Halloween White Elephant: Four Flies on Grey Velvet (1971)

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From Brian Salisbury–“Knowing Noah’s proclivities as well as his blind spots, I continued with the theme of Italian horror. Noah seems to know Fulci pretty well, but that’s about it. I don’t blame him, Fulci is my favorite as well and Argento can get a little flowery with his more supernatural stuff. But his giallo films are fantastic and I wanted to expose Noah to that side of him as a filmmaker.” 

If you’re a horror fan you’re almost instantly required to be a fan of Dario Argento. Well, that seems to be the general consensus in conversations I’ve had. Unfortunately for my status, I’ve never really found his movies to be all that compelling. I believe the man produces some beautiful looking films and his influence on how horror films are shot is undeniable. I’m also a fan of the music he chooses for his movies, whether it’s working with Goblin or Ennio Morricone, the soundtracks are nearly always a treat. And to be fair the man helped to write The Church, which I already stated is a favorite of mine. However, when Argento delves into the realm of gialli he loses my attention completely. To be fair, I’ve really not seen a compelling giallo as of yet. I’ll keep looking.

Halloween White Elephant: The Church (1989)

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From Brian Salisbury–“I assigned Noah THE CHURCH for a couple of reasons. The first is I know he’s not really big on Italian horror, which is ultimately chief among his many character flaws. In all seriousness, I know that our intimate horror circle (a term having almost nothing to do with masturbation) loves the DEMONS franchise by Lamberto Bava and THE CHURCH is (un)officially considered the third chapter of that story. I am interested to see if I can trick Noah into liking this Italian horror film via the similarities it shares with an Italian horror film he actually enjoys. Because gift-giving, in the end, is all about trickery and hoodwinking (again not a self love term).”

When Brian assigned me The Church I was actually quite excited. I’ll be honest here and say that while I do enjoy a lot of Italian horror films, I’m not quite as enamored with the giallos that many horror fans are so fond of. I much prefer my horror like I like my whiskey, straight, on the rocks…with a lot of blood…and no mystery nonsense. Let’s just say The Church is right up my alley with its critical eye on the religious persecution of supposed witches, demonic insanity, self-mutilation and shithouse rat crazy ending.

FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET Review. [A Year in Film]

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Written and Directed by Dario Argento, 1971

Welcome back to AYIF.  I have often lauded the questionable merits of Italian cinema as it pertains to my penchant for shitty post-apocalyptic knock-off films, but the truth is that there are some really fantastic Italian films.  Sure, for the film snobbish among us, we could quickly cite the likes of Fellini and Antonioni, but for me the horror genre is really where it’s at for great Italian films.  Sure, like my beloved knockoff post-apocalyptic films, there are better examples than others and there are the stinkers that are watchable in spite of themselves.  But there are also some truly exemplary titles that horror aficionados talk about ad nauseum; for good reason.  There are directors whose names get bandied about with word like legend and genius.  One of those names is Dario Argento, and today I will be watching his FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET.

FOUR FLIES ON GREY VELVET is about a young drummer named Roberto who begins to notice a strange man following him everywhere.  The stranger, an old man with the fashion sense of a Blues Brother, appears at his band rehearsals, outside clubs, and putting along behind him in what will go down in history as one of the slowest car chases ever filmed.  Finally, Roberto reaches the breaking point and confronts Mario Creepypants in a deserted opera house.  A couple of painfully awkward dance steps later, Creepypants ends up stabbed and also dead while Roberto is left trying to figure out the logistics of the apparent murder.  All of this is being captured on film by a freaky-faced cherub in the balcony.  What follows is a terrifying tale of blackmail, fear, and blood.

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