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Love horror movies and TV? So do we. Walk down our track and enter our cabin of horrors…

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Giallo

31 Days of Halloween – Day 6 – Suspiria (1977)

Dario Argento’s masterpiece is one of the finest horror films ever made – an audio and visual feast and completely, completely mad. American ballet student Suzy (Jessica Harper) travels to Munich, Germany, to attend a prestigious ballet school. The ballet school is run by – well, that’d be telling.

With the haunting soundtrack of Goblin – referred to as ‘The Goblins’ in the film’s opening credits – and some really horrible trademark Argento gory moments (he really loves lingering shots of stabbing beautiful women, often playing ‘the glove’ himself), see Suspiria before the US remake is done and dusted. Nothing can touch this classic, and a remake is sacrilege.

STAPLE ARGENTO MOMENTS?: Many, from the blind man through to brunettes

GORE RATING: 4/5

SCARES: 4/5

DISTURBIA: 4/5

TOTAL HALLOWEEN VIEWING RATING: 10/10

Watch it for: Everything is sweet, atmospheric madness – and such a thing of beauty

Watch out for: The barbed wire room. Ouch 

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The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave (1971)

The second film in the recently released double bill Dual-Format Blu-Ray and DVD ‘Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia’, this is a kinky little affair with great style and glorious giallo thrills.

Anthony Steffan plays Alan, an aristocrat who has been released from a mental institution following the death of his wife Evelyn. Evelyn was a redhead and it turns out Alan has quite the fetish for them, as he lures redheaded prostitutes and strippers back to his English mansion to torture and kill them. He does it as revenge for seeing Evelyn having sex with another man and to deal with his own grief and guilt. The scenes in his mansion are still quite shocking, even by today’s standards, and uncomfortable to watch.

Alan then meets Gladys (Marina Malfatti), another redhead, whom he marries and she’s in  the heart of the danger. There’s some spectacular shots of Evelyn – like an undead siren – beckoning Alan to her tomb and a build-up to a gruesome conclusion.

It’s an intelligent entry in the Italian giallo collection, and Miraglia is a solid director with a talent for beautiful filmmaking which makes his movies a joy to watch. Once again, Arrow Video releases another classic. Don’t miss too the spectacular Go-go dancing scene – so groovy!

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Evelyn rises

Watch out for: Alan’s very creepy Room of Pain

Review: The Red Queen Kills Seven Times (1972)

Recently released by Arrow Video as part of the double bill Dual-Format Blu-Ray and DVD ‘Killer Dames: Two Gothic Chillers by Emilio P. Miraglia’, The Red Queen Kills Seven Times is a captivating Italian giallo movie that explores a hundred year-cycle curse from a family painting where a Red Queen rises to…you’ve guessed it… kill seven times.

Family members Kitty (Barbara Bouchet) and Franziska (Marina Malfatti) suspect the curse after the death of Kitty’s grandfather, and that the back-from-the-dead Red Queen could be Kitty’s deceased sister Evelyn. The grandfather had told Kitty and Evelyn about the curse when they were children –  always fighting – and when older in another fight with Kitty, Evelyn accidentally hits her head and dies in a moat. Kitty blames herself for her sister’s death but the family covers it up as ‘Evelyn has gone to America’. Has Evelyn now risen again to take her revenge? Was the curse inevitable?

The film is stylish and thrilling, with some truly memorable shots from Kitty’s dreams of how the Red Queen strikes. It ramps up well with suspense towards the final big reveal, and there’s some elaborate deaths for the Red Queen’s victims including a man being dragged along and squashed on the side of the road by a car, and a nasty end for a fashion house mogul.

A solid part of any giallo collection, The Red Queen…is well worth checking out.

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Some great dream sequences

Watch out for: The Red Queen’s POV – she’s coming!

Review: Death Walks at Midnight (1972)

Featuring in Arrow Video’s ‘Death Walks Twice’ recently released box set, Death Walks at Midnight is a thrilling giallo classic that benefits from an intriguing plot, a truly horrifying centerpiece of a nailed glove, and the fabulous lead of Susan Scott/Nieves Navarro as model Valentina.

Luciano Ercoli’s direction is top class, with some great action sequences, humour (the nightclub scenes are brilliant) and focus on Scott/Navarro’s expressive eyes.

Valentina takes a hallucinogenic drug, where she visualises a vicious murder of a young woman with a nailed glove and she also clearly sees who the killer is. Is the murder all in her mind, or did it actually happen? As it starts to come together, Valentina becomes the target of a murder plot which has twists and turns around every corner.

As with Death Walks on High Heels, …Midnight’s draw is predominantly due to Scott/Navarro’s ability to keep us on the edge of our seats. She makes us care, and she’s a pleasure to watch. The style of …Midnight is also glorious, with some stunning backdrops. It’s a real touch of class, with some gory moments – you’ll have nightmares about the horrible glove *shudder*.

TOTAL RATING: 8/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: The nailed glove

Watch out for: THE NAILED GLOVE – UGHHHHHHH!

Review: Death Walks on High Heels (1971)

Luciano Ercoli’s giallo classic is released by Arrow Video today as part of the ‘Death Walks Twice’ box set, with Death Walks at Midnight (1972) also in the set.

It’s a joy to watch again, as we follow the stunning exotic dancer Nicole (Nieves Navarro, starring under her stage name of Susan Scott) as she’s involved in a plot to recover some stolen diamonds from her murdered jewel thief father, which puts her life under threat.

With the black-clad murderer with piercing blue eyes after her, Nicole flees to London with her new rich lover but she can’t get away from the stalker.

Death Walks…is kitsch, classy and sexy, with some great dialogue – in an English country pub, a man remarks to an old lady about the sex life of Nicole and her lover during the day, to which the old lady replies ‘what do they get up to at night?!’ – and it’s genuinely a lot of fun. As far as giallo goes, there’s some genre-pleasing moments that fans will enjoy and a solid, twist and turns plot that does bring a surprise at the end.

It’s worth watching for Navarro/Scott’s wonderful dancing alone.

TOTAL RATING: 7/10

GORE RATING: 2/5

SCARES: 2/5

DISTURBIA: 2/5

Watch it for: Nieves Navarro/Susan Scott is captivating

Watch out for: What you see through the keyhole

 

 

Death Walks Twice – box set release from Arrow

Two Luciano Ercoli giallo classics from the early 70s are available from 28 March 2016 on a special box set release from Arrow Video.

Death Walks Twice features Death Walks on High Heels (1971) and Death Walks at Midnight (1972), both starring the captivating Nieves Navarro (billed under her adopted screen name of Susan Scott).

The box set is released on both Blu-ray and DVD, with reviews of each film coming up on Dead By Words soon.

RIP Keith Emerson (1944 – 2016)

InfernoEmerson

The phenomenal Keith Emerson of ELP (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) passed away yesterday. The prog legend scored the soundtrack for Dario Argento’s classic Inferno (1980). It’s a masterpiece soundtrack. He will be very much missed, thank you for the music Keith.

Suspiria remake – latest rumours

Dario Argento’s seminal Suspiria is one of DBW’s favourite horror films, so we’re treating the remake rumours with a huge ‘NOOOOOOOOO’. It’s SO not needed. There’s no way you can top Suspiria or Argento.

I Am Love director Luca Guadagnino is apparently the new director behind it, with Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson linked to the cast. It’s going to be set in Berlin in 1977. No word yet on the ballet school. Or all the rain. Or the ‘Three Mothers’ aspect.

Excuse us as we cry into our room full of barbed wire.

 

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