Please Note: I know I’ve probably forgotten your favorite actress, but I just thought I would look at a few names in honor of Women In Horror Month. I went by some of my personal favorite films and performances then went from there.
Ever since I watched my first Dario Argento film, I’ve been hooked on Italian horror films, eventually finding other directors such as Lucio Fulci, Mario Bava, Lamberto Bava, and Marino Girolami. I would say just Giallo, but that would leave out films like Fulci’s Zombie (Zombi 2) or another gorefest, Zombie Holocaust, also known in the U.S. as Dr. Butcher, M.D.
So, how does Italian horror and Women In Horror Month come together? The underappreciation of the actresses in these films from the 70s and 80s. It seems like everyone remembers the names Argento or Bava, but I think we forget about the names like Tisa Farrow or Olga Karlatos. In Zombi, Farrow played Anne Bowles and then a year later starred in another gory flick that the U.K. called a Video Nasty. Karlatos, also in Zombi, is also in the main role of Fulci’s Giallo, Murder Rock.
Catriona MacColl starred in every single Gates of Hell trilogy, which are my personal favorites. For those who don’t know the series, they include City of the Living, The Beyond, and The House By the Cemetery. If you’re wondering, she doesn’t play the same character either. I think that like the other women listed, she’s severally overrated.
The Beyond is probably the most popular of the Gates of Hell trilogy and also features the performance of Cinzia Monreale. Monreale plays Emily, the creepy blind girl, who ends up becoming rather memorable.
Daria Nicolodi starred in several Dario Argento films as well as the last theatrical film Mario Bava made, Shock. You can find Nicolodi in Deep Red, Inferno, Tenebrae, Phenomena, Opera, and Mother of Tears.
Edwige Fenech is another name to not forget though she has starred in some weird titled movies such as Strip Nude For Your Killer. But don’t let that put you off, she’s also in Five Dolls for an August Moon, The Strange Vice of Mrs. Wardh, Your Vice is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, All the Colors of the Dark, The Case of the Bloody Iris (one of my favorites), and Phantom of Death.
Florinda Bolkan and Anita Strindberg starred together in the LSD induced giallo, A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin. In the film, Bolkan played Carol, a woman who keeps getting these vivid dreams and finds out that the dream about killing her neighbor, Julia, could be real. Strindberg played the role of Julia.
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin wasn’t the only film that they did in the genre. Strindberg can be seen in such films as The Case of the Scorpion’s Tail, Who Saw Her Die?, and Your Vice is a Locked Key and Only I Have the Key. Bolkan’s notable film is Don’t Torture a Duckling.
Now, let’s talk about Demons and Demons 2. Let’s start off with the main actress in Demons, played by Natasha Hovey. Hovey played Cheryl, a University student who is offered tickets to the movie of her nightmares. Paolo Cozzo played her friend Kathy, who goes with her. There is another stand-out actress in the film, who has a background in other Italian horror films, Geretta Geretta. In the film, she is the first one to turn into one of the demons and she’s freaky! She also can be seen in Murder Rock and Rats: Night of Terror.
Demons 2 stars a young Asia Argento, who has made her way in films as both an actress and director. Nancy Brill played the pregnant Hannah that kicks demon-ass; it’s not easy being pregnant and fighting demons!
I’m going to end by telling you all to watch, or re-watch, these movies and pay attention to these performances that I’ve mentioned. I also would like to end by saying that you should travel back to the 60s to watch Barbara Steele‘s performances in Black Sunday, The Horrible Hitchcock, and The Ghost.