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Fowler’s Flix 12.12.18: Italian Gore…and More

Film Movement
Klaus Kinski as "Loco" in "The Great Silence."
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The Italian film industry has given us so many original takes on staid American genres over the years that they really should be given more credit for basically reinvigorating the foreign film business; with their cinematic injections into westerns in the 60’s, horror in the 70’s and sleazy soft-core in the 80’s, they have continually made genre film more than interesting again.

Covering most of the viewable bases, companies such as Film Movement and Blue Underground, for example, have taken the time to not only cast these films on miraculous Blu-ray, but overindulge us with remasters in 2K and even 4K—something that was unnecessary but fully welcomed—putting these films in a new viewable light that is an absolute miracolo.

In a pitiless, snow-swept landscape, a silent gunfighter stalks the land, looking for quiet vengeance in one of the standout westerns of the spaghetti scene, Sergio Corbucci’s very moody 1968 oater The Great Silence (Film Movement). As a child, his tongue was torn out after witnessing the murder of his parents; Silence (as he’s now called) protects the innocent and punishes the guilty, but, per the dark imbalance these films usually have, who’s who and what’s what isn’t always so clear.

Jean-Louis Trintignant is a haunting gunslinger, but the real star here is the notorious Klaus Kinski as the vicious Loco, the complicated leader of a gang of bounty-hunting butchers, leaving their sprays of outlaw blood all across the white snow. With lush cinematography by Silvano Ippolitti and a mystifying score by Ennio Morricone, The Great Silence is a hypnotic western that seems about due for a fan-based resurgence, much like one of Corbucci’s other notable films, Django, had a few years ago.

Although it’s been released by umpteen companies umpteen times, Lucio Fulci’s 1979 gore-drenched flick Zombie (Zombi 2 overseas) is out now in an ultimate package released by Blue Underground, in a remastered print that few have ever seen before.

Ian McCulloch and Tisa Farrow are investigating a spooky ship found adrift in the waters of New York City, following a mystery that takes them all the way to the Caribbean island of Matool and a gruesome landscape overrun by voodoo-possessed zombies.

Filled with some of the most horrific scenes of undead terror that even flicks like Night of the Living Dead wouldn’t go anywhere near, Zombie is the real walking dead deal. While many people give props to Romero for his straight-laced birth of the living dead film, in reality, Fulci, in his attempt to make a cash-in instead made a brilliant resurrection, a memorably visceral horror film that few can stomach through.

As an added bonus, by the way, included in this “40 th Anniversary Limited Edition” is the foreboding score by Fabio Frizzi on CD.

The scion of Italian horror royalty—Asia Argento—was once primed to be the next big thing in America.

After a few starring roles—and now a integral part in Hollywood’s #MeToo cause—she never really did make that big of an impact here as she had, and still does, in her native land of Italy. Her directorial debut Scarlet Diva (Film Movement), however, is a starkly stunning exploration of decadence that ennui with dollars can bring, proving you don’t need Hollywood’s stamp to make important art.

Vaguely autobiographical, Argento is starlet Anna Battista, an actress known for easy drugs and easier sex. Feeling she can rectify this by writing and directing her own project, a labyrinth of down and dirty dealers of all types is all that awaits her, all trying to get a quick fix and, when they’re done, throw her away. Scarlet Diva is a claustrophobic chiller, with a fictionalized representation of the notorious way she met Harvey Weinstein—an amalgam played by artist Joe Coleman here—which manages to be as nightmarish now as it was comical a decade or so ago.

While these are just three filmmakers to try out this weekend, there’s still a lionized roll-call, from Bernardo Bertolucci to Aristide Massaccesi, that is worthy of your devout attention. Hard to track down and sometime harder to love, Italian film is like graduating from a class in master filmmaking—and then saying to Hell with it all.

Next week: Make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh, make ‘em laugh…

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About the Author

Louis Fowler

Güicho. Gadfly. Chicano. Choctaw. Cristero. Freelancer. Leftist. Activist. Vilified. PKD....

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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