The Week In Horror: Daria Nicolodi, ‘Silent Madness’, David Prowse

Hello, fiends, and welcome back to your weekly round up of the biggest news stories in horror.

I hope everyone had a safe and responsible Thanksgiving. I caught up with Fangoria’s Porno, which hit Shudder last week, and I have mixed feelings about it. I think overall it was a well made movie with an interesting premise (that sort of riffs off of Popcorn, which isn’t a bad thing), but I found the characters hard to care about. Also, there seemed to be a tug of war in tone. There are some exceptionally gory parts, but only parts, and for a film with porn in the title and features a satanic porno film and sex craving succubus, it’s a fairly prudish film. I was honestly expecting some Troma level sex and violence, but the movie just never really goes there. I think if they’d pushed the envelope a little more, really just let go, it probably would have served the story better. I’d still recommend checking it out, but don’t expect the horny gore fest the trailer suggests.

Thanksgiving Day wound up being a downer for fans of Italian horror, as we had to bid a sad farewell to one of the queens of Italian cinema, Daria Nicolodi. Screenwriter and actress Nicolodi brightened the screen in such classics as Deep Red, Shock, Tenebre, and Paganini Horror. She was married to director Dario Argento and was Asia Argento’s mother. She brought such unforgettable charm to each role and was responsible for bringing the story of Suspiria to Dario (it was based on the story her grandmother had told her). Rest in peace, Daria, you will be missed.

This weekend is book ended by Black Friday and Cyber Monday and many of the film distribution boutique labels are having a number of sales and new releases, the biggest surprise of all though has to be Vinegar Syndrome’s release of the nearly forgotten Silent Madness! Not only is this a 4k restoration Blu-ray, but its in 3D, as it was meant to be seen (one of the only 3D slashers of the classic era…Is F13 Part III the only other one?).

When a glitch in the computer system at an asylum for the criminally insane results in the release of the wrong patient – a giant-in-stature homicidal maniac named Howard Johns, who has a penchant for killing college coeds – it’s up to one of the institute’s top doctors to track him down. Unfortunately, it’s not just Howard she has to worry about, as the administration of the asylum has decided to cover up the error to avoid bad press, going as far as to hire a duo of thugs to permanently ’silence’ the good doctor. Soon enough, Howard finds his way back to the sorority house he once terrorized and sets out to murder the latest batch of nubile coeds who have taken up residence in the stately manor.

I hate to end on a downer, but I woke up to the news that British actor David Prowse had passed away at 85. General audiences may know him as the physical actor behind Darth Vader, but he also appeared in Vampire Circus, Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell, and A Clockwork Orange, among many other roles. The man had a hell of a stature and stood out from his co-stars. Rest in peace, big man.

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