I’m sure Italy is a wonderful place: nice people, delightful food and wine, rich history, beautiful scenery, etc, etc. But ‘giallo’ films and Italian horror as a whole…I’ll just say they make me absolutely sick.
And I think I know why:
Now Caligula can’t be considered ‘giallo’ OR horror, but it might as well be. If you recall, that film absolutely scared the shit out of me as a kid and I never quite recovered. So my response to Italian horror is similar to having alcohol poisoning: if you get it once by drinking vodka, you can’t quite stomach vodka again. The Italian style of tight closeups, zooms, disorienting music and editing, and fixation on gore and nudity just make me a little queasy.
But I have a job to do. And that job is to watch EVERY cheapass horror film on Tubi. That includes the filmography of the legendary Lucio Fulci. So I started at the worst possible place:
A Cat in the Brain.
The movie forced me to do some research while I was watching it, largely because I had no idea what the fuck was going on. Fulci plays the lead: himself as a film director that’s slowly becoming disturbed by a movie he’s making. As we watch him descend into madness, we’re shown random clips from prior films, almost as if this movie was thrown together in the most halfassed way possible.
A Cat in the Brain was produced towards the end of Fulci’s distinguished career, so there’s no telling where he was mentally. But I’ll say this: Fulci did a much better job of cobbling together this Frankenstein of a movie than Godfrey Ho did for Robo Vampire.
I neglected to mention that A Cat in the Brain is considered a “comedy” (thus deploying the “covering your ass” method over decade before Tommy Wiseau did for The Room). Maybe the humor went over my head, but I was too petrified watching some guy beat his wife’s face off to laugh.
You needn’t worry though, because this movie has a happy ending: a disgusting Fulci sails off into the sunset with a bikini-clad woman that’s at least a third his age.
I hated A Cat in the Brain. But Fulci fans love it. Just check out the reviews at IMDB.
After watching that shitshow I needed a palate cleanser. That’s when I found the 1984 Wings Hauser and Bo Hopkins (RIP) classic , Mutant.
Perhaps calling Mutant a ‘classic’ is a bit of a stretch, yet despite its lackluster script, it is competently made. It’s a story we’ve seen a thousand times before: strangers roll into town, weird things happen, everyone turns into zombies, heroes save the day in the most ham fisted way, blah blah blah.
Of course, none of the character archs pay off. Least of all Bo Hopkins’, the alcoholic town sheriff with a dark past. Nevertheless, Hauser and Hopkins’ performances carry the day, ALMOST to the point where you don’t feel cheated out of your time or money.
Actually, I just LOVE saying ‘Wings Hauser’. It sounds like Wings of Desire, the 1987 Wim Wenders film. Then I imagine Wings Hauser being in Wings of Desire and it makes me happy. His might be my most favorite name of anyone who has ever had a name.
It’s not his birth name, but still…
4 thoughts on “wings hauser”
Caligula? The hardcore historical epic with Malcolm McDowell? You saw that as a kid? I ordered it from Amazon when I was like 16 or 17 and played hooky to watch it. Such good times.
I remember seeing A Cat in the Brain calling to me from the shelf at Borders. Never bought it. I haven’t seen as much Lucio Fulci as I probably should have by now. I’m a phony.
I popped when you mentioned Robo Vampire. I “enjoy” that “movie”.
Mutant I haven’t seen either. I recognize the name “Wings Hauser” from The Carpenter, in which he plays a ghost-killer. I’ve got it laying around on VHS somewhere.
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Yeah, I was like 12 or 13 when it first came out on DVD. I never heard of it, so I didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, I was completely blindsided. Truth be told, Caligula was probably the reason why I avoided gory movies for so long and I’m just now trying to play catch-up.
Some of Fulci’s stuff is on Tubi, including some of his most notable work, but a lot of it looks like its in poor quality so I didn’t bother with it. I’m intrigued enough by Fulci that I’ll probably dig deeper, but it’s pretty obvious that A Cat in the Brain wasn’t his finest work.
Mutant didn’t blow me away. But Wings Hauser is one of those character actors that show up in a lot of shit. If you have “Geteven” on VHS, also co-starring Hauser, that thing might oddly be worth something. I’ve been dying to see that one.
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I’ve seen a few of Fulci’s big ones like Zombie, Zombie 3, City of the Living Dead, and The Beyond. Also the giallo Don’t Torture a Duckling. I’m struggling to think of any more. I guess it’s time to change that. I’ll check Tubi. Keep up the great work 👍
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