7 More Days Until Halloween, 2013: Eighties Italo-Horror B-Movie Marathon! (Part 2: The Final Chapter)

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I’ve scoured the net for every obscure 80s Italo-Horror movie I could find out there and I’ve got to say that I believe this is the definitive, most complete list of available streaming movies that you are going to find (in English or with English subtitles).  That’s a lot of work to do for something that is likely to change in a matter of weeks, but I think it’s worth it.  I look forward to re-watching a lot of these films myself this weekend.

Of course I wish this was the perfect introduction to the (lesser) 80s Italian Horror Movie but, as I mentioned yesterday, many of my favorites just aren’t streaming at the moment.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t absolute gems here, it’s just that I always crave and mourn for what’s missing.  For example, I really would have loved to have shared the 1989 film MAYA.  It’s a humdinger, but it’s not streaming.  I believe you can torrent it if you’re into that sort of thing.  Also BLOOD LINK, RAT MAN, STREGHE aka SUPERSTITION 2, NOSFERATU IN VENICE, KILLING BIRDS, EVIL CLUTCH, SPECTERS, HOUSE OF WITCHCRAFT…  The list goes on and on, but you already know my favorite: THE HOUSE OF LOST SOULS.  Watch it if you find it.

In the mean time, please enjoy a selection from this very fine menu…

NOTE: Since posting this I’ve discovered exactly how badly “translate” works for close captioning on Youtube.  My apologies… I’m not deleting those movies from my list because they are identified and, if you choose not to rely upon Mad Libs subtitles, there are plenty of others here that are dubbed…

AENIGMA (1987)

I really debated whether I should include this in the list.  I’d decided it was a bit too mainstream, but then I started remembering about all the weird aspects of the film, including the death via snail strangulation.  I’ve purposefully left films off this list if they are already celebrated in the United States, such as the films of Dario Argento, but I suppose AENIGMA divides fans strongly enough to provoke possible reconsideration on my part.  I, for one, was disappointed with it when I saw it years ago: too slick, TOO stylish!  However, considering the Michael Mann eighties retro look has made a comeback in film, I imagine it SHOULD be shared as an example of the extremes available outside of the MIRACLE MILE…

AFTER DEATH aka ZOMBIE 4 (1988)

I’m pretty sure this is the only Italian horror film to feature the famous gay porno star Jeff Stryker.  It may very well be one of his only attempts to make it into “mainstream” filmmaking (…if that’s what you can call this), and I have to say that I admire his choice to work with director Claudio Fragasso.  I wonder which Jeff Stryker is more proud of, AFTER DEATH or SANTA’S CUMMIN’…?  Anyway, this one’s chock full of gore and cheap sets, wonderfully cardboard dialogue and sweaty people.  Really, just watch the opening scene and you’ll know if you’re going to fall in love.  I know I did…

This Youtube video is in Italian but can be viewed with closed captioning translated into English…

BAKTERION aka PANIC (1982):

Those of you from Detroit may remember this being shown on Saturday afternoons in a much, much more grainy version.  It very likely contributed to my love of brown in horror films.  It’s got some good gore and nice hand held photography in very somber, shadowy locations.  Overall effect is seediness and joyful gloom.  Oh, it’s a “scientist infected by his own experiment and becomes killer” story…


LA CASA 4 aka WITCHCRAFT (1988):

Oh my gawd, oh my gawd…this supernatural horror movie stars David Hasselhoff.  Really, that’s about as much as you need to know: eighties Italian horror starring David Hasselhoff.  I remember it being a delightful combination of high and low taste entertainment…some good photography and really kind of disturbing atmosphere all around.  I quite like it…

http://viooz.co/movies/13556-witchery-1988.html

DNA FORMULA LETALE aka METAMORPHOSIS (1989)

This is the only movie directed by George Eastman, sexy ass star of ANTHROPOPHAGUS and ABSURD…  That said, I don’t fully endorse it.  It was shot in the United States with American actors and there was obviously an attempt on Eastman’s part to make it a better film than his budget allowed.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing.  I haven’t seen it in a while, to be honest, so you might just want to check it out for yourself to see what it’s like.  Like PANIC, a scientist infects himself with his own experiment, goes crazy, and kills people.  There’s a shot of an eyeball getting poked with a needle that was all the rage in Fangoria magazine that year…

ETOILE (1989)

I’d probably classify this as one of the must sees on this list.  Jennifer Connelly stars as a ballerina who goes to a strange European country to dance but deals with a bunch of ancient witches instead…sound familiar?  Nahhh, it’s not a rip off of SUSPIRIA, this one has reincarnation in it…  There are some great visuals and beautiful scenery in this film, as well as some quiet, growing suspense and Polanski-style atmosphere / characters.  This also happens to be the most beautiful copy of this incredibly rare “art horror” film I’ve seen, so I’m going to watch this real soon myself…right after the David Hasselhoff and the Jeff Stryker movies…

HANSEL AND GRETEL (1989):

This was “presented by” Lucio Fulci, but directed by Giovanni Simonelli.  I don’t think Fulci produced, so I’m unsure how the money trail goes back to his name.  In any case, it’s a fairly fun ghost / murder story about an organ transplant clinic, creepy ghost children, red glowing eye kid, and women with crispy hair.  There’s actually some good nonsensical writing as well.  People talk a lot, but it’s all satisfyingly overblown…

This Youtube video is in Italian but can be viewed with closed captioning translated into English.


