Monday 28 August 2017

New DVD announcement! The Greek Fantastique!

Dimitris Panayiotatos is the only Greek film maker to have specialised in film noir, fantasy and sci-fi. He has produced and directed documentaries, TV series and feature films and has created a consistent and compelling body of work over more than thirty years.

This DVD brings together his 1990 feature film Lovers Beyond Time, as well as an episode of the “Twilight Zone” style TV series Tales of Love and Terror. The disc also includes his 2009 feature length documentary on the history of Greek genre cinema and an interview with the director where he discusses his own career and the difficulties of working in genre cinema in Greece, a country where such productions have always been marginalized.

The disc includes:

LOVERS BEYOND TIME – 1990; Feature film, 80 minutes
Sylvia and Angelos have an intense relationship. Too intense for Sylvia, who breaks it off. Three years later, with Angelos dead, Sylvia lives with a doctor and works for a record company. Her new life is suddenly invaded by a succession of bizarre events: strange deaths occur around her and she experiences a series of involuntary orgasms, as though a man she can feel but not see is making love to her - in the street, at work, in her car. All of this seems connected in some way with a mysterious musician she is trying to track down, a man who constantly evades her; until one night her phone rings.... With influences ranging from early Cronenberg to Italian erotic thrillers of the 1970s, the film is a journey into the dangerous world of the irrational, where time contracts and expands and where people are at the mercy of natural laws that change suddenly, violently and without warning.

STRANGERS IN A STRANGE LAND – 2009; documentary, 90 minutes
This ground-breaking and important documentary reveals the hitherto untold story of Greek genre cinema over the last 50 years, dealing with Film Noir, Thrillers, Fantasy films and Sci-Fi. It includes a wealth of interviews with directors, writers and critics and clips from more than 50 films. Very little of the information included here has been available before outside Greece and it will be essential viewing to anyone interested in the wider world of genre cinema.

THE EROTIC, THE FANTASTIC – 2017; interview, 25 minutes
An interview with director Dimitris Panayiotatos where he talks about his own career, studying film in Paris in the 1970s, writing and publishing books and magazines on sci-fi and fantasy cinema and the difficulties of working in the fantastic genres in a country where comedy is king.

THE LAST MEAL – 1988 – TV episode, 25 minutes
An episode from a Greek Twilight Zone style TV series called Tales of Love and Terror.

Coming this winter to DVD only! (Sorry, no blu for this one.)

Tuesday 11 April 2017

Daniela Giordano on INQUISTION and working with Paul Naschy

Daniela Giordano recently submitted this lovely written reminiscence about working with Paul Naschy on his directorial debut INQUISITION. We didn't receive it in time to include in the booklet for our forthcoming limited edition Blu-ray of the film so thought we'd share it here. Enjoy! 

I am very proud of this film. And I'm glad that it’s not been forgotten. I was the star and I played the role of a simple country girl who becomes a witch in order to destroy an inquisitor who has killed her boyfriend. The character of the witch was drawn from historical records, based on a woman called Catherine Brindeau, and Paul sought an actress who physically resembled her, as seen in an engraving in an old book he showed me. When he met me the first time he was surprised because, among other similarities, I also had the same speck in one eye which was mentioned in stories about that girl. In those times this was seen as the sign of the devil. Paul strived for authenticity in the film. All the instruments of torture were authentic. Even the famous Malleus Maleficarum shown in the film. This book, along with many of the other props, were from a famous Madrid museum and Paul had managed to get permission to use them in the film.

Paul Naschy directed me as a real director should. He was almost never angry on set. Being an actor he knows very well how to talk to other actors. The crew loved him. This is very important for things to work well. He was serious, but at the right moment he was able to make fun of something or tell a joke to break the tension.

I really preferred my character in the second part of the film, after Catherine has become a witch. Indeed, it was difficult to play the first part. I remember that Paul told me many times: “Please, try to be more sweet; you are a simple country girl and you respect your father…” It was hard for me to look submissive - considering that at this time in the movie business in Italy I was called “the wild girl” because of my personality (I was and I still am very independent).

