Italy has frequently been at the forefront of European cinema as a trendsetter in the annals of exploitation cinema. Without Italy, we wouldn't have the Mondo film or Gialli. Who else would have supplied us with Amazonian cannibals, nasty Nazis or demented nuns in such a pleasing manner? Italy has always been awash with cinematic talent. And it is a country that doesn't mind doing sexy, doing off beat, to be a little daring. The amount of wonderful exploitation directors has ensured that Italy has produced some of the most amazing horror films, cult oddities, documentaries and pornos. I have listed the foremost Italian exploitation film directors that I can think of.. If you have a particular Italian director that you admire that I have missed out, please let's have a discussion below.
10. Bruno Mattei (1931-1997)
Those of you who read my reviews will know that I am not a fan of Bruno Mattei. However, he is an important film maker to discuss in terms of Italian exploitation cinema - as he represents the very nadir. Mattei got his start in film making editing a few hundred films in the 1960s-70s. His 'big break' came directing 20 minutes of hard core porn inserts for Jess Franco's 99 Women. He quickly jumped head first into directing - exploiting whatever fad was going on the fringes of Italian cinema. For example - in the late 1970s trend for Nazisploitation, Mattei directed several similarly themed films including SS Girls. When nunsploitation was a hot commodity, he directed The Other Hell. After Caligula was released, he made a couple of very derivative films. He also exploited the WIP genre (Women in Prison) with titles such as Violence in a Women's Prison. He somehow managed to secure Laura Gemser to star in that film. Diabolical zombie movies were also a special of Mattei's - just have a look at Zombie Creeping Flesh which flagrantly lifts the Goblin penned score to Romero's Dawn of the Dead! Another notably dire movie of Mattei's that has a measure of fame is Rats: Nights of Terror. It is predictably a pile of crap. Mattei died in 2007 of complications relating to a brain tumour. In total, he made 45 very low budget movies that he himself said he wished he could direct them all again as they are 'ugly'. God bless him, he tried his best, but his films are truly awful. There is already a cult surrounding Bruno Mattei, with people dubbing him 'The Italian Ed Wood'. These fans enjoy his films' weak direction, terrible acting and pitiful special effects. They may love him because he is so bad but I have to draw the line somewhere among all the crappy films I watch. And that line is Bruno Mattei.
My first film watched was Carrie aged 2 on my dad's knee. Educated at The University of St Andrews and Trinity College Dublin. Fan of Arthouse, Exploitation, Horror, Euro Trash, Giallo, New French Extremism. Weaned at the bosom of a Russ Meyer starlet. The bleaker, artier or sleazier the better!