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Italian Gothic Horror

The Italian gothic horror cinema of the '60s was hypnotically beautiful. Luminous fogs rolled through graveyards. Elegant tracking shots pulled us down musty subterranean passages. Crypt doors exploded and witches were burned at the stake while they swore vengeance. With a rich, baroque visual style that recalled silent cinema, Italian gothic horror spoke of repressed desires and ominous dark powers that lurked in the shadows.

Join us in the following group of articles as we examine the films and filmmakers that made Italian gothic horror one of the most exciting forms of horror cinema.


IntroductionAn Introduction
This introduction gives you a brief overview of Italian horror, its key films, and its major filmmakers.

Mario BavaMario Bava  
Alain Silver and James Ursini examine the artistry of Mario Bava. [Plus, see animated GIFs of scenes from Black Sunday, What, and Hercules in the Haunted World]

Rabid Dogs: The Ironic Eye of Mario Bava  
Tim Lucas examines a previously unreleased movie by Mario Bava, Rabid Dogs--now available on DVD. In addition, Mr. Lucas looks at death and irony in the career of Mario Bava.  NEW!

The Horrible Dr. HichcockThe Horrible Dr. Hichcock   (Riccardo Freda, 1962)
Glenn Erickson considers the sexual politics of Riccardo Freda's hymn to necrophilia. [Plus, see an animated GIF from The Horrible Dr. Hichcock.]

The Devil's Commandment   (Riccardo Freda, 1957)
Italian horror began with this classic by director Riccardo Freda. Article by Gary Johnson  NEW!

Castle of BloodCastle of Blood  (Antonio Margheriti, 1962)
The dead must relive their last hour in Antonio Margheriti's Castle of Blood. Article by Gary Johnson.  NEW!

Nightmare CastleNightmare Castle  (Mario Caiano, 1965)
Barbara Steele stars in a double role in Mario Caiano's Nightmare Castle. Article by Chris Fujiwara.

The Bloody Pit of Horror  (Massimo Pupillo, 1965)
Mickey Hargitay stars as the Crimson Executioner in this sadistic ode to torture.  NEW!

Italian Horror of the SeventiesItalian Horror of the Seventies  
Robert Firsching examines Italian horror of the seventies and discusses Deep Red, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Zombie, and several others.

SuspiriaSuspiria  (Dario Argento, 1976)
Robert Firsching examines Dario Argento's masterpiece of horror.

Italian horror Web links  
You want more information about Italian horror? Here are the places to go on the Web.


And from past issues of Images, the following "In Focus" sections are still available:

from issue #4
Cliffhangers: the Golden-Age of Serials, featuring Flash Gordon, Spy Smasher, Tiger Woman, and many others.
By Grant Tracey and Gary Johnson.

from issue #3
Stars: Some Historical Reflections on the Paradoxes of Stardom in the American Film Industry, 1910-1960.
By Brian Gallagher.

from issue #2
Ten Shades of Noir: A Review of Film Noir Classics.
By Jack Hagopian, Grant Tracey, and Gary Johnson. Plus, Alain Silver writes about the ending of Kiss Me Deadly.

from issue #1
Hollywood Stars of the '30s, featuring James Cagney, Joan Crawford, and Barbara Stanwyck.
By Gary Johnson and Grant Tracey.


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