Today we are talking about A Classic Horror Story, a horror film released on Netflix on July 14, directed by Roberto de Feo and Paolo Strippoli. An Italian horror film, perhaps too Italian - to quote Boris - that struggles to amaze like The Nest and launches itself, in the end, in petty but shareable rhetoric.
Obviously the article is full of spoilers regarding the film, so if you are interested in watching it, don't go further, and go back to the film viewed.
The Plot of A Classic Horror Story
Elisa (Matilde Anna Ingrid Lutz) is found to share the journey to the IVG clinic with Fabrizio (Francesco Russo), Riccardo (Peppino mazzotta), Mark (Will Merrick) is Sofia (Yuliia Sobol). The trip in the camper is interrupted with a sudden accident, which leaves everyone unconscious: when they wake up they find themselves in a clearing in the middle of Calabria, in front of a gigantic house with a red door.
Here they learn of the legend of Osso, Carcagnosso e Mastrosso, three knights who arrived in Italy and founded the well-known criminal organizations of Cosa Nostra, 'Ndrangheta and Camorra. The three knights appear, therefore, surrounded by faithful in animal masks, claiming some of the characters every evening, sacrificing him.
Left alone, Elisa begins to suspect, rightly, of Fabrizio, who turns out to be member of the organization. Elisa is initially captured, and then manages to escape, kill the boy and find safety on a beach full of bathers.
A Classic Horror Story is an excellent Italian film
I don't follow Italian cinema very much, although I recognize that there are great masterpieces without the need to dig into Dario Argento at the beginning. To remind me is The sky in a room di Mine in entry, already heard for Dogman di Garrone, Canaro's masterpiece (as opposed to Furious Anger di Ankle Boots).
I started watching A Classic Horror Story, a film that promised to be quite Pulp already from the title, with interest. Each shot had a little bit of something, a little bit of already seen as it is now for all current horror. And that's how I noticed flashes of The Chainsaw Massacre, The House, That house in the woods, Midsummer, The hills Have Eyes. But it wasn't simple plagiarism, but different ideas represented in similar ways.
Placed alongside these films, of course, A Classic Horror Story does not come out well. Faced with the plethora of Italian films, however, wins hands down, for variety and quality of the scenes. Despite this, he gets lost in the finale, with a petty rhetoric that almost resembles the whimper of a dog biting its own tail.
And it is too Italian at the same time
The defects of the film, however, remain the usual suspects: the audio and the acting. The first, in many cases, is confusing, often unable to transport the observer into the actual film, with predominant environments on the voices or vice versa. The second, however, remains the prerogative of some elements, mostly concentrated around the characters over the top, first of all Fabrizio. A boy with a difficult speech, he often finds himself at the center of long uninspired and poorly written monologues. The only merit is a scene that looks damn like Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, in which Francesco Russo is helped by a good girl Alida Baldari Calabria. Too bad, because Matilde Lutz is on the piece, together with Mazzotta, and have all in all pleasant and defined characters.
The last flaw therefore remains criticism, rhetoric against bored spectators and critics who dispense judgments towards cinema (my god, he's talking about me) horror. The problem is that in order to make such a criticism, trying to break the fourth wall, it is also necessary to file the defects that Italian cinema has been carrying around for years and A Classic Horror Story it does not do it. Just as he can't do it The End di Melee, which shares the same issues: horrible audio and somewhat poor acting.
So is Italian horror dead?
Let's say that it is more of a sleep at times: films cyclically take over the Italian panorama that give hope, but not all succeed in the miracle (exactly like in American cinema, see Wed). A Classic Horror Story could begin with the shot of the long table at lunch, with Matilde Lutz stuck and horrified, the police complicit as a twist, at the Hostel. Even the beginning remains without any response, in the void, to remember the birth of the second The hills Have Eyes. Instead it brings together many ideas, many ideas, many quotes, which are lost however.
Because it is not enough, unfortunately, to criticize how the crime story is the current horror (I already saw this rhetoric in the first ten issues of Dylan Dog) or how the people ox is unable to criticize wisely; above all, then, after having released the film on Netflix (even if it could have been a need in times of pandemic). In short, as long as we continue to whine that Italian horror is not engaging, and to produce stuff that is not very fluid, we will not go anywhere.
And to say that De Feo by The Nest he had managed to create a very strong, interesting, disturbing and very Italian narrative. Exactly how he did it Guadagnino by Suspiria, a remake of the National Darion full of personality and invaluable in contemporary horror. Therefore excellent results can be obtained; perhaps it would be enough not to expect everyone to win at the box office.