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Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales Of Terror [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)

REVIEW OVERVIEW

The Film (Lady Morgan's Vengeance)
The Film (The Blancheville Monster)
The Film (The Third Eye)
The Film (The Witch)
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Overall

SUMMARY

S&M, necrophilia, witches, and vengeful ghosts abound in this spicy collection of lesser known films from the golden age of Italian gothic horror.

Gothic Fantastico (Arrow Video)Gothic Fantastico: Four Tales of Italian Terror presents four films from the classic 1960s period of Italian gothic cinema beyond the work of Mario Bava. Countering the gothic horror of the UK and the US popular of the same era, Italian gothic horror expanded the genre beyond the monsters like the vampires of Vincent Price and Peter Cushing and tended to center their stories around more female characters, tinged their movies with more ‘dangerous’ sexuality, and bit more gore.

Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (1965) from Massimo Pupillo, the story, sprinkled with sadomasochism and revenge, involves a woman who comes back from the dead to get back at her treacherous husband. Meanwhile, in The Blancheville Monster (1963), loosely based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe, Alberto De Martino crafts a tale of family curses madmen in the attic, as Emilie de Blancheville returns to her family home and is danger of falling victim to the family curse and to be used as a sacrifice. Mino Guerinni’s The Third Eye (1963) features an early role for Italian cult icon Franco Nero and offers up a sordid tale of necrophilia with many elements of the plot and even some of the cinematography heavily borrowed from Hitchcock’s Psycho. Lastly, Damiano Damiani’s The Witch (1966) takes a modern setting with the backdrop of then contemporary Rome, looking forward to what would become the giallo genre and tells of a young historian lured to work for an aging woman and ends up being held captive when he becomes obsessed with her beautiful daughter who turns out to be far less innocent than she appears.

There is no single film in this collection that ever reaches the level of the works of something from Mario Bava such as Black Sabbath but each film has many elements that make them worth watching. The collection on the whole acts as an interesting and entertaining journey through the often oddball world of Italian gothic.

The Video

The four films in the collection are all new 2K restorations from the original negatives. Each film is framed at 1.85:1 in AVC 1080p encodements and in stark, black and white imagery. Lady Morgan’s Vengeance has the coarsest layer of grain and sometimes looks the softest, but each film in the collection looks very good and organic with strong contrast, detail, and nuanced shadows.

The Audio

All four films come with the original Italian mono soundtracks in LPCM 1.0 while The Blancheville Monster, The Third Eye, and The Witch also include the original mono English dubs in LPCM1.0. The sound for each film is clean and intelligible, free from noise and clipping.

The Supplements

Arrow stuffs this collection with superb features, including newly edited interviews, in-depth video essays for each film, new introductions, and A-grade audio commentaries.

  • Limited edition 80-page book featuring new writing by Roberto Curti, Rob Talbot, Jerome Reuter, Rod Barnett and Kimberly Lindbergs
  • Fold-out double-sided poster
  • Limited edition packaging with reversible sleeves featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Colin Murdoch

Disc 1 – Lady Morgan’s Vengeance

  • Commentary by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas
  • Vengeance from Beyond (1080p; 00:04:38) – Brand new introduction to the film by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • The Grudge (1080p; 00:21:29) – Brand new visual essay on the film by author and producer Kat Ellinger, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • When We Were Vampires (1080p; 00:24:04) – Brand new interview with actress Erika Blanc, recorded in 2021.
  • Born to be a Villain (1080p; 00:20:03) – Newly edited interview with actor Paul Muller.
  • The Pupillo Tapes (1080p; 00:20:16) – newly edited interview with director Massimo Pupillo.
  • Original Cineromanzo (1080p) – The complete original cineromanzo of Lady Morgan’s Vengeance, published in Suspense in April 1971.
  • Trailer (1080p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 2 – The Blancheville Monster (AKA Horror)

  • Commentary by Paul Anthony Wilson
  • Castle of Horror (1080p; 00:06:49) – Brand new introduction to the film by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • Are You Sure That It Wasn’t Just Your Imagination? (1080p; 00:20:54) – Brand new visual essay on the film by writer and pop culture historian Keith Allison, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • Welcome to the Manor (1080p; 00:13:55) – Brand new video interview with author and filmmaker Antonio Tentori, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • American Opening Titles (1080p; 00:03:11) – Opening credits for the US release of the film, titled Horror: The Blancheville Monster.
  • Trailer (1080p)
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 3 – The Third Eye

  • Commentary by Rachel Nisbet
  • The Cold Kiss of Death (1080p; 00:06:15) — Brand new introduction to the film by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • Nostalgia Becomes Necrophilia (1080p; 00:12:00) — Brand new visual essay on the film by author and filmmaker Lindsay Hallam, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • All Eyes on Erika (1080p; 00:15:40) – Newly edited interview with actress Erika Blanc.
  • Image Gallery (1080p)

Disc 4 – The Witch

  • Commentary by Kat Ellinger
  • Witchery (1080p; 00:03:46) — Brand new introduction to the film by Italian film devotee Mark Thompson Ashworth, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • Loving the Devil (1080p; 00:24:25) — Brand new visual essay on the film by author and academic Miranda Corcoran, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.
  • The Rome Witch Project (1080p; 00:18:38) — Brand new video interview with author and filmmaker Antonio Tentori, recorded exclusively for Arrow Films in 2022.

The Final Assessment

Anyone into gothic horror will enjoy going through this collection of Italian gothic cinema. Arrow Video once again put together a set of beautiful restorations packaged with solid bonus features and collectibles.

Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror [Limited Edition] is out on Blu-ray October 18, 2022 from Arrow Video


  • Rating Certificate: Not Rated
  • Studios & Distributors: Film Columbus | Llama Films | Panda Societa per L’Industria Cinematografica | Morgan Film | Arrow Video
  • Directors: Massimo Pupillo | Alberto De Martino | Mino Guerinni | Damiano Damiani
  • Run Time: 371 Mins.
  • Street Date: 18 October 2022
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: Italian LPCM 1.0
  • Secondary Audio: English LPCM 1.0
  • Subtitles: English
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S&M, necrophilia, witches, and vengeful ghosts abound in this spicy collection of lesser known films from the golden age of Italian gothic horror. Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales Of Terror [Limited Edition] (Blu-ray Review)
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