One day, my scene included a number of everyday activities in the kitchen. Paul hands me a live chicken and says: "Now take this chicken, sit in that chair, wring its neck and then pluck it. Remember you're a simple country girl, in your kitchen, and you know how to prepare a chicken." Well, at that time in my life I’d never seen a chicken so close up! Except cooked and on my plate. You don’t  meet chickens on the street, at the beach or in a nightclub. And in the countryside you only see them on farms as you drive past. So I said: “No, I’m not going to kill this poor chicken. I can’t do it.” I saw Paul’s face darken. Then he went off with one of the crew and together they disappeared into the corner. Eventually he came back, handed me the chicken, now dead but still warm, and said harshly: “Now sit there and pluck it.” I managed it somehow but with tears streaming down my face. In the end, Paul cut most of the scene and left only a few seconds.

A particularly dangerous sequence came at the end, when I was burnt at the stake. Unfortunately, at that very moment the wind rose and blew the flames in my direction. I was tied to the wooden stake and really afraid when I felt the intense heat on my face. I expected Paul to halt the scene, but nothing happened. So my screams in the film are real. I was genuinely scared. And, I must say, so were the crew. It takes just a few seconds to damage an actress for life. The only safety measure was someone standing near the flames with a blanket in case I caught fire !!

At the time, so my agent told me later, the film had grossed more in Spanish-speaking countries than Jaws but it was not sold in Italy because distributors didn’t believe that my name alone would bring in audiences and also because there wasn’t enough sex. It was a big disappointment for me because I had hoped that the success of this film would start to raise the quality of the scripts that were being offered to me. Fortunately, over the years, Inquisition has made its own way around the world, first on video-tape and then on DVD. I am very happy that Mondo Macabro has now been able to restore the film and distribute it on Blu Ray for the first time anywhere in the world.

The limited edition blu-ray featuring a reversible cover with exclusive art on both sides and a booklet with brand new writing on the film by Pete Tombs will be available to purchase on Wednesday, April 12th at 7am P.S.T. 
Pre-order here

Tuesday 21 February 2017

PRINT IS NOT DEAD! The Return of Diabolique Magazine!

If Mondo Macabro were a magazine, we might well be Diabolique.

During its original print run, this glossy zine was a challenging antidote to the far more conventional rags that otherwise filled in the shelves at bookstores across the country, like Fangoria, Rue Morgue, etc.

That is, when there actually were bookstores with shelves that displayed new issues of periodicals about horror films.

There aren't too many of those around anymore. Which is why Diabolique lamentably had to quit its print edition last year.

Well, for those of you who still cherish physical media of all sorts we have some good news for you! Diabolique is coming back into print!

Come next March this extraordinary mag will line shelves (where they still exist) once again, with a brand new issue devoted exclusively to Asian horror!

So if you are a fan of what we do, then we're sure definitely want to pick this up!

For more info, here's the press release as well as a trailer!

Diabolique Magazine is back in print with an entire issue dedicated to celebrating Japanese and Korean cult cinema at its most sublime, otherworldly, erotic and visceral. In our cover story we explore the darker elements of Japanese folklore; tracking the evolution of the ghost story from genre defining classics Onibaba, Kwaidan, and Kuroneko, right through to the J-horror boom of the nineties in Ringu and Ju-On: The Grudge; before joining J-horror pioneer Hideo Nakata to discuss his career in genre film. This is followed with features on the blood soaked tradition of Japanese theater in relation to the work of Akira Kurosawa and Jacobean revenge, the shocking horrors of Korean war portrayed in genre film and a tribute to the work of the late great David Bowie. Add to that some sizzling sensuality and lesbian love, as we unwrap Chan-wook Park’s provocative The Handmaiden, and last, but certainly not least, a homage to the mythical beast Godzilla, and we promise you this is one of our boldest and most potent issues yet!

Pre-order the issue directly here.