Thursday, 19 October 2017

Umberto Lenzi
(1931 – 2017)

Sadly I don’t have the capacity today to pay appropriate tribute to the man who, in a weird sort of way, feels like the quintessential Italian b-movie anti-auteur, but we definitely need to put the brakes on the horror marathon for a day or two to mark the passing of the great Umberto Lenzi.

Some out there may do a double-take at my use of the “great” epithet, but that’s their problem – as far as I’m concerned, Lenzi was legit. I’d be the first to admit he knocked out some trash in his time (and the less said about his use of animal cruelty in those early ‘80s cannibal flicks, the better), but, when you’re working at the kind of speed and on the kind of budgets he did, who wouldn’t?

The majority of Lenzi’s films are wild, fast-moving and full of life, and the best of them achieve a level of pure pulp poetry that is too cool for words.

Like I say, no time to do justice here to his four full decades of fringe commercial movie-making, but – for ‘Kriminal’, for ‘Super Seven Calling Cairo’, for ‘So Sweet.. So Perverse’, for Spasmo and ‘Eyeball’, for ‘Oasis of Fear’/‘Dirty Pictures’, for ‘Almost Human’, ‘Manhunt’, ‘Violent Naples’, ‘Syndicate Sadists’ and ‘The Cynic, The Rat & The Fist’, for ‘Nightmare City’ (ESPECIALLY for ‘Nightmare City’), for ‘House of Witchcraft’, and for potentially dozens of other bangers I haven’t got around to watching yet…. thank you Umberto!

More substantial tribute hopefully/possibly coming soon.


Johny Malone said...

Q.E.P.D. Umberto Lenzi.

Elliot James said...

Lenzi's giallo/thriller films with Carroll Baker about jet-set-trash had flash and flair. He did all the genres: war, Euro-spy, peplum, poliziotteschi, westerns, sci-fi, horror, comedies. After Cannibal Ferox, I missed all of his 1982-1992 films. I think few of them were exported to the US.

Ben said...

Yes, Lenzi's gialli and poliziotteschi alone make for a great legacy.

I've only seen a handful of his post-'82 films, and they're trashy as you'd imagine, but always eventful and entertaining.