October Horrorshow: Inferno (1980)

Three years after horror auteur Dario Argento gave us the vibrant classic Suspiria, he waded back into brilliant color and dreamlike atmosphere by writing and directing Inferno. Described as a thematic sequel to Suspiria, Inferno is the second film of Argento’s Three Mothers trilogy. Whether this film was truly intended to be related to Suspiria or if such a decision was commercial in nature is debatable. Either way, sequel or thematic cousin or whatever, Inferno is clearly an Argento film. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Inferno (1980)”

October Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II

Mario Bava was a giant of horror. His Black Sunday is an atmospheric horror classic that should be on any horror fan’s list of films to see. Shock, released in the United States as Beyond the Door II (it bears no relation to Beyond the Door — the title was strictly promotional), was Bava’s last film before his death. It’s not a bad way to go out, but it’s also a workaday horror film, missing the weirdness that made Bava’s other works, and Italian horror films in general, so special. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Shock, aka Beyond the Door II”

October Horrorshow: City of the Living Dead

This film has nothing to do with George Romero’s Dead films. In a bit of shameless commercialism, City of the Living Dead is another Italian film that tries to ride the coattails of a profitable American horror franchise. And it’s not a case of an American distribution company changing the name of the film. When it was released in Italy, this film was given the title Paura nella città die morti viventi, which, according to the internet, translates as Fear in the City of the Living Dead. Clear? Good. Compared to other low-budget Italian horror fare, these title shenanigans are nothing. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: City of the Living Dead”

Empty Balcony: The 10th Victim

The swinging ’60s have come to Missile Test, in the form of Italian/French production The 10th Victim. An absurdist bit of film whimsy from Italian director Elio Petri, The 10th Victim is notable for providing much of the inspiration for Mike Myers’s character Austin Powers. Indeed, one of the great gags in the first Austin Powers film, a bikini top that shoots bullets, was lifted from this film. Continue reading “Empty Balcony: The 10th Victim”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek

Should one not wish to be burdened by a sensible, interconnected plot, or by special effects that pass a minimum standard of acceptability, then has Missile Test got the movie for you. Cosmos: War of the Planets, also known by many other names, is one of the shittiest films to grace this site in a litany of shitty films. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Cosmos: War of the Planets, or, Shit Trek”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando

Who wants to watch some bottom-feeding trash? I do! And we all should. Films like Strike Commando, the 1987 shitfest from Italian filmmaker Bruno Mattei, make serious film and art house fodder all the better. How would we be able to gauge excellence were it not for films like Strike Commando giving us a baseline of inferiority? Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Strike Commando”

October Horrorshow: Suspiria

A viewer would hard-pressed to find a more beautifully shot, atmospheric horror film than Dario Argento’s Suspiria. Argento’s, and cinematographer Luciano Tovoli’s, vivid production has become legend among horror fans, and for good reason. The film exists within a reality all its own, shifting back and forth between dreamlike and nightmarish, soft and menacing, as the situation requires. No study of horror films, and film in general, is complete without seeing this classic. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Suspiria”

October Horrorshow: Contamination

The 1980s must have been an interesting time to be an actor in New York City. It was a mythic age, before Law & Order began filling multiple lines in the CVs of innumerable performers in the five boroughs. Instead, the city seemed to be crawling with itinerant Italian filmmakers, drunk on dreams of ripping off the latest American sci-fi hit and making some dollars on the cheap. Fabrizio De Angelis, Enzo G. Castellari, Sergio Martino, Luigi Cozzi, and more, made The Big Apple their home away from home in the ’80s. If it wasn’t possible to make it on Broadway or on TV, there was always bottom-feeding cinema. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Contamination”

October Horrorshow: Burial Ground, aka The Nights of Terror

What a gloriously shitty movie. Burial Ground, also released under a number of different titles, is an Italian horror gore-fest from 1981. Director Andrea Bianchi crafted a flick that ticks off just about all the boxes when it comes to shitty Italian cinema. The film stock is cheap, the dubbing sucks, there are numerous overlong shots used to mask a distinct lack of plot, et cetera. It really is a wonderful example of bad cinema of the era, taking its place alongside anything from Shitty Movie Sundays favorite Enzo G. Castellari. But, it also has the added benefit of being somewhat watchable. Continue reading “October Horrorshow: Burial Ground, aka The Nights of Terror”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Women’s Prison Massacre, aka Emanuelle Escapes From Hell

In the annals of shitty cinema, the 1980s saw the Italians holding the world championship crown. Between Enzo G. Castellari, Joe D’Amato, and Lucio Fulci, American b-flicks just didn’t stand a chance. Bruno Mattei is another filmmaker who can be added to this list of sublime cinematic futility. His 1983 film, Women’s Prison Massacre, also released as Emanuelle Escapes From Hell, among a couple of other titles, is an unbelievable piece of shit. Not only is it bottom feeding trash, it’s sexually exploitative. Being a film about a women’s prison, that’s to be expected. But there is also a cut floating around out there with hardcore porn, using body doubles of the cast, stitched into the R-rated sex scenes. I didn’t see that cut because, believe it or not, I wanted to watch this dog for the plot. Continue reading “Shitty Movie Sundays: Women’s Prison Massacre, aka Emanuelle Escapes From Hell”