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POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, September 27, 2012 Share
My parents had just bought a VCR. The one where the top would eject up, like a pilot fleeing a wrecked plane, and you stuck the tape in and had to push down hard and hope that it would play. I remember the big buttons and spending whole Saturday afternoons rewinding and watching again and again my favorite scenes of blood drenched carnage. Even though it was an artifact left over from the 70ís, just the fact that you could watch a movie anytime you wanted was golden to me. I didnít have to stay up late to catch something on cable; I could set my timer instead. Along with the big bulky VCR that was built like a tank, came a box of videocassettes. My parents threw out the ones that they thought were too violent and kept the rest. They had no idea what they were keeping. There was one tape that I still have to this day that contains The Gates of Hell and In Cold Blood. Regarding the later, I will always be horrified at the ending when just before being executed by hanging, the police ask one of the killers if he has any final words, he said he wanted to apologize but to who? Dick and Perry had murdered the entire Clutter family.
However, the first movie was the real gem. This was my first exposure to the fun filled madness of Lucio Fulci. I took a chance one lazy summer day and watched The Gates of Hell. The beginning clued me in on epic filmmaking; you see an eerie cemetery in Dunwich, (great name choice,) as a mysterious priest hangs himself thus opening the gate to Hell. Then all manners of gruesome deaths follow. I would put my house up for sale and leave town. What struck me as so funny about The Gates of Hell was seeing the name Christopher George during the opening credits. My friend and I used to joke that if you couldnít afford Christopher Lee then Christopher George was always cheaply available. I watched the intestines gushing out of Daniela Doriaís mouth without flinching.
It was a gory scene but it seemed to go on too long. My favorite scene is the mad father drilling the horny boyfriend through the side of his head. That will always be classic to me.
Since that initial viewing, I made my friends sit through it. They thought the acting was hokey but when the gore started it got to them. That is my greatest moment in life, when I can find something to make my friendsí flesh crawl and hopefully give some nightmares to.
For years, I couldnít find anyone who loved Italian Horror as much as I did. It was always too strange and foreign. Until I met Todd Sheets, back in the 80ís when I was in high school, who introduced me to Dario Argento. I remembered being mesmerized by the bright colors and blood splattering scenes in Suspiria.
It had such an impact on me despite the small TV we were watching it on. Maybe it was because it was 3am in Kansas City but Suspiria showed me how a camera can move and create tension. So Todd dubbed me off a VHS copy of both Suspiria and Deep Red. Deep Red was such a great slasher flick and a lot of 80ís slasher flicks pale in comparison.
Todd had more knowledge about Italian Horror movies than anyone. I remember him telling me one day about how Friday the 13th Part 2 ripped off Mario Bavaís A Bay of Blood aka Twitch of the Death Nerve. Todd was such a cool guy. His bedroom was a fanboy paradise when Iron Maiden posters on the walls, Dario Argento posters, Hellraiser stuff and the greatest collection of metal on vinyl I have ever seen. We both loved Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, werewolves, but it was horror movies that was our passion and still is.
So do yourself a favor and check out some movies by Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci, Dario Argento and the highly entertaining Michele Soavi, who directed The Church, Stage Fright, and Cemetery Man. You have it so much better today than I did growing up with a cheap VCR and a small screen TV, you have Blu-rays with home theater systems with surround sound. Just put in Suspiria and listen to one of the greatest prog rock bands ever, The Goblins who create maniac pulsating sounds and see the visuals with the killerís hands in the shot as a beautiful woman is mutilated by someone insane. Youíll be asking yourself who could do such a thing?
Wait until dark and be prepared for the onslaught that only Italian Horror can deliver.
"The Castle of Dr. Fetterstein" is ©2012 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2012 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.
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