Apr 2, 2008

Hanging Shadows: Perspectives on Italian Horror Cinema


Italian horror cinema (and Italian cinema in general) has always been something very magical to me. Its easy to imagine George A. Romero behind the camera directing the wretched disappointment that is Land of the Dead, but I can only fantasize about Lucio Fulci directing Don’t Torture a Duckling. Italian horror cinema has always seemed an old country away.

Director Paolo Fazzini introduced me to this world with his important documentary, Hanging Shadows: Perspectives on Italian Horror Cinema. With the exception of a couple of books, Italian Horror Cinema has been vaguely recognized as a merited part of film history. Native Italian countryman Fazzini exposes the men behind the cameras and other plays involved. He does this in a way pertaining to many aspects of Italian Horror Cinema. Between interviews, various killing sequences are featured through Hanging Shadows. Made for the documentary, these murders pay deliberate homage to the Italian maestros discussed.


Such things are discussed as whether or not Lucio Fulci was an artist or an artisan, Ruggero Deodato’s contempt for the media, and many directors self-admitted fear. New directors also discuss their problems with getting films made in Italy. Italy seems to be having a serious problem in getting financiers for Horror films today. It would be great to see Michele Soavi release a new film every year. These interviews result in new and different perspectives when watching your favorite zombie, cannibal, or giallo masterpiece.


Hanging Shadows soundtrack is a variety of Italian hip hop beats and rap songs. Although I expected a soundtrack by Goblin, I found it to be fitting and complimentary of the documentary. Its flows well with its smooth and seamless editing. This makes for a much more interesting view in comparison to short documentaries and interviews found on most DVDs.

Like most Italian films, the dialogue is very fast in comparison to the subtitles. You may end up rewinding scenes to see what Ruggero Deodato said, but it is well worth it. Nothing said in Hanging Shadows is insignificant or unimportant to any fan of Italian Horror films.


Film school is a waste of money when you can learn about film history by watching documentaries like Hanging Shadows. Besides, you most likely aren’t going to find classes with an Italian Horror focus. I recommend Hanging Shadows to any fan of Italian cinema. It's not often that you get to hear the subversive maestros of the macabre speak!


-Ty E

1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...

Apart from its horror films Italian cinema has always been a laughable joke (although still no-where near as appalling as British crap obviously). By the way, i thought "Land of The Dead" was a superb film and the fact that you didn`t really gets on my bloody nerves.