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Friday, October 26, 2018

Celebrate Halloween with Creepy Italian Vintage Films

While recently browsing public domain movie databases, I stumbled upon a few old, in some cases, really old Italian horror films. These movies take "creepy" to a whole new level. Some seem ridiculous in 2018 but in their day, were productions with cutting edge technology.
Whether you have these films  looped at your Halloween party or you actually sit down and watch them, you will be entertained, most likely having never seen anything like them before.

The descriptions of the films were taken from the sources of playback or the public domain movies site, where I originally found them. All of these movies are in the public domain, so you are free to download them.

For straight up horror, check these three out...

Bloody Pit of Horror (Il Boia Scarlatto) is a 1965 Italian gothic horror film based on the writings of Marquis de Sade and directed by Massimo Pupillo. The film, set in Italy, stars Mickey Hargitay, Walter Brandi, Luisa Baratto and Rita Klein, and tells the story of a group of women modeling for a photo shoot when the owner of the castle starts to become "The Crimson Executioner," who is bent on their deaths.

Watch Bloody Pit of Horror...



In the 1960 film, Atom Age Vampire, a stripper is horribly disfigured in a car accident. A brilliant scientist develops a treatment that restores her beauty and falls in love with her. To preserve her appearance, the doctor must give her additional treatments using glands taken from murdered women. His unexplained ability to turn into a hideous monster helps with this problem but does nothing to win her love. The doctor's woes multiply as the police and the girl's boyfriend begin to close in on him


Watch Atom Age Vampire...




In Abel Ferrara's 1979 film, The Driller Killer, an artist slowly loses his mind as he and his two female friends scrape to pay the bills. The punk band downstairs increasingly agitates him, his art dealer is demanding that he complete his big canvas painting as promised, and he gets into fights with his girlfriends. When the dealer laughs at his canvas, he snaps and begins taking it out on the people responsible for his pain and random transients in the manner suggested by the title. This is the uncut version.
Warning: Adult language and situations. Viewer discretion advised.

Watch Driller Killer-Uncut...



I found this 1911 version of Dante's Inferno, also known as the the world's oldest surviving feature-length film, just fascinating and super creepy. This version is silent. However, there are some versions on YouTube that have music accompaniments.



This 1922 silent film, Foolish Wives, is an American production but this version has Italian title charts. The costumes are magnificent, so for this reason, I consider it a great Halloween find. 

Distributed by Universal Pictures and written and directed by Erich von Stroheim, this1922 drama was the most expensive film made at that time, and billed by Universal Studios as the "first million-dollar movie" to come out of Hollywood. Originally, von Stroheim intended the film to run anywhere between 6 and 10 hours, and be shown over two evenings, but Universal executives opposed this idea. The studio bosses cut the film drastically before the release date.

Watch Foolish wives (Femmine folli)

Another great film for costumes and just plain intrigue is the 1921 Italian science fiction film, The Mechanical Man (Italian: L'uomo meccanico). Directed by André Deed, it is one of the first science fiction films produced in Italy, and the first film that showed a battle between two robots. The original film was about 80 minutes in length. However, only about 26 minutes of footage remains.

The story begins with a scientist creating a device shaped like a man that can be remote-controlled by a machine. The mechanical man possess super-human speed and strength. The scientist is killed however by a gang of criminals, led by a woman named Mado, who wishes to get the instructions for building the mechanical man. The criminals are captured before they are able to get them and are brought to trial and condemned. Mado manages to escape and kidnaps the scientist's niece whom she forces to give her the instructions which she uses to build a mechanical man.

The mechanical man is used for a variety of crimes, controlled by Mado. The scientist's brother however is successful in creating a second mechanical man which he uses to combat the original. The two mechanical men fight each other in an opera house, which leads to the dramatic ending.


Buona visione and Happy Halloween!!

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