IMDb > Fatal Frames - Fotogrammi mortali (1996) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
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8 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Geesh! It's not the end of the world.

Author: capkronos ( from Ohio, USA
21 August 2005

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

People are acting like this movie is completely devoid of any merit, which is simply not true. Any true horror fan can take one look at the cast and automatically rebuke those claims before even seeing this movie. But I'll admit that it does have some major problems, glaring plot inconsistencies and annoying / awful acting... but claiming it is the worst giallo or worst horror film ever made is ridiculous.

New York music video director Alex Ritt (Rick Gianasi, SGT. KABUKIMAN) goes to Rome to direct a new video for European pop sensation Stefania Stella ("A household name in Italy!") in an effort to broaden her international appeal. Meanwhile, a cloaked psycho is hacking up beautiful young women with a machete and taunting police with black-and-white videos of his/her crimes. The bodies and blood are nowhere to be found and the same pattern of murders occurred years earlier in New York City, making Alex (whose wife had been killed by the same nut) a top suspect. Is he the victim of a psycho-stalker, being set-up by someone or is he the psycho continuing his crimes abroad? Police commissioner Bonelli (David Warbeck, who spends most of his time sitting behind a desk), Interpol agent Dr. Lucidi (Rossano Brazzi), American FBI serial killer expert Professor Robinson (Donald Pleasence) and others sort through the clumsy clues that obviously either implicates Alex or Stefania in the crimes. Pleasence, sadly aged, frail and dubbed, hobbles around on a cane, has to respond to threats like "I'll rip off your head and shove it up your @ss!" and is involved in a HALLOWEEN in-joke. Subplots introduce us to other characters/suspects, including a blind psychic (Alida Valli), Alex's former father-in-law and Broadway director (Geoffrey Copleston), a parapsychologist (Linnea Quigley), a raving graveyard dweller who may be a ghost (Angus Scrimm) and others. Most of the younger guys have long greasy ponytails so they'll be suspects when we see shadows of a long-haired killer.

The acting ranges from fair to awful, the dialog is even worse and the story itself goes all over the place, though admittedly the resolution actually did take me by surprise. This film, basically an attempt to revive giallo, is also blessed with high production values (and an obviously high budget), excellent cinematography (from Giuseppe Berardini) and breathtakingly beautiful location work around famous Roman sites (the Trevi Fountain, the Colloseum…) that make it well worth sitting through for travelogue value alone. In addition to the sites, there are tons of knowing visual and technical references to the Italian horror classics of Mario Bava, Dario Argento, Riccardo Freda and others.

Stefania Stella's phonetic English line reading is atrocious (and has a weird Eartha Kitt-like infliction to it), but she is blessed with lots of off-the-wall campy-tacky charm (similar to that of Cher in the '80s) and her singing voice and songs are hilariously corny. She also has a sex scene with Alex in front of video monitors playing her own video (!) to show off her silicone breasts. It's somewhat of a vanity project for the "actress" / singer (who gets lots of solitary close-ups and also produced it), but is an entertaining mixture nonetheless.

FATAL FRAMES took years to complete, was a winner of the "Lucio Fulci Award" at the 1996 FantaFest in Rome, features make-up effects by Steve Johnson and has a good supporting line-up of familiar genre faces to keep horror nuts happy. The special edition DVD has lots of music videos from director Festa (who had made over 100 in his native country), three Stefania Stella videos, trailers, deleted scenes, bios and a good behind-the-scenes "making of" short. It was dedicated to Pleasence and Brazzi and was the last film for both. Warbeck also passed away soon after. Much of the cast also popped up in a videotaped pseudo companion piece called SICK-O-PATHICS.

Grade: 5 out of 10

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4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Novelty value only

Author: auteurus from USA
5 September 2003

With Fatal Frames, Italian music video director Festa turns out a sub-par schlockfest that has little entertainment value. Even as a flawed modern tribute to the 80's Italian horror genre, viewing this film is recommended for completists and genre fans only.

The choice of Stefania Stella as leading lady is nothing short of bizarre. At her age, and with her mannish looks (despite considerable enhancement in the chest department), she lacks any credibility as a pop singer or sex symbol. Her credit as producer is probably the only way to explain her acting role in this film, because on her talents and looks she fails miserably.

