Giallo, Horror

Symphony in Blood Red (2010)

Comments Off on Symphony in Blood Red (2010) 03 April 2017

symphony in blood

Studio: Troma

Theatrical Release: October 21, 2010 (Italy)

DVD Release: November 10, 2015

Director: Luigi Pastore

Not Rated

Review by Travis North

Have you ever seen some fucking awful childhood artwork pinned to a refrigerator? The proud parents beam about how talented their little tyke is and how proud they are of them. To unbiased observers it’s garbage and you wonder what the long-term chances are for the child. That’s what came to mind when watching Symphony in Blood Red.

Since this is a Troma release, things start off on a high note. Lloyd Kaufman introduces the film as “Dario Argento” wearing a horrible wig and making bad with a just as bad Italian accent. A totally nude woman walks in to help set the stage as a “conductor” for this symphony set to what is claimed as Beethoven. What it really ends up being is a bunch of clips from other Troma movies set to Wagner. To be fair I don’t expect many Troma fans to be classical aficionados. It’s the cheap self promotion you expect from Lloyd, and sets the bar for entertainment.

The movie starts and immediately I’m nervous because it is shot on video. The story itself is pretty lame. A guy goes to therapy, and instead of getting better he actually unleashes his murderous desires. There are disjointed kills, and a set of Punch and Judy style puppets act as a type of chorus to try to keep you from becoming totoally lost. It’s very much inspired by Argento’s giallo work, but this is a really bad imitation. The director, Luigi Pastore, calls on what is obviously some solid personal connections to help contribute to this. He has the support of the man Argento himself, gets effects work done by gore expert Sergio Stivaletti, and has soundtrack contributions by none other than Goblin member Claudio Simonetti. The result is tedious junk. I’m not going to blame Stivaletti, but old school make-up effects look just cheap on video and lose any of the impact like in classic Italian gore films. The songs by Simonetti are great. He mixes popular classical cuts with his keyboard driven prog metal and I highly enjoyed that. Unfortunately Pastore squanders these advantages and makes a crappy movie.

Besides poorly copying Argento with gloved killers plunging knives into people (and enough with the close ups of an eyeball!!), he succumbs to also imitating torture porn, and borrows from the Saw series (someone actually says “let’s play a game”). The lush photography and camera movements you’d expect are nonexistent. Even the sound effects are so cheap they pull you out of the movie. The last half hour is almost interminable padding to stretch this serial killer claptrap to barely 80 minutes.

Watching the DVD extras, everyone talks about how much they wish Italy would get back to making genre movies, and I would agree with that sentiment. Once they talk about how much they support Pastore and he is the future of Italian horror I have to highly disagree. He ain’t it. The extras include some interviews with Argento, who at this point looks like a Down Syndrome version of Angus Scrimm. What’s really odd is that the subtitles in these extras fly by from right to left on the screen which is difficult to read versus flashing titles. There are behind the scenes, a trailer, highlights from the 16th Tromadance film festival, Kabukiman’s Cocktalk Corner trailer, and finally a music video shot by Kaufman titled Faggot. Seeing this music video just solidified my position that even the lowest of budget effects look good if done on film. In this case, a big fake cock and shit covered asshole get cleaned out by a hungry homo. Only the classiest from the Troma team!

Movie Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 

DVD Rating: ★★★☆☆

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