The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show — Another Hole in the Head 2011 — movie review
Posted on May 16, 2011 by Chris Nelson
It’s that time of year again. Time for SF Indie’s Another Hole in the Head Film Festival. We’ve picked out a few choice flicks to review, the first of which is the Gabriele Albanesi‘s The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show.
Something akin to a mashup of John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness and the classic French folktale, Bluebeard, The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show tells the tale of Alessio Rinaldi (Giuseppe Soleri), a young, aspiring film director, whose first big break into industry sees him rooming with a cult horror author (Ubaldo of the title, played by Paolo Sassanelli) in order to complete the script for his first feature film. While their collaboration starts smoothly enough, Alessio soon succumbs to horrific nightmares and waking hallucinations as their crafted narrative progresses. But when newspaper articles concerning disappearances of people from his dreams begin to pop up, Alessio begins to suspect that Ubaldo’s trademark, deeply disturbing, hyper-realistic tales may spring more from reality than imagination.
I’ll tell you up front that The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show suffers from the primary afflictions of Italian horror films: namely, style over mood. The picture has a great premise, and is particularly well shot, but never manages to muster the spookiness and sense of danger the narrative demands. Acting, pacing, and editing are all decent enough, but the film just feels too clean with respect to its subject matter. Further, there are numerous subplots that are introduced, briefly explored, and though proving somewhat promising, tossed aside. One such plot thread, concerning Alessio’s rivalry with a similarly aspiring peer seemed to promise some future jealous rage on Alessio’s part, given the bad influence Ubaldo has on him. But the competition is introduced, forgotten, and the peer just disappears. There was so much director Albanesi could have done with the material that I felt rather disappointed.
That said, the film does have its memorable moments. As the film builds up to its climax, it unleashes an array of impressive special effects. If you’re a fan of Italian horror, you know their gore effects trend toward grosser than gross, and the charnel house that Alessio meets will not disappoint. There are heart extractions, amputations, and a sequence of ocular destruction so convincing it left Kris and I wondering how exactly they did it. And for those not impressed in blood, know there’s a tense sequence of beard on beard action, and some rather impressive boy-shorts (courtesy of Laura Gigante) to be seen. Yes, indeed, there’s something for everyone.
In this year’s lineup of ghost, vampire, and zombie films, The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show stands out as a particularly unique entry. It may be flawed, but it’s worth a look for the adventurous horror fan.
The Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show screens at Another Hole in the Head, 2011 on Saturday, June 5, at 9:20pm, and Tuesday, June 14 at 5:20pm. As usual, both shows will be at the Roxie. For more info go to SFIndie’s page on the film