Saturday, 10 November 2012

Italian Gothic

Another possible Edinburgh Film Guild season...

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The late Maggie G├╝nsberg argued that Italian horror cinema could be divided into two broad periods: Gothic horror from 1956-66 and giallo (i.e. thriller) horror from 1970 onwards. With this mini-season we explore the former period, and the distinctively Italian take on the Gothic by filmmakers such as Mario Bava, Riccardo Freda and Antonio Margheriti.

Black Sunday -- the official directorial debut of Mario Bava also introduced the fetish star of Italian Gothic, English actress Barbara Steele, here playing a double role as the satanist vampire and her innocent victim.

The Playgirls and the Vampire -- a troupe of dancers and their entourage take shelter in an old castle for the night, not realising that it houses a vampire and his lookalike descendent, both being played by Walter Brandi, one of the key players in the early Italian Gothic.

The Horrible Secret of Dr Hichcock -- The first of director Riccardo Freda's Hichcock diptych riffs on the Master of Suspense's Rebecca and Vertigo amongst others, with Steele playing the new wife of the titular pioneering anaesthatist and necrophile.

Crypt of the Vampire -- Christopher Lee appeared in several Italian Gothics, including playing vampires at a time when he refused to reprise the role of Count Dracula for Hammer. This adaptation of Le Fanu's Carmilla, however, sees Lee play one of the vampire hunters.

The Long Hair of Death -- After a mother and the elder of her daughters are executed on trumped up charges of witchcraft, the younger daughter, who was spared, takes her revenge. Steele plays both daughters.

Kill Baby Kill -- In turn of the century Europe a doctor is sent to a remote village to investigate a series of mysterious deaths, only to find his scientific certainties collapsing in the face of mounting evidence of the supernatural.

2 comments:

vwstieber said...

At the risk of sounding redundant, this is an excellent, well-varied selection.

BLACK SUNDAY could be replaced by Margheriti's CASTLE OF BLOOD, as the former is likely to have been viewed more often by more viewers than the latter.

PLAYGIRLS is a brave choice and worth keeping in the lineup because of its oddball nature.

I am really disappointed that Edinburgh is too far for me to attend...

K H Brown said...

Thank you. I omitted Castle of Blood because (as is also the case with Freda's The Ghost) I've screened it before.

A couple of other possibilities I was thinking of were The Virgin of Nuremberg and Bloody Pit of Horror - similar contemporary set Gothic vibe as Playgirls.