Keep the Halloween thrills going this month with these bone-chilling films
Ah, Halloween, the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. What better way to celebrate this eerie season than by immersing oneself in the spine-chilling world of Italian horror cinema? Italy has long been known for its contributions to the horror genre, producing some of the most unsettling and visually striking films that have left an indelible mark on the global cinematic landscape. Here are five Italian horror movies that are bound to send shivers down your spine – and make Halloween and All Saints’ Day even scarier.
Directed by the maestro of macabre, Dario Argento, “Suspiria” tells the haunting tale of an American ballet student, Suzy Bannion, who enrols in a prestigious dance academy in Germany, only to discover that the school is a front for a coven of witches. As she delves deeper into the sinister secrets of her surroundings, Suzy becomes entangled in a web of supernatural terror and blood-soaked nightmares.
What makes it scary: Argento’s mastery lies in his use of vibrant colours, striking cinematography, and a haunting score by the prog-rock band Goblin, creating an atmosphere of unrelenting dread. “Suspiria” is a visual feast of surreal and grotesque imagery that blurs the line between beauty and horror, leaving viewers spellbound and terrified in equal measure.
Zombi 2 (1979)
Lucio Fulci’s “Zombi 2,” also known as “Zombie” in the US, is a gruesome tale of a zombie outbreak on a remote Caribbean island. When a young woman goes in search of her missing father, she finds herself confronting a relentless horde of the undead, who rise from their watery graves to feast on the living.
What makes it scary: “Zombi 2” is notorious for its unflinching depictions of visceral gore and gruesome practical effects, including the iconic scene where a zombie battles a shark underwater. Fulci’s unapologetic approach to violence and gore pushes the boundaries of what is considered acceptable in horror cinema, leaving audiences repulsed and fascinated at the same time.
Profondo Rosso (1975)
Another masterpiece from Dario Argento, “Profondo Rosso” (“Deep Red”) follows a British jazz pianist who becomes embroiled in a series of brutal murders in Rome. As he teams up with a determined reporter to unravel the mystery behind the killings, the duo finds themselves hunted by a deranged and elusive killer with a penchant for sadistic violence.
What makes it scary: The film is a stylish and atmospheric ‘giallo’ (thriller) that combines elements of mystery, suspense, and visceral violence. Argento’s signature use of elaborate set pieces, intricate murder sequences, and a haunting score by Goblin amplifies the tension, leading to a climactic revelation that will leave you gasping in shock and awe.
La Maschera del Demonio (1960)
Directed by Mario Bava, “La Maschera del Demonio” (“Black Sunday”) is a gothic horror film set in 17th-century Moldavia. The story revolves around a witch who is executed and returns two centuries later to exact her revenge on her descendants.
What Makes It Scary: “La Maschera del Demonio” is a masterpiece of gothic horror with a truly eerie and atmospheric style. It’s noted for its striking black-and-white cinematography and a haunting, unforgettable opening sequence involving a mask of nails being hammered onto a witch’s face. Scared yet?
The Beyond (1981)
Lucio Fulci’s “The Beyond” is a nightmarish descent into supernatural terror, following a young woman who inherits an old hotel in Louisiana. As she begins renovations, she inadvertently awakens an ancient evil that lurks within the building, unleashing a series of ghastly and otherworldly horrors upon the unsuspecting residents.
What makes it scary: A nightmarish fever dream that blurs the boundaries between the living and the dead, “The Beyond” offers a surreal and nihilistic vision of hell on earth. Fulci’s use of scary imagery, surrealistic visuals, and a foreboding sense of impending doom creates an atmosphere of existential dread, leaving you wondering if you should sleep with the lights on for the rest of the month.
Grab these movie essentials and let the cinematic adventure begin!