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An old Gothic cathedral, built over a mass grave, develops strange powers which trap a number of people inside with ghosts from a 12th Century massacre seeking to resurrect an ancient demon from the bowels of the Earth.
Feodor Chaliapin Jr.
We saw this movie at the 1994 Eurofest in London and have been singing it's praises to anyone who will listen ever since.
This Italian movie is an anthology based with no linking material, only that all of the stories have a horror/suspense/surreal theme.
The titles of the stories are as follows:
Our Guys Are Coming - A manic pre-credit sequence
Home Delivery - The occupants of a house try & fend off a determined delivery guy, who isn't too thrilled about being called out after hours.
Just Another Vampire Story - An aged vampire tries to impress a young man about his blood-sucking antics
Is TV Bad For Kids? - An evil television stalks a young girl around her home
Empty Gift - Big business and over-population clash in a Blade-Runner-like world
Chains - A guy is inducted into the world of S&M, where chains are the ultimate fashion statement
Outlook - A young woman has her dreams invaded by her psychiatrist
India 21 - A cab driver picks up a mysterious invisible passenger
Finally Together - A couple set up home in the country, but death plagues their thoughts
Squeak - Anarchic low-budget filmmakers try & make a snuff-movie
The stories are diverse, ranging from routine stories with twist-endings to social satire. The directing styles are equally as eclectic - compare the frenetic Peter Jackson-style opening segment, Our Guys Are Coming to the surrealistic, dreamlike qualities of Outlook. Though Italian in origin, there is more of a hint of modern US cinema about a few of them, with Home Delivery easily being mistaken as the early work of Sam Raimi, and with a little Anglo influence of Ridley Scott in Empty Gift.
The best segment is arguably India 21, which in these troubled times is more relevant now than when it was originally shot. Not just a showcase for some of the lesser-known beauty-spots of Roma, but a thoroughly absorbing premise which keeps you intrigued right the way through what is the longest of the segments.
An honorable mention has to go to Squeak, in which the filming of a snuff-movie is hampered by such problems as the microphone appearing in shot. You have to love it for throwing everything, including nunchaku-wielding ninjas into the mix.
We were in the 3rd audience to see it. Before the screening, it was announced that Degenerazione was about to be edited for release with a couple of the stories removed, but said release has yet to happen. Seeing as movies made that long ago are generally considered `commercially dead' it isn't looking likely that it will ever surface. If it does it will certainly be missing the Our Guys Are Coming segment.
However, with all the feverish interest surrounding Asia Argento at the moment, there may be a chance that some enterprising company will finally release this little gem to a waiting audience.
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