Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Truth According to Satan (1972)

To call Renato Polselli’s The Truth According to Satan a.k.a. La verità secondo satana a movie about a woman being framed and blackmailed for her lover’s murder just doesn’t really capture what it’s all about. Anyone familiar with Polselli’s work will know that there’s usually a lot more to it than that, with the story being more like groundwork for filmmaking experimentation and expressionism, not to mention some truly disorienting editing. One could say the satanic title is misleading, but taking a lot of the, what I’m assuming to be, elaborate metaphors, it’s possible to make an attempt to figure in a correlation between the title and the film’s events. It’s like a type of art that one could draw numerous interpretations from and yet still be quite off. 

A woman, Diana (Rita Calderoni, whose beautiful eyes still shine through in the fuzzy looking, low quality version I watched), seems to be at the core of a man’s, Roibert’s (Isarco Ravaioli), depressions. Sick of himself and going through what is no doubt an existential crises, he deeply contemplates and, in a melodramatic bout of playing Russian roulette with himself, fails at committing suicide, an insult which only seems to further his unease.

Calling up the lady of his sorrows, Diana, in the midst of a love affair with her female companion/slave, Yanita (Marie-Paule Bastin), Roibert informs her of his failed attempt at killing himself, threatening to try again. She hastily comes over to his place, looking nice and sexy, and Roibert eventually does stab and kill himself while leaning over her, smearing his blood over her. The neighbor, a strange jester of a man, Totoletto (Sergio Ammirata, chewing the scenery like none have ever done before), seems to have witnessed enough of the incident from the window to decide to have a fun time with the situation, turning the film into a deranged comedy from here on out.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Zombie 5: Killing Birds (1987)

In the right mindset, Filmirage productions like Ghosthouse, Witchery, and Troll 2 can be a lot of fun, with a great amount of low budget cheese and outrageous horror. There were a couple titles that I thought stood out of this mold that were actually quite harrowing and long winded (in a good way) like Hitcher in the Dark and Door to Silence. I’ve always had a soft spot for the company, and I do aspire to see every Filmirage movie, myself, someday.

The company was founded in 1980 by Joe D’Amato, cult film favorite and director of nasty gore classics Beyond the Darkness and Antropophagus as well as most of the output from the guilty pleasure that is the Black Emanuelle series with Laura Gemser, who’s as classy as these BE films are sleazy. The company pelted out titles fairly consistently from 1980 to 1994, eventually ceasing to make films from what I’m guessing to be a kind of commercial low point in Italian cinema. There are most certainly a number of notorious cult classics among the selection which spans at least forty-five movies.

Directed by Joe D’Amato and Claudio Lattanzi, Killing Birds, or as it has become known in the US Zombie 5: Killing Birds, placing it into the infamously confusing Zombi series lineup, is a mixed bag with all of the elements that make a Filmirage horror movie a lot of fun.

It should be taken into consideration that Zombie 5: Killing Birds actually isn’t much of a zombie film nor is it much of a killer bird film, so it would probably suffice to say that it was titled poorly. Ninety-nine percent of everyone going into this will be expecting a zombie movie, but there are only a few zombies, and they’re more like ghoulish closet monsters, which don’t bite their victims, but rather they thrash them about, resulting in some pretty brutal gore. I’m not kidding. Watch Jennifer’s (Lin Gathright) death scene at around 56:30, and try to tell me this movie doesn’t have balls.