October 3, 2014

Movie Review: Paganini Horror

When it comes to trashy Italian horror, there are a number of names you can look up and find plenty to be entertained by. One of those names happens to be Luigi Cozzi, often credited as Lewis Coates. He may not have been quite as prolific as some, and his name does not come up as often as, say, Lenzi, Bava, Fulci, or even Mattei, but he is not to be overlooked. I would highly recommend Starcrash and Contamination, these are fantastic and goofy flicks, and do not forget his pair of Hercules movies with Lou Ferrigno. The movie at hand is the final fictional feature he helmed, Paganini Horror. It is a lesser film to be sure, but still one to be savored.

As the movie opens, we watch a young girl practice the violin before going into the bathroom where her mother is bathing and kills her by dropping a hair drier into the tub. The scene then switches to an all female rock band playing a song in the studio. The producer is not happy with the song, which sounds like a cheap rip on Bon Jovi's “You Give Love a Bad Name,” and demands that they right a new song, something fresh and mind blowing (we all know how easy that is to do). Well, to help out, one of the guys there meets a creepy fellow who looks a lot like Donald Pleasance.... wait... that is Donald Pleasance! Creepy Don sells an old parchment containing an unpublished piece of music by Niccolo Paganini! Could this be salvation for the band?

The band loves it, turns it into a song and decide to record it with a video at an old house where Paganini once lived and they will call it, drum roll, Paganini Horror! Sounds like a great idea. The recording gets underway and then things start to happen. People begin to disappear and they all begin to experience hallucinations. A masked killer begins to stalk the hallways, killing people with a violin that has a long knife protruding from it. One by one, people are killed. Then dawn comes and,well, give it a watch, see what happens.

In all seriousness, it is not a good movie, but it is a cheesy good time. At times it appears Cozzi is trying to emulate Dario Argento's use of color in Suspiria. Of course, the effect is nowhere near as good. Still, the movie is fun. Donald Pleasance is a trip, he has very little screentime, but all you need is the scene where he goes up a tower and throws money off of it calling the bills little demons. You will also find Daria Nicolodi (Suspiria and many other horror classics), who also co-wrote the screenplay with Cozzi.

Paganini Horror is silly, nonsensical, and unexplainable. It does have a nice ending that begins the cycle of death as this one completes. Don't take it too seriously, don't look for explanations, just enjoy. And perhaps find a way to remake it and improve it, it seems like a rather fun idea.


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