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Italian Gothic Movies Not to be Missed

Table of Contents

The first prototype of Italian gothic movies was Frankenstein’s Monster (1920) by Eugenio Testa. Long considered lost, it is commonly regarded as the first Italian horror film and the last until Riccardo Freda’s Vampires (1956) 3 1/2 decades later.

Throughout the Fascist period, middle-class “telefono bianco” comedies were all the rage in Italy, while strict censorship kept horror movies in check. In the years that followed, Italy made up for lost time; and the 1960s saw a wave of dark and violent Italian gothic movies.

Italian gothic movies were born almost as a game: Riccardo Freda bet with producers Ermanno Donati and Luigi Carpentieri that a film supernatural horror could also be shot in Italy. The two, not entirely persuaded, accept and give a small budget to Freda, known for his ability to shoot movies in a short time.

The production is problematic and Freda leaves the set in the middle of filming asking Mario Bava, director of photography, to finish the job. It’s about Vampires, the first horror movies of the then fertile Italian film market.

In ’57 the film lays the foundations of the category and integrates components of traditional horror such as the disturbing castle with components of pure modernity: the abominable murders are not in fact an ancient curse however the Duchess Du Grand is consumed by the fountain of youth and he injects the girls’ blood into his body. The film’s receipts are modest, 124 million lire, but the Italian gothic film genre is inaugurated.

Italian-Gothic-Movies

Freda’s film was the first but it took the worldwide success of Mario Bava’s Black Sunday to start this new era of Italian gothic movies. Adapted from Nikolai Gogol’s The Viy, Bava’s film follows the resurrection of a witch 17th-centuryA master of light, setting, and significant camera movement, from the outset Bava displayed a visual style that set him apart from American and British gothic filmmakers. The film’s monochrome photography has a dark, celestial allure, underlined by minutes of haunting surrealism.

Vampires (1957)

Vampires (1957) is an Italian gothic film directed by Riccardo Freda and Mario Bava as director of photography. The film is set in Paris and tells the story of a series of murders of young women, who are found drained of blood. The journalist Pierre Valentin (Carlo D’Angelo) investigates the case and becomes convinced that the perpetrator of the murders is a vampire.

Plot

The film begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman, found dead in her apartment. Police inspector M. Legrand (Dario Michaelis) investigates the case, but is unable to find any clues. Journalist Pierre Valentin, on the other hand, is convinced that the killer is a vampire.

Pierre begins to investigate on his own and discovers that the victim was seen in the company of a mysterious woman. The woman, who calls herself Giselle (Gianna Maria Canale), is the niece of a noblewoman, the Duchess De Grand. Pierre goes to the Duchess’s castle to investigate, but Giselle seduces him and gets him drunk.

The next morning, Pierre wakes up and finds that Giselle is gone. He returns to the castle to look for her and finds the body of a second victim. Pierre is convinced that Giselle is the vampire and that she is responsible for the murders.

Pierre confronts Giselle, who turns out to be a vampire. Giselle tries to kill Pierre, but he manages to defeat her. The film ends with Pierre telling the world the story of Giselle and the other vampires.

Commentary

The Vampires is an important film in the history of Italian horror cinema. The film is often considered the first true Italian horror film, even though it features elements of other genres, such as Gothic and science fiction.

The film has been praised for its dark and sinister atmosphere, its Gothic set design, and Mario Bava’s cinematography. The Vampires is a classic film of Italian horror cinema, which helped to define the genre.

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Black Sunday (1960)

Black Sunday (1960) is an Italian horror film directed by Mario Bava and based on the short story “Viy” by Nikolay Vasilyevich Gogol. The film is set in Moldavia in the 17th century and tells the story of a princess, Asa Vajda, who is sentenced to death for witchcraft and buried alive.

Plot

The film begins in the 17th century, in Moldavia. Princess Asa Vajda is sentenced to death for witchcraft and buried alive in a ruined chapel. Two hundred years later, Dr. Kruvajan and his assistant Gorobec stop at the chapel to repair their carriage. Kruvajan accidentally breaks a crystal that contains Asa’s body, freeing her from her tomb.

Asa is now a vampire and begins to kill the villagers. The first victim is a young woman, Katia, whom Asa kills and then assumes her form. Asa begins to seduce Kruvajan, who begins to suspect that something is wrong with her.

