Cult horror classics


Nearly all of the films being screened during ‘Gothic, Giallo, Gore: Masters of Italian Horror’ have arrived on 35mm prints shipped over from Italy and America. To present this collection of cult horror classics The Australian Cinémathèque, GOMA reached out to national archives, private collections, and key individuals across the globe in order to more fulsomely share these lurid thriller and gruesome gorefests with our audience.

As the last cinema in Queensland to have a permanent 35mm projector set-up, we endeavour to screen films from 35mm prints where possible to best present titles as per the filmmakers’ original intentions. Some of the films in this program are no longer available on print, with only the original camera negative surviving to provide material to create further digital copies and restorations. Others have never received proper digital conversion, so no Digital Cinema Package (DCP) can be sourced for screening.

Each of the three filmmakers highlighted in this program – Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci – ended up requiring some special manoeuvring in order to obtain the very rare materials that are available internationally.

Dario Argento

Dario Argento on the set of Opera 1987
Dario Argento (far right) on the set of Opera 1987
Production still from Inferno 1980 / Director: Dario Argento / Image courtesy: Park Circus

For Dario Argento, the most prized screening material sourced for the program is Argento’s personal print of his giallo masterpiece Opera 1987. This print is one of the few prints (perhaps the only copy) of the director’s cut left in the world. It required direct and personal approval from Argento himself, who gave personal permission for it to be screened at GOMA. The 20th Century Fox archive have also been very kind and have found a rare print copy of the director’s Inferno 1980 in their archives, which they are shipping to us from California.

Mario Bava

Blood and Black Lace
Production still from Blood and Black Lace 1964 / Director: Mario Bava / Image courtesy: Compass Film

For the films of Mario Bava, we worked directly with Mario Bava’s long-time producer Alfredo Leone to supply beautiful Italian Technicolor prints of six of the seven Bava titles included in the program. The final Bava film, Blood and Black Lace 1964, is extremely hard to find on 35mm and is coming from a private collection in America. The print actually no longer has the last few seconds of the film still attached to the reels, so we will be screening the missing footage from a digital copy once the print runs out of frames to make sure this key classic is seen in its entirety.

Lucio Fulci

A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin
Production still from A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971 / Director: Lucio Fulci / Image courtesy: First Line Films
Don’t Torture a Duckling
Production still from Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972 / Director: Lucio Fulci

And finally, for Lucio Fulci, we have managed to secure an uncompressed digital version of the luscious restoration of Fulci’s psychedelic giallo masterwork A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin 1971. This digital restoration was sourced by the generous work of the rights holder First Line Films and the producer of the BluRay release of the film Mondo Macabro. It is an extremely rare presentation of the film and we are very excited to be able to share it. A copy of Fulci’s Don’t Torture a Duckling 1972 has arrived from La Cineteca Nazionale in Rome without subtitles, so we will be live-subtitling that screening with the help of our wonderful Italian translator.

Robert Hughes is Curatorial Assistant, Australian Cinémathèque, QAGOMA

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QAGOMA’s Australian Cinémathèque presents curated programs, genre showcases and director retrospectives covering the world of film from crowd-pleasing fan favourites and cult classics to hard-to-find international cinema, rare 35mm prints and silent films with live musical accompaniment on the Gallery’s Wurlitzer organ originally installed in Brisbane’s Regent Theatre in November 1929.

Featured image detail: Production still from Inferno 1980