Barry Sullivan stars in Mario Bava's Italian sci-fi horror cult film

Mario Bava’s ‘Planet of the Vampires’ on FilmStruck

Despite the title Mario Bava’s funky 1965 sci-fantasy thriller Planet of the Vampires (Italy, 1965), there are no bloodsuckers to be seen, merely an unseen force that kills the astronauts (led by a craggy Barry Sullivan) that land on a primeval otherworldly planet of jagged rocks, bubbling lakes of lava mud, and purple skies. If […]

‘Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key’ on Amazon Prime

Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key (Italy, 1972), directed by Sergio Martino and ostensibly inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Black Cat,” stars the voluptuous, dark-eyed beauty Edwige Fenech, the sex bomb of giallo, in what was (in the words of genre film historian Justin Harries) “Her finest and […]

Karl Malden and James Franciscus in the giallo by Dario Argento

Dario Argento’s ‘Cat O’Nine Tails’ on Amazon Prime

The Cat O’Nine Tails (Italy, 1971), Dario Argento’s second feature, follows up his directorial debut The Bird With the Crystal Plumage in genre, style and “animal” theme (stretched into a trilogy with Four Flies on Gray Velvet). In Bird, Argento explores, pushes at, and plays with the mechanics of suspense and murder mystery spectacle in […]

The second film in Dario Argento's "Three Mothers" trilogy is his most abstractly beautiful

Dario Argento’s ‘Inferno’ on Amazon Prime

Inferno (Italy, 1980), the second film in Dario Argento’s “Three Mothers” trilogy, is ostensibly a sequel to Suspiria, though it has no characters or storylines in common with Dario Argento’s giallo classic. What it shares is style and sensibility and dreamy, unreal imagery. Irene Miracle appears to be our heroine, a New York girl captivated […]

Anna Magnani in Roberto Rossellini's Rome Open City

Blu-ray: ‘Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy’ on The Criterion Collection

Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy (Criterion). Roberto Rossellini had been a journeyman director working within Mussolini’s Italian film industry when he redefined his career and all but inaugurated the neo-realist movement with this trio of films made at the end of World War II. Though he was no partisan, he started working on Rome Open City […]

The Italian TV crime drama

‘Romanzo Criminale: The Complete Series’ on FilmStruck

Romanzo Criminale: The Complete Series (Italy, 2008-2010) – In the late 1970s, ambitious young thug Lebano (short for The Lebanese) hatches a plan to leave the petty robberies behind and, in partnership with another gang, take over the drug trade in Rome, a city that is divided up by a number of small, unorganized gangs. […]

Clint Eastwood stars in the iconic spaghetti western by Sergio Leone

‘A Fistful of Dollars’ on Amazon Prime and Hulu

When Sergio Leone’s sunbaked A Fistful of Dollars (1967) rode into American theaters, caked in dust and sweat and stubble, critics dismissed it a cheap western, and a European knock-off at that. It was a blatant rip-off of Akira Kurosawa’s cynical samurai hit Yojimbo with American TV star Clint Eastwood, known to audiences as the impetuous […]