Commentary

Black Sunday is a classic horror film that has been praised for its eerie atmosphere, memorable horror sequences, and iconic performance by Barbara Steele. The film was also a commercial success, grossing over a million dollars at the box office.

Horror elements

Black Sunday features some classic horror elements, such as:

  • The presence of a vampire, a supernatural creature that feeds on human blood.
  • Scenes of murder and graphic violence.
  • Dark and eerie atmosphere.

Gothic elements

Black Sunday also features some Gothic elements, such as:

  • The setting in a remote and desolate village.
  • The presence of a Gothic castle.
  • The presence of supernatural elements, such as vampirism.

Performances

Barbara Steele gave a masterful performance as Asa Vajda, making her an iconic figure in horror cinema. Steele was able to make Asa both alluring and unsettling, creating a character who is both attractive and terrifying.

Mill of the Stone Women (1960)

The Mill of the Stone Women (1960) is an Italian horror film directed by Giorgio Ferroni and starring Pierre Brice, Scilla Gabel, Wolfgang Preiss, Dany Carrel, Liana Orfei, Marco Guglielmi, and Olga Solbelli.

Plot

Hans von Arnam is a young writer who travels to a Flemish village to study an ancient windmill. Professor Gregorius Wahl, the owner of the windmill, warns Hans to stay away from his daughter Elfi: the two of them are hiding a terrible secret.

However, Hans is captivated by Elfi and begins to court her. The girl tells him the story of the windmill, which was built by a group of stone women who sacrificed their lives to save the village from a terrible curse.

Hans discovers that Elfi is one of the stone women and that she was brought back to life by her father in order to take revenge on the villagers. Hans tries to save Elfi, but he is captured by the stone women.

In the end, Hans manages to defeat the stone women and save Elfi. The village is saved and Hans and Elfi can finally live happily ever after.

Commentary

The Mill of the Stone Women is a horror film that combines elements of Gothic and fantasy. The film is set in a Flemish village in the 17th century, which creates a dark and eerie atmosphere.

The film has been praised for its atmosphere, for its horror sequences, and for its performance by Scilla Gabel, who plays Elfi.

Gothic elements

The Mill of the Stone Women also features some Gothic elements, such as:

  • The setting in a remote and desolate village.
  • The presence of a Gothic castle.
  • The presence of supernatural elements, such as the stone women.

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962)

The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock (1962) is an Italian horror film directed by Riccardo Freda and starring Robert Flemyng, Maria Teresa Vianello, Barbara Steele, Harriet Medin, and Kurt Kasznar.

Plot

In 1885, Dr. Bernard Hichcock, a renowned surgeon, accidentally kills his wife Margaretha during a party. Years later, Hichcock returns home with his new wife, Cynthia, only to discover that Margaretha is not dead.

Margaretha has been transformed into a living mummy by an ancient curse and is seeking revenge on Hichcock. She begins to seduce and murder the young women living in the house, including Cynthia.

Hitchcock uncovers the truth about his wife and confronts her. Margaretha attempts to kill him, but he manages to defeat her and seal her in a lead coffin.

Commentary

“The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock” is a gothic horror film that combines elements of suspense and horror. The film is set in a dark and eerie atmosphere, creating a sense of tension and suspense.

The film has been praised for Barbara Steele’s performance as Margaretha. Steele successfully portrays the character as both alluring and terrifying, creating a figure that is simultaneously attractive and frightening.

Gothic Elements

“The Horrible Secret of Dr. Hichcock” also includes some gothic elements, such as:

  • The setting in a gothic castle.
  • The presence of supernatural elements, like Margaretha’s living mummy.

Black Sabbath (1963) 

Black Sabbath (1963) is a 1963 episodic film, directed by Mario Bava. It is a horror film that explores three different themes: revenge, vampirism and crime.

Plot

The Telephone

Helen, a young woman, is haunted by a mysterious phone call that rings late at night. The voice on the other end tells her that she is going to die.

Helen begins to investigate the identity of the man who is terrorizing her. She discovers that the man is her ex-lover, Frank, who died in a car accident. Frank is obsessed with Helen and wants to get revenge for his death.

Helen manages to defeat Frank and escape his revenge. However, the experience has left her deeply scarred and she will never be the same again.

