Fourteen years after making one of Italy’s finest horror fantasies, DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE/CEMETERY MAN, director Michele Soavi is finally back in the genre saddle. After spending the last decade helming high-profile Italian TV fare (like the ULTIMO thriller franchise starring Raoul Bova), the former actor (THE GATES OF HELL, CALIGULA: THE UNTOLD STORY) and one-time assistant to Dario Argento (for whom he directed THE CHURCH and THE SECT/THE DEVIL’S DAUGHTER) will be in London and Romania this summer shooting CATACOMBS CLUB.
The screenplay is by Charles McKeown, the co-scripter of Terry Gilliam’s THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHAUSEN who is currently in production on THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS. Soavi and McKeown became firm friends when the former headed up the 2nd unit on the troubled BARON MUNCHAUSEN. CARACOMBS CLUB relates the strange tale of a rich Russian married couple building a casino-cum-disco in London’s West End. The wife wants to be a headline singer in the club; only problem is, she’s completely tone-deaf and can’t carry a tune, so her husband hires a singing teacher to help her fulfil her dream ambition. As construction begins on the site, a drunken accident finds the instructor falling into a recently uncovered passageway that leads to a kingdom of strange creatures. They’ve gone undiscovered since their burial during the Roman invasion 2,000 years before, and the teacher is shocked to learn they know nothing of the surface world. He’s even more surprised when he falls in love with She, a female creatures with the most beautiful voice he has ever heard…
“It begins with a flashback to ancient times, like the one in THE CHURCH,” Soavi tells Fango. “And it ends during a concert in the Royal Albert Hall venue. I don’t want to say too much more at this time, except that it is definitely in the spirit of CEMETERY MAN and has a similar atmosphere.” Casting will be firmed up in the coming months, but Soavi’s partner Alina Nadelea, featured in his last theatrical outing ARRIVERDERCI, AMORE, CIAO/THE GOODBYE KISS, will play one of the female leads. One of the producers is former giallo actress Conchita Airoldi (TORSO, BLADE OF THE RIPPER) who has a long association with Soavi. The songs will have “a Kate Bush feel,” according to Soavi, who adds, “I’ve enjoyed working in Italian TV where budgets are around the 9-million-Euro mark. I hated all the compromises I had to make on my previous horror films—going back to my first, STAGE FRIGHT—but I have the budget to do CATACOMBS CLUB justice.”
Although a sequel to CEMETERY MAN was mooted a few years ago, writer/producer Gianni Romoli’s huge success producing the popular films of director Ferzan Ozpetek (THE IGNORANT FAIRIES, FACING WINDOW) somewhat sidelined that idea. But Soavi would do it if Romoli came up with another original and creative premise. “I have talked to star Rupert Everett about reprising his role, and I’d love to continue his adventures. But it’s up to Gianni to find the time in his busy schedule.”