Ade Salmon has one of the best design senses in the comics biz, and that is a fact. Toss in the coloring ability to make static images leap out of the page and you get pure gold. While you can find his work in 2000 A.D. and various Dr. Who projects (I still have to find his Cybermen tales)… I would point everyone that loves horror film in the direction of Salmon/Tinnell’s nifty TERRY SHARP book available here. Some interesting Pinnacle selections here…check ’em out!
1. ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST.
The first of three spags on my list – both my choices come from different ends of the spectrum. This is Leone’s finest vision of the American ideal – it’s a sprawling spectacular , beautifully filmed , bridging the gap between
both the Italian and American visions. Fonda is superbly cast out of his usual character and brings inestimable weight to the film. Charles Bronson’s enigmatic Harmonica *could* be the perfect anti-hero. However I think
ultimately Sergio’s film belongs to Claudia Cardinale – the only character able to adapt to the changes taking place.
Placing this second pretty sums up where my heart is in italian film ( for the most part). DJANGO is the flip side of OUATITW. It’s definitely trashy and stars the ultimate italian spaghetti star – Franco Nero. Rugged , sparkling blue-eyes , with a smile to make the ladies drop their pants. The opening image of a lone Nero dragging a coffin through the mudflats is indeliably etched on my mind – it’s one of spaghetti’s truly iconic moments and sums up the genre to me. Stylish , viscereal and bloody – DJANGO is the best of the best dirty spaghettis and should really share my number one spot.
3. FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET.
Easily my favourite Argento. I love the pulsing opening drum beat – Michael Brandon’s hipness – the sci-fi overtones and the great gay detective. Never boring – the scene where a character gets locked in the cemetery is straight out of Val Lewton. FOUR FLIES is frankly special.
4. THE HOUSE THAT SCREAMED
It’s the best Spanish horror I’ve ever seen – I still shudder at the finale. Looks like a Hammer film but plays with a distinct continental psychological edge and looks fucking gorgeous. I used to think that all Spanish horrors
were like Naschy’s werewolf outings – a bit gonzo and daft – this set me straight I’m happy to say.My sort of sangria.
5. SHORT NIGHT OF THE GLASS DOLLS
I think this was either the first eurotrash film I ever saw – but that might of been DAUGHTERS OF DARKNESS. No matter – SHORT NIGHT gave me hope all the genre would be as involved and interesting . I still wonder if it’s truly a giallo – it skirts the genre but seems a little different. The idea of a man paralysed ( but awake) and awaiting vivisection! – adds immense drama to it.The occult subplot adds to the chill ROSEMARY’S BABY chill factor.
6. PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES.
First time I watched this I wasn’t that impressed. Since then I’ve learned to love this like no other Bava. The black leather sixties sci-fi chique places this on a plinth of it’s own. The film is bathed – I say bathed in Bava’s paintstrokes and held together by the black leather glue. It’s also confusing at times – yet keeps resurfacing to impress. A friend of mine fell asleep 20 minutes before the end – promptly woke up about a minute before
the credits and declared it a great film! Yeah it is…
7. DEVIL’S NIGHTMARE
Erica Blanc – wow. This is my hot tottie choice – her succubus is the best going. This is the perfect gothic cliche film – it’s suitably lush to look at , has a cheesy plot and revolves around the star. Doesn’t get better for this kinda thing.
8. NON HO SONNO (SLEEPLESS)
This could never be classed as Dario’s finest film – in fact it’s lack of class direction and slasheresque violence mark it out as downright cynical. Max Von Sydow brings an anchor of gravitas to the film amidst the violence.
Death by English horn particularly rough going. I can’t tell you exactly why I liked this so much – maybe the thriller aspect , maybe the lack of style -though there is some great rainy scenes. I just rate this above the better
ackowledged of his ouevre.
9. MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN.
I was really excited to finally see the great release by Mondo Macabre of Giogio Ferroni’s 1960 gothic. It looks lovely and has a typically sluggish pace. It very much reminds me of those 1950’s wax museum films which were
always creepy. A good quality disc made a solid film really exciting.
10. DEATH RIDES A HORSE
I just couldn’t leave a Cleef off the list. I love his SABATA persona – but this is my favourite of his spags. It’s got a pulsing pace , is rather psychotronic in many sequences and is very well made. Even John Philip Law’s
woodeness is worked to effect – a brilliant example of the genre.