The Wurdalak

Vladimir D’Urfe, a Russian nobleman, is on a journey with his family when he comes across a headless corpse with an inlaid dagger stabbed in the back. The corpse is that of a wurdalak, a vampire that feeds on the blood of the living.

Vladimir and his family are pursued by the wurdalak. The wurdalak are fierce and ruthless creatures who will stop at nothing to feed.

Vladimir and his family manage to defeat the wurdalak, but the experience has been terrible. Vladimir is changed forever and will never be the same again.

The Drop of Water

Mary, a nurse, is caring for an elderly woman, Marta, who suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Marta is convinced that a drop of water falling from the ceiling is a harbinger of death.

Mary tries to help Marta overcome her obsession, but it is a difficult challenge. Marta is convinced that the drop of water is a sign of fate and cannot be convinced otherwise.

Mary discovers that the drop of water is actually the blood of a man who has been killed by Marta. Marta is a murderer and the drop of water is a sign of her crime.

Mary manages to defeat Marta and stop her murder. However, the experience has been terrible and Mary is changed forever.

Commentary

Black Sabbath is a film that has influenced generations of horror directors. It is a classic of the horror genre that continues to be enjoyed by fans around the world.

Bava used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

Black Sabbath is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that is destined to remain a classic of the horror genre for many years to come.

Gothic Elements

Black Sabbath is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle, a cemetery, and an abandoned hospital.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as Frank, the vengeful ghost, the wurdalak, the cannibalistic vampires, and Marta, the psychopathic killer.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, revenge, vampirism, and murder.
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The Ghost (1963)

The Ghost (1963) is an Italian horror film directed by Riccardo Freda. It is a black and white film that tells the story of a young woman, Helen, who is haunted by a mysterious specter.

Plot

Helen is a young woman living in a villa with her boyfriend, Robert. One evening, Helen receives a phone call from a man who tells her that she is going to die. Helen is terrified and begins to investigate the identity of the man.

Helen discovers that the man is Frank, her ex-lover who died in a car accident. Frank is obsessed with Helen and wants to get revenge for his death. Frank begins to haunt Helen, appearing to her in visions and trying to kill her.

Helen tries to escape Frank, but she is increasingly terrified. In the end, Helen manages to defeat Frank and free herself from his obsession.

Commentary

The Ghost is a film that was influenced by the French film Diabolique (1955). Freda used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

The Ghost is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that is destined to remain a classic of Italian horror cinema for many years to come.

Gothic Elements

The Ghost is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic villa and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as Frank, the vengeful ghost.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, revenge, and demonic possession.

The Whip and the Body (1963)

The Whip and the Body (1963) is an Italian horror film directed by Mario Bava. It is a black and white film that tells the story of a young woman, Helen, who is haunted by the ghost of her father, a sadistic nobleman who mistreated her as a child.

Plot

Helen is a young woman living in a villa with her boyfriend, Robert. One evening, Helen receives a phone call from a man who tells her that she is going to die. Helen is terrified and begins to investigate the identity of the man.

Helen discovers that the man is her father, who died in a fire. Helen’s father was a sadistic nobleman who abused her as a child. Helen’s father has returned as a ghost to torment her and seek revenge on her for defying him.

Helen tries to escape her father, but she is increasingly terrified. In the end, Helen manages to defeat her father and free herself from his obsession.

Commentary

The Whip and the Body is a film that was influenced by the Italian film Black Sunday (1960). Bava used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

The Whip and the Body is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that is destined to remain a classic of Italian horror cinema for many years to come.

Gothic Elements

The Whip and the Body is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic villa and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as Helen’s father, the sadistic ghost.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, domestic violence, and demonic possession.

Danse Macabre (1964)

Danza macabra is a horror anthology film directed by Antonio Margheriti and Sergio Corbucci. It is a film that combines Gothic, noir, and fantasy elements.

Plot

Alan Foster is a journalist who is sent to a castle to interview the writer Edgar Allan Poe. Poe tells Alan three ghost stories, which are intertwined:

  • The princess story tells of a princess who is murdered by her lover and returns as a ghost to seek revenge.
  • The nobleman story tells of a nobleman who is murdered by his servant and returns as a ghost to haunt his family.
  • The journalist story tells of Alan Foster, who is possessed by a demon and begins to commit murders.

