Saturday, 16 February 2013

9 Great Italian Genre Films (for someone new to the territory)


So, you've just watched Suspiria and don't know where to go from there. I have some bad news; Suspiria is a pinnacle and you have started at the top, with no other film quite ever matching it. But there is still plenty of amazing Italian cinema to enjoy, and here are some good starting points after your Suspiria experience. 

Sure, Suspiria is a horror film, but it also has an awful lot of sex and style to it. So, sticking to some of the most accessible talents, here are my top options for someone who wants a guiding hand in what way to go with their Italian genre films after the Suspiria experience, for the sex, or for the horror.

Inferno
The thematic sequel to Suspiria, and probably my least favourite of the Argento films listed here, but it does have a fantastic underwater sequence and oodles of gorgeous scenery. The trade off is a lame story and a weird attack scene in Central Park.

Deep Red
From now on, whenever I think of detective story, this giallo is what comes to mind. People are like mannequins  Must see.

Tenebrae
Another Giallo, this one centred around an author in Rome embroiled in serial killings based on his novels. This is again, like Deep Red, gorgeous, but for my money, has a bit of a less involved feel.

Phenomena
This film is almost poetic, with a young boarding school student (played by none other than Jennifer Connolly) realising a link between her and bug life. The film takes a turn for the ridiculous in the second half with a cheesy 80s hair rock soundtrack and lame effects, but still one of the better ones.

Opera
Classy Giallo surrounding a young woman being terrorised by a killer in her theatre. She is forced to watch murders with needles placed under her eyelids, so she cannot blink. If that doesn't sell it for you, you're on the wrong page.

The Beyond
Now, this one is more creepy than anything else, and plays up the gore side of things, but by heck, I love it and it would be my first recommendation to anyone looking more for terror than style. But that's a general rule; Fulci brings the terror, Argento brings the style (both are debatable).

Lizard in a Woman's Skin
If the first 5 minutes of this film don't suck you in, then there's something wrong with you. Sex sex sex. And don't forget the violence.

Black Sunday
Mario Bava classic that is a bit intimidating to watch because of it's age (made in the early 60s), but the first couple of minutes will show you this is gritty by any standard, and you will not turn it off.

The Church
A muddled and poor story, but The Church is all about its imagery. Probably not for the uninitiated, but one of my picks for most visually and symbolically titillating film just behind Suspiria. Hey, if the Devil literally rapes someone, you have to know what kind of film you have got yourself in for.

And there you have it. This is just the tip of the iceberg, so feel free to leave your recommendations on some other great ones I have missed.