Sunday, September 30, 2012


TODAY at ANTHOLOGY FILM ARCHIVES catch the last two Gialli of MALASTRANA FILMS' incredible GIALLO FEVER series!




More info at:

Thursday, September 20, 2012


GIALLO FEVER, curated and organized by the wonderful folks over at Malastrana Films, is a mind-melting 10 day / 10 film trip though what is perhaps the best representation Giallo films have ever had in New York City.  All but one of the films will screen from 35mm (the other being screened in 16mm); and in order to provide the highest level of visual quality, many of the film prints were painstakingly sought out.  The result is not only a superb selection of titles, but also a series of stunning and immaculate clarity.  Some of these showings will likely be the only chance many will have to see these on film.  So, seriously - don‘t miss this!

Giallo is one of those sub-genres that many a film fanatic has become obsessed with.  It's easy to understand why; Gialli are typically so extreme in the flashiest ways that they’re irresistible just in terms of sheer aesthetics; though more than a few Gialli are storytelling powerhouses in disguise as genre film - and though there are a few of those in this series, Lucio Fulci’s DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING (1972) is particularly significant.  

Though some of the directors who helmed these features have been regulated strictly to the “genius” column, (Argento, and most certainly Bava) others have at times contributed to what could perhaps be described as sheer hackery (of which this series has none).  But, one of these directors exceeds any kind of categorization.  Directing more films than any other director in this series, Lucio Fulci also has as varied a filmography as any of his contemporaries. Not all of Fulci’s films represent his finest work, but over a dozen of them indeed do.  Among those classics is DON’T TORTURE A DUCKLING.  While on the surface Fulci’s films are known for their over-the-top, extravagant gore, his most dedicated fans sense a unique humanity beneath the cruelty.  Genre films can surprise with craftsmanship, narrative and originality; and though DUCKLING has these elements it’s a far rarer notion that makes it so special, and that is the rather personal, compassionate tone that's intertwined into a horrific story of child abuse and small-town mob mentality.  So many of Fulci's cinematic efforts are incredible pieces of work - his Zombie films are regarded more and more highly as time passes, and that's something that’s happened on little more than just the merit of the films themselves.  His finer Westerns linger just below Leone's; his sexy psychedelia, crime, raw horror, thriller, historical, etc. films are often concise and sober offerings to popular cinema.  But DUCKLING has that Fulci spirit maybe more than any other.  Fulci sees the world as a rather pessimistic realist: there’s violence, rape, war and crime - factors that are truly abhorrent to him, and thus these factors should be represented in a fashion that amplifies their horror.  Chains rip flesh, faces are torn apart, heads are chopped off, children are drowned - yet in all of its gruesome glory none of this endorses such wholesale brutality.  One senses a secret degree of pain on the part of the filmmaker, [spoiler alert next sentence!] and the insanely sadistic, senseless murder of the town Witch (played to perfection by Giallo regular Florinda Bolkan) is maybe Fulci’s most emotive death scene.  For all of its bloodiness, for all of its sadism, there’s an unbelievable feeling of sensitivity here - greatly highlighted by the music of composer Riz Ortolani and vocalist Ornella Vanoni.  In a way it’s practically a metaphor for Fulci’s long-standing subtext - the innocent are helpless in a powerfully cruel and brutal world, where fighting back is useless; and dying with rigid, stony dignity is the best one can do - and as ugly as it is, there‘s something somehow beautiful about it.

One of the series' most important entries is certainly Mario Bava's BLOOD AND BLACK LACE.  Not only is it THE archetypical Giallo, it's also a delightfully nasty precursor to the body count or "Slasher" film.  Soaked in unbelievably lurid technicolor, this is perhaps the most essential of the GIALLO FEVER series to see on film.  It’s influence on Gialli to come (as well as just Horror) is immeasurable, and it’s effect on Argento’s work will be apparent to viewers even totally unfamiliar to Bava’s filmography.  Bava's other entry in the series is the original Italian version of THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (like many of these films, a different cut was released here in the US, with a different title; THE EVIL EYE), which in stark contrast to BLOOD AND BLACK LACE displays Bava’s incredible talent for black and white cinematography.  GIRL … is superbly playful, and uses its frightening setting to surprise the viewer with some very unexpected jokes.

Dario Argento is no doubt the most known filmmaker to the audience for this series, and BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE and DEEP RED are certainly two of his most beloved films.  These will be a treat in 35mm, DEEP RED being one of his most ambitious films for color and design, and BIRD WITH THE CRYSTAL PLUMAGE sorely lacking a proper screening.  And to further stun the typical desensitized fanboy, Malastrana rounds out this program with even more extremely elusive Gialli; Pupi Avati's HOUSE OF THE LAUGHING WINDOWS and Elio Perti's A QUIET PLACE IN THE COUNTRY.  And, apart from their rarity, the quality of these two stands up quite nicely to the famous counterparts on the bill.  And it doesn't stop there - There's also Fulci's erotic thriller PERVERSION STORY, the utter depravity of Sergio Martino's THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH (1971) and the sexy retro sleaze of Massimo Dallamano's WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SOLANGE? (1972) ... None of the films in this series will disappoint.

We here at the Freedom School commend Malastrana Films, and Yunsun and Alessio in particular, for their above and beyond programming.  Scroll down foe links to Malastrana Films, Anthology Film Archives, and showtimes ... GIALLO FEVER starts today … GET IT!

MALASTRANA FILMS:!/Giallo_Fever.html



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fear For Your Ears!

HEY SOUNDTRACK LOVERS! I'll be spinning a myriad of delicious Italian Soundtrack treats TOMORROW NIGHT to celebrate the beginning of this year's most astounding film series, GIALLO FEVER - details below!

Giallo Opening Party! at Mangiami 9.20.12
Sep. 20th 9:30PM til You Drop Dead
--DJ Mike Hunchback spins the wicked soundtracks of Giallo films.
--No cover! Enjoy Prosecco and beer on your dime.

Mangiami Bar/Restaurant
9 Stanton St.
(between Bowery & Chrystie St)
New York, NY 10002