Commentary

The film is known for its dark and mysterious atmospheres, created by black-and-white photography and an eerie soundtrack. The film is also known for its scenes of violence and suspense, which have helped to make it a classic of horror cinema.

Gothic elements

Danza macabra contains numerous Gothic elements, including:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle, a cemetery, and an abandoned hospital.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as the ghost princess, the ghost nobleman, and the demon that possesses Alan Foster.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, revenge, vampirism, and demonic possession.

These Gothic elements contribute to creating an atmosphere of suspense and fear that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers.

The Long Hair of Death (1965)

The Long Hair of Death is a 1965 Italian horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a woman, Helen, who is haunted by the ghost of her mother, a witch who was put to death.

Plot

Helen is a young woman living in a castle with her boyfriend, Kurt. One evening, Helen receives a phone call from her mother, who tells her that she is about to die. Helen is terrified and begins to investigate the identity of the man.

Helen discovers that the man is her mother, who was accused of witchcraft and put to death. Helen’s mother has returned as a ghost to seek revenge on those who put her to death and to claim her daughter as her follower.

Helen tries to escape from her mother, but she is increasingly terrified. In the end, Helen manages to defeat her mother and free herself from her obsession.

Commentary

The Long Hair of Death is a film that was influenced by the Italian film The Whip and the Body (1963). Margheriti used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

The Long Hair of Death is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements that contribute to creating an atmosphere of suspense and fear.

Gothic elements

The Long Hair of Death is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as Helen’s mother, the witch ghost.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, revenge, witchcraft, and demonic possession.

An Angel for Satan (1966)

An Angel for Satan (1966) is an Italian horror film directed by Camillo Mastrocinque. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a young woman, Harriet, who is possessed by a demon.

Plot

Harriet is a young aristocrat who returns from boarding school and begins to show worrying signs of imbalance, up to the point of committing horrendous crimes.

Harriet is possessed by the demon of a statue that was found in a lake near her village. The demon is looking for a body in which to incarnate itself and Harriet is his ideal choice.

The demon pushes Harriet to commit increasingly heinous crimes, in a crescendo of violence and madness. In the end, Harriet is killed by the demon, who is finally defeated.

Commentary

An Angel for Satan is a film that was influenced by the Italian film The Whip and the Body (1963). Mastrocinque used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

An Angel for Satan is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements that contribute to creating an atmosphere of suspense and fear.

Gothic elements

An Angel for Satan is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as Harriet, the demon-possessed woman.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as demonic possession, violence, and madness.

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966)

Kill, Baby, Kill (1966) is an Italian horror film directed by Mario Bava. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a coroner who is sent to a remote village to perform an autopsy on the body of a young woman.

Plot

The coroner, called to a small town to perform an autopsy on the body of a young woman, discovers that this is just the latest in a long series of deaths. The investigation leads him to an old villa, which is believed to be haunted by ghosts.

The coroner begins to investigate the villa’s past and discovers that it is linked to a story of violence and revenge. The young woman who died is the daughter of a woman who was murdered under mysterious circumstances. Her ghost has returned to seek revenge on those who killed her mother.

Commentary

Kill, Baby, Kill is a film that is considered one of Mario Bava’s best works. It is a film that combines Gothic, noir, and fantasy elements.

The film is known for its dark and mysterious atmospheres, created by black-and-white photography and an eerie soundtrack. The film is also known for its scenes of violence and suspense, which have helped to make it a classic of horror cinema.

Gothic elements

Kill, Baby, Kill contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as the ghost of the young woman.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, revenge, vampirism, and demonic possession.

These Gothic elements contribute to creating an atmosphere of suspense and fear that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers.

It’s a story in which setting is everything, and the aesthetic result is far more superb than Six Women for the Assassin. Every aspect of the photography is expertly handled by Bava to achieve a striking and seductive impact.

The story is cleverly written and achieves the frightening results that the audience has come to expect. There are the same gothic clichés as always but treated in such a masterful way as to renew the genre. The film won applause from director Luchino Visconti at its premiere in Rome.

The Witch in Love (1966)

The Witch in Love (1966) is an Italian horror film directed by Damiano Damiani. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a young unemployed man who accepts a job from a mysterious widow. The man is to translate the erotic stories written by her late husband and he sets to work immediately. However, the situation soon becomes unsettling.

