Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales Of Terror (Limited Edition Blu-ray Set Review)

When most think of Italy they probably immediately turn to art, food, and architecture… but what about film? Historically Italy has produced some pretty compelling cinema, and in the way of the Horror genre, the region has certainly left a mark. A history that goes far and deep, to many, the 1960s period really distinguished Italian Horror in a big way. There were directors such as Riccardo Freda (I Vampiri 1956, The Ghost 1963) and Mario Bava (Black Sunday 1960, Black Sabbath 1963), but also many others who contributed to enriching the ’60s era of Italian Horror. Again, studies that can go for extensive periods of time, and really should be a part of a college film course, Arrow Films has decided to pick a handful of these films and unify them in the new limited edition Blu-ray set entitled Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror

An enticing new box set released on October 18, 2022, Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror brings 1965’s Lady Morgan’s Vengeance (La vendetta di Lady Morgan), 1963’s The Blancheville Monster (Horror), 1966’s The Third Eye (Il terzo occhio), and 1966’s The Witch (La strega in amore) to Blu-ray for the very first time. Including some carefully put together special features for each film, such as interviews with cast members, there are also video essays from various writers featured that are worth the time. Furthermore, the set includes a lengthy 80-page book featuring new writings from various film historians. 

Four-discs in total, the final Horror film ever directed by Massimo Pupillo, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance, kicks off the set. The only film of the set available strictly in Italian, Lady Morgan’s Vengeance’s story is interesting enough, but its true drawing card is the elegant filming style. From here Alberto de Martino’s The Blancheville Monster follows a similar plot to the latter, but stands out mostly because of artistic filming techniques and stunning lighting. Next is Mino Guerrini’s The Third Eye, and it is perhaps the most spellbinding of this collection. A film that would be remade thirteen years later by Joe D’Amato in 1979 under the title Beyond the Darkness (Buio Omega), The Third Eye is a dark, tragic story that also features some really great acting from Erika Blanc (o, Emmanuelle 1969, The Night Evelyn Came Out of the Grave 1971) who plays a dual role. Lastly, and certainly not least, Damiano Damiani’s The Witch offers a trippy and quite seductive ride. The most fluent in terms of story pace of all four films, Rosanna Schiaffino (Le miracle des loups 1961, La mandragola 1965) also shines brightly in her performance as Aura. 

Overall Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror is a great collection to brush up on your Italian Horror history knowledge. While most of these films have no significant boldest in the context of Italian Horror cinema history, they certainly give you a chance to broaden your intellectual pallet. With a collection like this you are able to learn about talented filmmakers from the region you might have not known, plus consume performances from actors and actresses who were quite talented, as well as stunningly beautiful at the same time. Worth taking the time to sit back and indulge in a golden age of cinema, Cryptic Rock gives Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales of Terror 4 out of 5 stars. 

Gothic Fantastico: Four Italian Tales Of Terror art/ Arrow Films

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