Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Italian Horror Movies You Should See Before Dying

5 Italian Horror Movies You Should See Before Dying
When it comes to horror movies, you are not going to find a more vivid example of creativity than that of Italy’s finest. For some reason the Italian movie makers honed in a certain level of macabre and didn’t really turn things up to 11 until after most of their movies were getting boring. It’s true, most of the best Italian horror movies are slow moving, but when they hit the gas, you are thrown through the windshield and taken for a thrill that will definitely stick with you. While American movies tend to blow their loads in gore, Italian horror seems to have a little bit more class before wiping their seed on the curtains. Yep, I went there. It is with that terrible structure in mind that I present to you 5 horror movies that you need to see, and they are straight out of the Italian horror director’s pile up of Eurotrash.


I’ve talked about this movie before, but what seems like a precursor to “Black Swan”, is actually a horrific ghost story. This has color on the mind, and the visuals are vibrant, iconic, mixed with symbolism of religious matters, witchcraft and mood. There’s something beautiful about the elements that come together here and the fire that burns in the fireplace turns into an inferno by the time all is said and done. The art of this film really makes it one of the best movies to come from Dario Argento. The use of color throughout, mixed with the emotional connections of the dancers really comes across grand. It's frightening at times, but more over, it's high art. It feels more like a classic stage play at times, but you'll get your dose of horror sure enough. If you haven’t seen Suspiria, then you’re not a horror movie fan, plain and simple.

The Beyond

Lucio Fulci did what most American Horror movie directors are now doing, but he did it in 1983. He found a way to go beyond just macabre set pieces and go for the jugular in a combination of sequences that are not defined by one genre. Fulci finds a way of creating art out of what should be the grotesque and macabre. The goal was to make a story that didn’t really have a linear plotting, and it worked, creating twist after twist and elements of an art gallery of horror you don’t really understand. Admit it, you don’t get this one, but then again, that’s the point.


This tense film drives the story of college students getting killed long before you saw anything like it in the 1980s. It’s a slasher at times, but focuses more on the “giallo” styling. It has elements of horror, mystery, and suspense before revealing the larger picture. You get a feeling that the killer is motivated by more than just trying to be a psychopath or a boogieman, which makes this one of the more tightly wound Italian set pieces of horror.

Cannibal Holocaust

The movie that inspired millions of horror fans, and possibly the first major movie to get that moniker of “reality” still hits hard today. It’s a sick movie and it’s a mess of a film that will make you cringe. It is a shock fest gone wrong, and it was marketed as a “banned” movie. Forget movies that rely on that shaky camera footage, this did it better, and far more entertaining than anything you’ve seen. Some compare it to “The Blair Witch Project”, but there’s no comparison, this is a sick movie full of macabre sequencing and horrific elements. A true classy, trashy, picture. The dichotomy works here, if I do say so myself, and of course I do.


I had a hard time trying to pick one more, but I will throw this one into the mix. Two Argento movies in one list? Yeah, it happens. Tenebre is a tightly wound mystery, slasher, and horror movie all rolled into one. The story is a slow burn towards the ultimate reveal. When I first saw it, I was a bit mad at the ending, but after many viewings later, I realize that the strength of Tenebre is the acting and the POV view of the slayings. There’s a deep seeded fear that rises up in this movie, especially when you realize that you’ve been led down the wrong corridor overall. Stephen King’s paranoia that made “Misery” work is found here at times. Visually compelling, sound that keeps your heart beating, and a solid ending makes this one of the best Italian horror movies that you have to see before you die.

What about you? All 2 of you readers out there, drop me a comment, let me know what your favorites are, and for goodness sake buy something from the links so that I can grab a cup of coffee. Or just comment, it’s always nice to see that someone reads my garbage writing.

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A writer first, cat lover second, and some other stuff too. Human, with lots of faults, and terrible communication.
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