Plot

Sergio is a young unemployed man who accepts a job from a mysterious widow. The man is to translate the erotic stories written by her late husband and he sets to work immediately. However, the situation soon becomes unsettling.

Sergio discovers that the widow, Consuelo, is a witch who is using her stories to lure young men into her trap. The witch is looking for a companion and hopes to find her soulmate among the young men who will read her stories.

Sergio becomes increasingly fascinated by Aura, Consuelo’s niece. Aura is a beautiful and mysterious young woman, and Sergio begins to believe that she is the witch.

Commentary

The Witch in Love is a film that was influenced by the Italian film The Witches’ Ball (1961). Damiani used innovative techniques to create an atmosphere of suspense and fear. For example, he used black-and-white photography to create a Gothic and eerie atmosphere. He also used editing and lighting techniques to create shock and surprise effects.

The Witch in Love is a film that is still capable of scaring and unsettling viewers. It is a film that contains numerous Gothic elements that contribute to creating an atmosphere of suspense and fear.

Gothic elements

The Witch in Love contains numerous Gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a Gothic castle and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as the witch and her niece Aura.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as witchcraft, demonic possession, and violence.

A Quiet Place in the Country (1968)

A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) is an Italian horror film directed by Elio Petri. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a painter who moves to a country villa to find inspiration.

Plot

Leonardo Ferri, a painter in creative crisis, decides to move to a country villa to find inspiration. The villa has been uninhabited for years and Leonardo is the only one living there.

Soon, Leonardo begins to be tormented by disturbing nightmares and visions. He begins to believe that the villa is haunted by the ghost of a countess who, centuries before, was murdered by her husband.

Leonardo begins to investigate the villa’s past and discovers that the countess was a woman obsessed with sex. Leonardo begins to believe that the countess’s ghost is looking for a victim and that he is the chosen one.

In the end, Leonardo manages to defeat the countess’s ghost and find peace.

Commentary

A Quiet Place in the Country is a film that is considered one of the masterpieces of Italian cinema. It is a film that combines elements of horror, mystery, and thriller.

The film is known for its eerie and claustrophobic atmosphere. The country villa, where the story takes place, is a dark and oppressive place, which contributes to create a sense of suspense and fear.

The film is also known for its masterful performances. Franco Nero is perfect in the role of the tormented painter, while Vanessa Redgrave is chilling in the role of the countess’s ghost.

Gothic elements

A Quiet Place in the Country contains numerous gothic elements. These elements include:

  • Dark and oppressive settings: The film is set in dark and oppressive locations, such as a country villa and a cemetery.
  • Mysterious and unsettling characters: The characters in the film are often mysterious and unsettling, such as the countess’s ghost.
  • Macabre and unsettling themes: The film explores macabre and unsettling themes, such as death, demonic possession, and violence.

Spirits of the Dead (1968)

Spirits of the Dead (1968) is a collective Italian film directed by Federico Fellini, Louis Malle, and Roger Vadim, loosely inspired by three short stories by Edgar Allan Poe: William Wilson, Never Bet the Devil Your Head, and Metzengerstein.

William Wilson

In an ancient German city, a young aristocrat, William Wilson, is tormented by his doppelgänger, who seems to be his conscience. The doppelgänger mocks and challenges him, pushing him to commit increasingly evil acts. In the end, Wilson finds himself dueling his doppelgänger, who kills him.

Never Bet the Devil Your Head

A businessman, Charles Baudelaire, makes a pact with the devil to succeed in life. The devil grants him everything he desires, but in return, Baudelaire must give up his soul. Baudelaire becomes rich and powerful, but he is always haunted by doubt and guilt. In the end, he commits suicide.

Metzengerstein

A young noblewoman, Elizabeth Metzengerstein, is obsessed with a black horse, Metzengerstein. The horse is possessed by a demon, which takes possession of Elizabeth and leads her to her death.

Commentary

Spirits of the Dead is an experimental and visionary film that explores the dark side of human nature. The film is characterized by innovative directing and a dreamlike and disturbing atmosphere.

