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Steven Davies Posted: 7 March, 2003 at 08:59 AM GMT
Author: Steven Davies

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Fango correspondent Alan Jones reported in with some exciting news from across the ocean:

After an elongated period in the horror doldrums, the Italian film industry is getting back up to speed. For a while it looked like Spain and France were going to surpass Italy in the Euroshock stakes, but with the latest Dario Argento giallo currently in production and other past pasta movers and shakers getting their acts together, 2004 is set to become a banner year for spaghetti splatter.

Argento?s IL CARTAIO/THE CARD PLAYER stars Stefania Rocca (most recently seen as Mina in the Italian miniseries IL BACIO DI DRACULA/THE KISS OF DRACULA), Liam (DOG SOLDIERS) Cunningham, Silvio Muccino, Vera (SCARLET DIVA) Gemma and Fiore (PHENOMENA) Argento. In the central role originally written for Asia Argento by her father and favored screenwriter Franco Ferrini, Rocca plays a Roman policewoman who is forced to play Internet poker with the title serial killer. If she loses, she witnesses the maniac?s tortured victims having their throats cut with a Stanley knife via webcam in explicit close-up detail. Rocca teams with British cop Cunningham to find out the identity of the murderer in another signature violent mystery from the horror maestro.

Argento tells Fango, ?THE CARD PLAYER is something I?ve never done before?a complete police procedural focusing on forensic science but laced with spaghetti Western imagery.? Special makeup artist Sergio Stivaletti is the man Argento is relying on yet again for the anatomical postmortem gore. Once THE CARD PLAYER is in the can (July 2003), Argento will then revive OCCHIALI NERI/DARK GLASSES, the giallo he had to postpone last year when producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori filed for bankruptcy on the eve of production. That?s about a prostitute who adopts a Chinese orphan boy before being blinded in an accident. The duo then track down a maniac responsible for a spate of hooker murders due to her senses being heightened.

Meanwhile, Stivaletti is planning to remake THE GOLEM. Once considered by Argento as a possible Lamberto Bava vehicle after their DEMONS hit, the Jewish FRANKENSTEIN myth about a living clay statue has been updated by Stivaletti to modern Prague. Although producer Claudio Argento has passed on the project, Stivaletti is certain he?ll raise the financing soon for his second directorial venture after WAX MASK, and wants Bruce Campbell to star. As for Lamberto Bava (whose son Roy is Argento?s 1st assistant director on THE CARD PLAYER), he?ll be in London in September to direct a new horror film that he?s keeping under wraps at the moment.

And it looks like Luigi (CONTAMINATION) Cozzi will finally be emerging from behind the counter of the Profondo Rosso shop he owns with Argento to direct his self-penned GUARDIAN OF EVIL. That?s about a group of young tourists in Rome who discover an ancient talisman that could signal the end of the world. The prop Cozzi will use for the ancient artifact is the Anubis cross that late goremeister Lucio Fulci had built for his aborted remake of THE MUMMY.

The really good news is that Michele Soavi, director of STAGEFRIGHT, THE CHURCH, THE DEVIL?S DAUGHTER and DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, will return to the big screen after spending the last five years helming the top-rated TV movies FRANCESCO and THE TESTAMENT. He?ll first direct the dark thriller ARRIVERDERCI AMORE, CIAO/GOODBYE MY LOVE, GOODBYE, based on the Massimo Carlotto bestseller. Then he has to make the choice between two Gianni Romoli-written scripts. Romoli, whose credits include TRAUMA, THE DEVIL?S DAUGHTER and DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, is currently Italy?s top producer. His latest movie, Ferzan Oztepek?s LA FINESTRA DI FRONTE/THE WINDOW IN FRONT, is a huge blockbuster, and he?s determined to bring Soavi back to features.

One of these potential films is IL DEMONI MERIDIANO/MERIDIAN DEMONS, which inverts the vampire myth by allowing the Italian-born undead to attack during the lunchtime siesta hours when their fellow natives are asleep, rather than at night. The second is a remake of one of the most popular Italian fantasy epics of all time, director/writer Alessandro Blasetti?s LA CORONA DI FERRO/THE IRON CROWN (1941). Completed just before America entered WWII against Italy, and only released in the U.S. eight years later, Blasetti?s sword-and-sorcery adventure starred Elisa Cegani, Luisa Ferida, Rina Morelli and Gino Cervi and told the 13th-century tale of the fight for possession of an iron crown that bears magical and mystical powers because it was forged from a nail that crucified Jesus on the cross.

Romoli tells Fango, ?I want Michele to direct what will be one of the most expensive Italian productions ever. I intend to increase the fantasy, horror and spectacle, because the original picture was very much a product of its political time. It?s the Italian LORD OF THE RINGS, and I know it?s just perfect for Michele.?

But the really fabulous news is that once Argento finishes DARK GLASSES, he will make a return to the SUSPIRIA territory so beloved by his hardcore fans. He isn?t saying if the untitled occult horror is the third part of the Three Mothers trilogy continued by INFERNO, but reveals, ?It?s time for me to make another supernatural story in the tradition of INFERNO. When I was in a deep depression over the DARK GLASSES fiasco, I had a dream that I was visited by my late father Salvatore. And his presence inspired the story. It?s about a young boy?me, I think, from years ago?and will be a fusion of autobiography, horror and fantasy.?

Courtesy of Fangoria

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Steven Davies Posted: 7 March, 2003 at 08:59 AM GMT
Author: Steven Davies

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