squirming in my seat and clenching my hands so tightly that my muscles hurt. The famous eyeball puncturing scene was incredibly hard to watch but at the same time I couldn't make myself look away (and found that I didn't really want to anyway). I absolutely loved the way the zombies looked, how it seemed as though they were crumbling right before my eyes, squirming with maggots and missing eyes and appendages. It was fantastic! Still to this day, I prefer the slow gait, movement and organic look of Fulci's zombies, as opposed to the fast movers of today's modern zombie films. There was (and still is) something inherently creepy about the way they shamble so goddamn slowly and cannot be deterred nor distracted. They just keep on coming for you. And the infamous 'Shark vs. Zombie' scene? Once again, I was blown away. I sat there, completely mystified by the skill and imagination that must have gone into the making of that awe inspiring scene. Hell, even all these years later, I still am.

House by the cemetery

I was now completely hooked on this man's amazing talent and there was no going back for me; I just couldn't get enough and I simply HAD to see more. I had to find out everything I could about this director who could bring such vision to the screen while simultaneously scaring the living shit out of me so effectively and see as many of his films as possible.

Next up was The Beyond (aka Seven Doors of Death) which was strong in vivid imagery and unbelievably creepy. I couldn't get it out of my head for days and to this very day, it is still one of my all time favorite horror films. My copy gets watched often, several times a year, and I still get creeped out. Every time.

Then there was The Gates of Hell (aka City of the Living Dead) with the famous drill through the head scene, and the vomiting up of one's intestines and I delighted in the grossness of it, even though it made me retch.

Next up was Demonia, in which a man was quartered. I was horrified but I was also really beginning to like all the gore. It was all so shocking to me, but I seriously just could not get enough. I was addicted to how these movies made me feel, and what they sparked in me.

City drill scene

I soon fell in love with Fulci's ability to use gore to the fullest extent, without it being the primary focus of his films. He had the ability to scare the hell out of me without overwhelming me with the gore, and I was all about it. The excitement became a sort of drug for me, and I became addicted to the adrenaline rush I invariably got from his films.

My parents, however, were less than thrilled with my choice in movies and the only one I could ever get Dad to watch with me was The Psychic. He just couldn't handle the gore Fulci was famous for. I, however, was growing to love it more and more with each film. Years later, I would pass that love on to my brother Clayton, and he eventually ended up just as addicted as I was.

Because I could find so few of his movies and having become utterly obsessed with his work, I tried doing some investigative work to find out all I could about this genius director that I was quickly coming to love. Sadly, this was before the Internet and the libraries had very little to offer, so there wasn't much I could find. It wasn't until many years later that I discovered Netflix and began using the Internet that I was able to get my hands on a number of films that I had only heard about – and even some that I had no clue existed. My first few months on Netflix were exciting ones; I had found hidden horror treasure. The Mother Lode.

Because I was so enamored with Fulci's films, I also then began seeking out films by people who had either inspired Fulci, or had been inspired by him - Mario and Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento. This would also eventually lead to some other obsessions of mine, Argento films and Italian horror in general. But Fulci would always be my favorite.

Fulci has done everything from horror to musicals and even some Spaghetti Westerns and comedies. He was responsible for sixty films and one hundred and twenty scripts. In addition to film making, Fulci also wrote two books Fulci Breaks The Looking Glass and My Lovely Monsters which, sadly, will probably never be translated into English.

Fulci's career hit a high point in 1971-72 with his two Giallos, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin and Don't Torture a Duckling which were both extremely controversial. However, he was briefly blacklisted after Don't Torture a Duckling because it painted an extremely vivid picture of perversity in Catholicism. He was also hauled into court and charged with cruelty to animals due to the very graphic depiction of dogs being mutilated in A Lizard in a Woman's Skin and actually had to show the judge the puppets they used and how they worked before being cleared of the charge.

Fulci Gore

It has been said that the films he made from 1979-83 were some of the most violent ever made. It is really no coincidence that the eighties were his most popular time in America. Sadly, in spite of that, he was never fully given the recognition he deserved. The horror world truly suffered a major loss with his untimely death in 1996.

It saddens me that there will never be another new Fulci film, but for this girl, this master of the macabre will always live on, both in his work, and in the work of many others.

For a complete list of Lucio Fulci's work, check out his IMDB page.

Posted by Alan Smithee in EDITORIALS, HORROR HEROES, 0 comments