Themes

Spirits of the Dead explores several themes, including:

  • Duality: The theme of duality is present in all three stories. In William Wilson, the protagonist is tormented by his doppelgänger, which represents his dark side. In Never Bet the Devil Your Head, the protagonist makes a pact with the devil, which represents his evil side. In Metzengerstein, the protagonist is obsessed with a black horse, which represents her animalistic side.
  • Sin and redemption: The theme of sin and redemption is present in William Wilson and Never Bet the Devil Your Head. In William Wilson, the protagonist is searching for redemption, but in the end, he is killed by his doppelgänger. In Never Bet the Devil Your Head, the protagonist is a businessman who makes a pact with the devil to succeed in life. In the end, he commits suicide, trying to atone for his sins.
  • Love and death: The theme of love and death is present in Metzengerstein. The protagonist, Elizabeth, is obsessed with a black horse, which represents her passion for life. In the end, the horse leads her to her death.
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The Doll of Satan (1969)

The Doll of Satan (1969) is an Italian horror film directed by Ferruccio Casapinta. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a young woman who inherits an antique doll from her aunt.

Plot

Elisabeth, a young woman looking for work, receives a letter from an aunt she hasn’t seen in years. The aunt, who lives in an ancient castle, is dead and has left her an inheritance: a doll.

Elisabeth travels to the castle and discovers that the doll is cursed. The doll is possessed by an evil spirit that begins to torment Elisabeth.

The doll manifests itself in various ways, such as appearances and disturbing noises. Elisabeth begins to have hallucinations and lose her sanity.

In the end, Elisabeth discovers that the doll is connected to a dark secret in her family’s past.

Commentary

The Doll of Satan is a classic horror film that is still able to scare and unsettle viewers. The film is characterized by effective directing and a macabre and unsettling atmosphere.

Gothic themes

The Doll of Satan explores several themes, including:

  • Demonic possession: The doll is possessed by an evil spirit that torments Elisabeth.
  • Insanity: Elisabeth begins to lose her sanity because of the doll.
  • Family secret: The doll is connected to a dark secret in Elisabeth’s family’s past.

Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)

The Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970) is an Italian horror film directed by Mario Bava. It is a black-and-white film that tells the story of a businessman who is a serial killer.

Plot

John Harrington, a successful businessman, is a serial killer who is obsessed with death. John kills young women and decapitates them, keeping their heads as trophies.

John is married to Mildred, a woman who has no idea of his secrets. John tries to hide his identity as a serial killer, but his murderous urges become increasingly strong.

In the end, John is caught by the police and executed.

Commentary

The Hatchet for the Honeymoon is a classic horror film that is still able to scare and unsettle viewers. The film is characterized by effective directing and a macabre and unsettling atmosphere.

Gothic themes

The Hatchet for the Honeymoon explores several gothic themes, including:

  • Demonic possession: John is possessed by a demon that drives him to commit violent acts.
  • Insanity: John is a mad man who is unable to control his murderous urges.
  • Violence: The film is characterized by scenes of graphic violence, which can be disturbing for some viewers.

They Have Changed Their Face (1971)

In this allegory on industrialism, the director of a well-known car company welcomes an employee to his vacation home in the countryside for offer him a promotion. The old man is not what he seems and the promotion has a price to pay.

Director: Corrado Farina. Starring: Adolfo Celi, Geraldine Hooper, Giuliano Esperati, Francesca Modigliani. The film won the Pardo d’oro for best first film at the Locarno International Film Festival in 1971. At times, the story falls apart along the way and gets stuck with predictable political and social discourses. Had it been made on a larger budget it could have been fascinating.

The Red Lady Kills Seven Times (1972)

2 sisters acquire their family castle, which is said to be haunted by their bloodthirsty ancestor, a dark-haired woman in a red robe called the Red Queen, said to take 7 lives every century. Director: Emilio Miraglia. Starring: Barbara Bouchet, Ugo Pagliai, Marina Malfatti, Marino Masé.

The Night of the Devils (1972)

The patriarch of a wealthy family fears that one day he will appear in the form of a vampire. If that happens, he warns his family not to let him go back to his house no matter how much he begs them. Director: Giorgio Ferroni. Protagonists: Gianni Garko, Agostina Belli, Roberto Maldera, Cinzia De Carolis. Despite the surrealism of the opening scenes the film has the problems of a hasty and low-budget horror production: imperfect direction, mechanical acting, some scenes with an implausible night effect.

