Today I’m posting two supernatural horror films from Italy.
I’m a bit rushed, in the middle of cooking dinner, and I don’t have the time to wax poetic about these two fine films, but you should by no means take that as an indication of their quality.
THE SPIDER LABRINTH is the only Italian horror, as far as I know, that puts a Giallo spin on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft. There’s quite a bit of 70s Argento and references to Roman Polanski too, but it’s pure late 80s Italian horror on the shiny, shiny surface. The movie was quite rare for some time (in the U.S.) and much sought after (by me) because it was rumored to rank in quality with the films of the great Italian horror directors: Argento and Fulci. There are some fabulous images throughout, wonderful Argento inspired murder set pieces, and interesting narrative disorientation during the rabbit hole plunge to the finale (which includes some gory special effects inspired by John Carpenter’s THE THING).
HOUSE OF CLOCKS is one of two films that Lucio Fulci did for an Italian television event called “Houses Of Doom”. Don’t let “made for television” confuse you, though. This didn’t air on NBC. It’s as gory and perverse and weird as Fulci’s big screen films and, compared with some of his other late eighties output, it’s close in quality to his supernatural masterpieces: THE BEYOND, CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD and THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETARY.
I love how the Italians do supernatural horror. I’ll write more about it tomorrow, but I’ll just say that the supernatural, itself, is irrational and thus better suited by the Italian approach. Both these films go completely off the rails by the end, especially Fulci’s, and that’s exactly what makes them work.
By the way, Lucio Fulci, the director of HOUSE OF CLOCKS, is an animal lover. If you love cute little kittens like I do, chances are you’ll be disturbed by a scene fairly early in this film. It’s not visceral, a cat isn’t getting torn apart, it’s just disturbing. It’s supposed to be. Believe me, Fulci always allows his cats to get revenge, and this film is no exception. Don’t let this warning lead you into thinking the movie won’t be fun, even if you hate to see imaginary animal death (like I do). Fulci mixes cruelty with fun like no other filmmaker, and there’s some very dark humor at work here…as well as some gut busting laughs.
THE SPIDER LABRINTH (1988):
There used to be a better version of this on Youtube, without the Asian subtitles, but this is it for now. It’s still more than watchable, in the correct aspect ratio and, considering it’s been such an obscure film, we’re lucky to have it!
THE HOUSE OF CLOCKS (1989):