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Thread: Umberto Lenzi

  1. #1

    Umberto Lenzi

    Call me kooky if you must but sometimes I think that Lenzi's name is more well known than the majority of his actual films, at least by more casual fans. What I mean by that is sure, everyone probably knows Nightmare City (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981) but I also think that because of his most well known titles Lenzi tends to get boxed into a corner the same way Deodato does by people who only know Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and The House on The Edge of the Park (1980) and like Deodato, Lenzi is one of the most versatile Italian directors.

    I think the series of thrillers Lenzi did in the late 60's-early 70's are some of the best to come from that period of Italian cinema, particularly the ones with Carroll Baker with Paranoia (1969) being the best I think. I'd also call films like Oasis of Fear (1971), Seven Bloodstained Orchids (1972) and Knife of Ice (1972) as certifiable classics. Spasmo (1974) has to be my favorite of all his films though. One of the most original giallos (if you can even call it that), its like a pre-Lynchian mindtrip.

    Lately I've come to appreciate The House of Witchcraft (1989) and Black Demons (1991). The former is one of the two entries Lenzi did for the House of Doom series with Fulci and the later seems like a breath of fresh air considering the oversaturation of bland zombies in recent times.

    Appreciate.
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  2. #2
    Scholar of Sleaze Paul L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Clark View Post
    Call me kooky if you must but sometimes I think that Lenzi's name is more well known than the majority of his actual films, at least by more casual fans. What I mean by that is sure, everyone probably knows Nightmare City (1980) and Cannibal Ferox (1981) but I also think that because of his most well known titles Lenzi tends to get boxed into a corner the same way Deodato does by people who only know Cannibal Holocaust (1980) and The House on The Edge of the Park (1980) and like Deodato, Lenzi is one of the most versatile Italian directors.
    Fully agree with this, Tom. That early 80s phase of his had a bit of a 'take the money and run' vibe, but he was far more versatile than that era of his filmography suggests - though I have no shame in admitting that I adore NIGHTMARE CITY.

    HOUSE OF WITCHCRAFT is pretty good. I've only seen BLACK DEMONS once, many years ago, but I remember enjoying it more than its reputation might suggest. I also have a soft spot for NIGHTMARE BEACH. However, it's his poliziesco pictures from the 1970s that I enjoy the most. The Western all'italiana GUN FOR 100 GRAVES is a film for which I also have a lot of time.
    'You know, I'd almost forgotten what your eyes looked like. Still the same. Pissholes in the snow'

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  3. #3
    Spoon! Dom D's Avatar
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    I'm not into Cannibal films and can take or leave the horror films so I just think of him as one the top half dozen Giallo directors. Orgasmo is an absolute favourite of mine running neck and neck with Blood And Lace as the best of the 60s. Oasis Of Fear is huge amounts of fun and the Baker gialli are all good too though Knife Of Ice bores me badly. It's a shame he didn't do more in the genre.
    "Never let the fact that they are doing it wrong stop you from doing it right." Hyman Mandell.

  4. #4
    An interesting director. Albeit a hack but with the right script and actors he could make something interesting. His best film is easily Almost Human. That is a must watch for any fan of Eurocult films.

    Cannibal Ferox is sleazy as fuck and is the embodiment of the Grindhouse Cannibal flick. Nightmare City is definitely 'so bad it's good' fun. I give him credit for one thing; Nightmare City is among the very few zombie movies that actually shows a city-wide take over. Think of all the zombie movies that are out there and just how many of them actually show a city-wide invasion. There's not too many. Even fewer if you discredit the ones that show it in the beginning (usually in a montage).

    House of Witchcraft and the other Houses of Doom film he made is interesting because they're very similar to Fulci's style. It feels like he wanted to copy Fulci and it's very bizarrely fascinating to watch.

    Ghost House is bad but it has a weird cheesy appeal. The Rifftrax for it is amazing. Easily on par with the very best MST3K riff like Manos.

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  5. #5
    Pallid Hands Andrew Monroe's Avatar
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    Love his Carroll Baker collaborations, particularly SO SWEET...SO PERVERSE, PARANOIA, and A QUIET PLACE TO KILL. I think KNIFE OF ICE (ICE OF KNIFE if you're nasty) is the weakest of them but still fairly solid. Not helped much by a really lame score. Those psychosexual gialli really ring my bell, very different from the later black-gloved killer types.

    I'm with Paul on A GUN FOR A HUNDRED GRAVES, tip top spaghetti that one, and one of my favorite Peter Lee Lawrence westerns. Love his crime films as well, he managed to keep cranking out solid work very late in the game like FROM CORLEONE TO BROOKLYN. GANG WAR IN MILAN has really grown on me with a decent release, love some of the set designs and colors in that film and the jazzy score.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Geten's Avatar
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    His adventure stuff from the 60ies are great!

  7. #7
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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    Mondo Macabro teasing an upcoming Lenzi release to be announced soon.

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  8. #8
    Waterfall Puncher Derrick King's Avatar
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    MM announcement:
    Umberto Lenzi’s An Ideal Place to Kill!

    DISC CONTENTS
    Brand new 2k restoration

    Region free

    FULLY UNCUT, and featuring x-rated inserts never before on video

    English and Italian language tracks, with newly translated optional English subtitles

    Brand new audio commentary by Eurocult enthusiasts Troy Howarth and Nathaniel Thompson

    Archival interview with Umberto Lenzi

    Original Italian trailer

    LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
    Reversible cover with both sides unique to this release and a booklet with brand new writing on the film by Italian film historian Roberto Curti. 1000 numbered copies in a red case.
    Goes on sale sometime in late January or early February. Stay tuned for that final pre-order date soon.

  9. #9
    Nice. I've never seen this, and am 87% sure I don't already have a copy lurking somewhere in a box.

  10. #10
    Administrator Ian Jane's Avatar
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