You know you're in an Italian horror movie when

by PiddeAndersson

Cool, gory, violent, fun -- and insane. Here are some of the weird oddities we find in the beloved Italian horror movies of the 1970s and '80s.

Sure. I like American horror movies. But it was the Italian ones that made me interested in horror movies -- and movies in general -- some 25 years ago. Directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Mario & Lamberto Bava, Ruggero Deodato, Umberto Lenzi, Sergio Martino -- the usual gang. Plus Bruno Mattei. There is something fascinating about Italian horrors of the 1970s and €'80s. Something surreal, sometimes almost poetic; they'€™re works of beauty and carnage.

But they're also very odd. They take place in their own alternative universe where logic is thrown out the window. So, in order to help you distinguish exactly what horror movie you might find yourself in, I've compiled this short list of indicators.

The Beyond, 1981
The Beyond, 1981

You know you'€™re in an Italian horror movie when ...

... You get back home late at night and you don't switch the lights on in your apartment, but rather slowly walk around your place in the dark until you'€™re scared shitless.

...Your boyfriend/girlfriend isn'€™t at home, but you still enter his/her apartment and sit down in a dark corner waiting for him/her -- and when he/she comes home, you don'€™t get up to meet him/her, but stay in the darkness while he/she is walking around calling "€œHello? Is anybody there?"€ He/she is scared out of his/her mind when he/she finds you. Especially since he/she didn'€™t switch the lights on when he/she entered the place.

... Your 8-year-old son sounds like he'€™s a 45-year-old woman with a high pitched voice.

... Your 8-year-old son really is a 45-year-old dwarf.

... You don'€™t find it strange at all when you move into a new house and find your cheerful neighbor actually inside your house.

... You need a drink and all you can get in the bar is a shot of J&B.

... You'€™re visiting a friend who asks if you want a drink, and he pours you a glass of J&B.

... The members of your theater/dance troop are murdered one by one, a new body is found every day, but you still keep on rehearsing the play/show. The fact that the number of actors/dancers is reduced doesn'€™t seem to affect the play/show.

... You can laugh out loud without opening your mouth. Hell, you can sometimes even speak without opening your mouth.

... You realize the 1990s never arrived - you'€™re stuck in the '70s and/or '80s.

... Absolutely nothing in your daily life makes any sense at all.

... You have only expensive Italian designer clothes in your wardrobe.

... Gravediggers don'€™t bother finishing their job filling the graves before calling it a day and going for a beer.

... Whenever you and your friends sit down for a chat, your conversations resemble simplistic Laurel & Hardy dialogue.

... A creepy incident during your childhood has lead to you going bonkers, and you start slicing and dicing people whenever you hear a certain eerie lullaby.

... That creepy incident during your childhood has also lead to you being interested in the fine arts -- you know, opera, sculptures, paintings and literature.

... The fine arts -- you know, opera, sculptures, paintings, literature -- make you go bonkers, and start slicing and dicing people.

... The explanation for your homicidal behavior is as insane as you are. (And out of sync.)

... You get absolutely hysterical and scream "€œOH, MY GOD! WHAT ... WHAT IS THAT?!"€ when you find an unknown, gooey stain on the floor; a little stain that could be something that'€™s dripped from the plastic bag when you took the trash out from the kitchen and doesn't necessarily have to be the remains of a corpse. Or a zombie.

... Normal people have problems with cockroaches, mosquitoes, annoying shrieking seagulls on the roof, while you have problems with swarms of fat, slimy maggots.

... You get back home early one day and find the weird nanny you€'ve hired scrubbing a huge blood stain off the floor. You ask what she's doing, and she answers, "I'€™ve made coffee"€ -- and you'€™re satisfied with that answer.

... Small animals like mice, rats and bats turn out to contain 18 gallons of blood when you stick a pair of scissors into them.

... Your doctor keeps a gun in his office at the hospital.

... A sign in that hospital says, "Do not entry."

... You get lost in some exotic jungle, populated by murderous, hungry cannibals, and when you look for something to eat, you find some nice little rabbits skipping around.

... That exotic jungle looks just like an Italian forest, situated somewhere just north of Rome.

... You insist on wasting bullets, shooting zombies in the belly, even though you know you have to shoot them in the head to kill them.

... You move into a big house in the middle of the woods and don't notice there's a centuries old zombie living in the basement.

... You don't even bother going down that basement. 

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Italian horror movies

Translated by Roberto Curti.English text.Roma, 2012; paperback, pp. 312, b/w ill., cm 15x21.

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Updated: 07/05/2015, PiddeAndersson
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