MACABRO aka FROZEN TERROR (1980):

Just like Fulci’s AENIGMA, I debated whether or not I should include this title.  Unlike AENIGMA, the quality of this film is undoubtable.  It is widely regarded as one of Lamberto Bava’s best films.  That’s my problem.  This is so good that it’s almost American.  It’s horrible to say such a thing because I feel like it should absolutely be watched.  If you don’t know anything about Italian horror films and just want a good, creepy horror movie, check this out.  If you are looking for Italian horror distilled, the stronger flavors of Italian horror, so to speak, watch it later.  Plot: A woman kills her husband and keeps the head in her refridgerator – feels strangely like Tennessee Williams meets an Alfred Hitchcock Theater episode…


LA CASA DEL ORCO aka THE OGRE aka DEMONS III (1988)

I FOUND IT!  I FOUND IT!  I couldn’t find this on the internet when I did my recent post on the convoluted DEMONS series.  Well, here it is! A cleaned up version of this film is available on DVD, but this videotape rip is good enough for a taste.  Like all the other films in the DEMONS saga, this is certainly pure eighties Italo-horror.  You can get the unique 80s Italian “feeling” off this one that you won’t get from an admittedly better film like the aforementioned MACABRO…highly recommended!

Part 1:

Part 2:


PAGANINI HORROR (1989)

Speaking of that specific 80s Italian horror feeling, you can certainly get a buzz off this weird ball (or rock) of music enfused madness.  I’d say it’s kind of a cross between PHANTOM OF PARADISE and DEMONS.  Pure fun.  Plus it stars Daria Nicolodi, the wonderful actress/personality who co-wrote SUSPIRIA.  She’s admittedly slumming it in this movie, but slumming it can be such a good time for all…  As far as I know this still hasn’t seen a legitimate DVD release in the states, so check it out on Youtube while you can.

This Youtube video is in Italian but can be viewed with closed captioning translated into English.

PICCOLI FUOCHI (1985)

Another must see… This is an earlier film by the director of ETOILE and it’s of a much better quality (and I like ETOILE).  In fact, PICCOLI FUOCHI is so good that many thought he was going to become the new hot International art film director of Italy a’ la Fellini.  It didn’t happen, but it could have.  This is a touching and disturbing story about how the world is filtered through the mind of a young boy.  There are a lot of creepy arthouse movies with that perspective, but PICCOLI FUOCHI pulls it off perfectly…with real unsentimental horror.  I certainly think it puts well regarded genre films like PAPERHOUSE (1988), AFRAID OF THE DARK (1991) or THE LADY IN WHITE (1988) to absolute shame.  SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, maybe…

This Youtube video is in Italian but can be viewed with closed captioning translated into English.

MONSTER DOG (1984)

Alice Cooper stars in an eighties Italian horror movie about a rock and roll band attacked by werewolves.  It’s directed by Claudio Fragasso, the director of TROLL 2 and AFTER DARK (also in this list).  He’s a director who specializes in fun with a capital “F”.  I believe that’s all that needs to be said.  This rip appears to be from videotape and is a bit blurry, but still watchable.

WILD BEASTS (1984)

I’m not a big fan of animal attack movies, with the blaring exceptions of KILLING BIRDS: RAPTOR (1987), KINGDOM OF THE SPIDERS, the Aussie movie LONG WEEKEND, and this one.  I have to say that WILD BEASTS has the best explanation, among all of them, for why the animals are attacking…as well as one of the better endings.  There’s even a bit of that “apocalyptic” feeling one gets when faced with panicky, out-of-control situations in movies like DAWN OF THE DEAD.  This film has developed a pretty large cult following and I guess it’s regularly shown on TV in some other countries, but don’t ask me where I heard that or in what countries, specifically…maybe Bulgaria…?

A BLADE IN THE DARK (1983)

Okay, I know I said I wasn’t going to post any classics of the genre that are well regarded in the United States, but I can’t help posting this once I found it online.  This is a must see for all fans of Italian horror, in general, and particularly for folks who love the special flavor of eighties Italian horror.  This is a masterpiece, and you don’t hear very many people claiming otherwise (who aren’t complaining about the dubbing like provincial dopes).  I may just give it a posting of its own someday, assuming no one has gotten this far through the list…

http://viooz.co/movies/15703-a-blade-in-the-dark-1983.html

SOTTO IL VESTITO NIENTE aka NOTHING UNDERNEATH (1985):

Sleaze, gloss, telepathic powers, fashion, scissors, murder!  This is another prototypical example of the “micro-genre” I’m trying to depict here, perhaps a little bit closer to the high style of Argento than others, but still cheap enough to require creativity on the part of the filmmakers.  Lots of beautiful mid-eighties fashion and architecture and extremely inventive color schemes make for a good time on a Saturday night.  Perhaps best described as one part Brian de Palma, one part “Silk Stalkings”…

http://viooz.co/movies/13638-nothing-underneath-1985.html

THE LAST SHARK (1981)

This is the movie that Steven Spielberg had banned from theaters so it wouldn’t distract from the release of JAWS.
It’s also a pretty fun movie.  It’s like an early 80s Trident commercial that eventually goes terribly wrong…

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