Lisa and the Devil (1974)

A traveler spends the night in a dilapidated Spanish holiday home held in the supernatural grip of an eccentric butler, who seems a representation of the Devil he had seen on an old fresco. Director: Mario Bava. Starring: Telly Savalas, Elke Sommer, Sylva Koscina, Alessio Orano. Showcasing dreamlike imagery and a lyrical story, it may not be a very easy film to watch – its story leaves audiences wondering long after the film is over. Magical, frightening and captivating, Lisa and the Devil is a treat for gothic horror fans.

Footprints on the Moon (1975)

Alice Cespi, who lives alone in Rome, is tortured by frequent headaches from a film she saw as a young woman called “Footprints on the Moon on the Moon”, in which an astronaut is sentenced to die on the moon by an evil man. She is fired from her job and back in her apartment she discovers a postcard showing an old hotel in a place called Garma. He decides to go to Garma, a Turkish island, and books an almost empty hotel. Locals say they saw her a few days earlier, but she had long red hair. Directors: Luigi Bazzoni, Mario Fanelli. Starring: Florinda Bolkan, Peter McEnery, Nicoletta Elmi, Caterina Boratto.

The House with Laughing Windows (1976)

Stefano, a young conservator, is commissioned to preserve a questionable mural located in the church of a remote village. Director: Pupi Avati. Protagonists: Lino Capolicchio, Francesca Marciano, Gianni Cavina, Giulio Pizzirani. Fans of classic Italian horror movies may find this gothic film different from the many titles in this film genre, but in this very reason it surpasses its contemporaries: a persistent and frustrating sense of dread expands almost intolerably.

The Forbidden Room (1977)

Unusual occasions keep happening in an old Venetian estate, and it’s quickly apparent that something strange is in the attic. Director: Dino Risi. Protagonists: Vittorio Gassman, Catherine Deneuve, Danilo Mattei, Anicée Alvina.

Seven notes in black (1977)

A clairvoyant finds a skeleton in a wall of her partner’s house and tries to discover the reality of what happened to the victim. Director: Lucio Fulci. Starring: Jennifer O’Neill, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marc Porel, Gianni Garko. An extremely effective little thriller, expertly directed and gripping. The final scenes are really scary. This is an experimental horror film, much more interesting than many modern horror movies.

Shock (1977)

A couple is frightened in their new house haunted by the cruel ghost of the lady’s former spouse, who has their child. Directors: Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava. Starring: Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, David Colin Jr., Ivan Rassimov. A fast-paced story about a haunted house, it uses fewer visual and sound effects than Bava’s other movies, and is also less scary and somewhat predictable. Perhaps one of the least successful movies of the Italian master of gothic film.

Suspiria (1977)

An American newbie from a distinguished German ballet academy realizes the school is a front for something sinister amid a series of grisly murders. Director: Dario Argento. Starring: Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci, Miguel Bosé. Dario Argento is a director who knows exactly how to make a thriller.

The film nails you to your chair, keeps you tense, puts doubts in your head. It is a captivating work, classy, ​​strange and very bold, with a splendid photography by Vittorio Storaro. Dramatic and enthralling, if undermined by stilted arguments, Suspiria is mostly blood and fear. The plot is kept to a minimum and compared to his previous movies the director prefers to focus on aesthetics.

Hotel Fear (1978)

A mother and her son run a hotel during the last stages of World War II. The mother suddenly dies and the little girl is left alone with her seedy visitors. Director: Francesco Barilli. Starring: Luc Merenda, Leonora Fani, Francisco Rabal, Jole Fierro.

cult-movie

Beyond the Darkness (1979)

A distraught young taxidermist exhumes his recently deceased wife, takes her body to his family’s rented house and continues to embalm her remains, with the help of her strange maid. His fits of madness are just beginning.

Director: Joe D’Amato. Starring: Kieran Canter, Cinzia Monreale, Franca Stoppi, Sam Modesto. One of D’Amato’s best movies in the gothic horror genre, even if it still remains in the trash low budget cinema basket. The director approaches the subject with a specific amount of flair not found in comparable work.

Le Strelle nel Fosso (1979)

A beautiful lady is revered by the peasants of a province in northern Italy. Men tell each other stories of birth, death, love and the cycle of life to have fun together. Director: Pupi Avati. Protagonists: Lino Capolicchio, Gianni Cavina, Carlo Delle Piane, Roberta Paladini. Pupi Avati returns to the horror and fantasy inspiration of his first movies but along the way he loses the genuineness of his previous works and makes an often manneristic film.

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Indiecinema