The small cameos by Pleasence (in his second last film), Scrimm and Quigley are almost completely incidental to the plot. Warbeck's performance is totally over the top. With classic Italian horror film logic, several plot points are only explained in deleted scenes included on the DVD. In short, Fatal Frames is a confusing and unsatisfying viewing experience.

Although the film exhibits some visual flair, Festa's heavy hand on the zoom lens, poor dubbing and the overbearing 80's soundtrack detract from the overall film. A substandard transfer to DVD doesn't help either.

According to IMDB neither Festa nor Stella has worked again in film since Fatal Frames was filmed in '93. Many of the other cast either died within a few years of this films release (Pleasence, Warbeck, Brazzi) or are working sporadically in B grade movies. Frankly, after viewing this film, it isn't any great surprise that none appear to have gone on to greater success.

Rating 3/10

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

fabio clones and a female drag queen in an awful music video

Author: FieCrier from Upstate New York
27 May 2002

Stefania Stella, a bizarre choice for a female lead, is horrible; she looks unattractive and mannish, has an unattractive speaking voice, and can't act or perform. The male leads are Fabio clones who can't act either. Terrible acting all around! Donald Pleasance's role is so small as to be an unnecessary cameo (I understand he died during production?). He is badly dubbed; his real voice, as good as ever, can be heard in some of the rawer footage included in the "deleted scenes" on the DVD. Terrible directing, scripting, dialogue. Even the cover art for the movie is poor; it looks like a puppet, and guess what - when that scene comes around we discover that it is indeed a dummy, no surprise. Lighting is boring: all cool blues and warm oranges, like in an unimaginative music video. A waste of time; not even a single scene to recommend it.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

from disaster to disaster

Author: trashgang from Midian
16 January 2017

Fatal Frames should have become the next big giallo. But what a trouble this flick had. Shooting started in 1993 but being ripped-off by investors the first trouble came. From their on it really became a flick full of disasters. Donald Pleasence, Rossano Brazzi and Ciccio Ingrassia made their final appearances in this flick. So a lot of rewriting.

Putting in some famous names of the genre like Pleasance, Angus Schrimm and Linnea Quigley didn't made it even worth viewing (small appearances). The lead, the so-called sex symbol being used to make video clips is another failure, Stefanie Stella, aged only had one feature, her exaggerated boobs. Complete miscasting on that era. Even as she go into a sex scene she is still wearing her knickers while having sex, really?

The beginning of the flick is okay but once the killings are done, even that isn't that good on part of shooting, the effects were laughable (machete not going into bodies while hitting them hard) and low on blood, this flick turns into a blah blah flick, sometimes showing the shoot of the clip with Stella.

It do has the giallo atmosphere, the use of blue and red lighting. The black glove is in tact and the whodunit is overall in this flick but nothing is worth seeing. Like the title said, fatal frames indeed for the production team never to arise again in the scene.

Gore 0/5 Nudity 0,5/5 Effects 1/5 Story 1,5/5 Comedy 0/5

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Video Killed The Radio Star.

Author: morrison-dylan-fan from United Kingdom
3 October 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

After watching the OK 2003 Giallo Cattive inclinazioni,I decided to take a look at the titles IMDb page,where I noticed a reviewer mention that this was the first serious attempt to revive the genre,since a gialli made in the mid 90s called Fatal Frames.Taking a look at the movies IMDb page,I noticed that Linnea Quigley had a starring role.With having planned to see a number of flicks starring Quigley,I felt that this was the perfect time to break the frames.

The plot:

Since his wife got killed by a New York serial killer who has been dubbed the "Video Killer" music video director Alex Ritt has been putting all his attention on making a name for himself in the industry.With recently having finished his latest video,Ritt is delighted to get an offer to go to Italy in order to film a music video designed to introduce Italian Pop star Stefania Stella to the US.Arriving in Italy,Ritt is surprised to find everyone acting rather strange around him,with Ritt getting recurring images of his dead wife.Getting his eyes set on directing the latest Video,Ritt begins to fear that his past may have come along with him,when a mysterious "Video Killer" starts sending fatal videos to the police.

View on the film:

Being the main person behind the making of the film,producer/star Stefania Stella gives a pure kitsch performance that has a unique charm all of its own.Unlike all of the other actors,Stella does her own dubbing in uneasy broken English,which unintentionally gives the title a wonderfully weird atmosphere.Adding to the weirdness,Stella stops a major topless sex scene from over heating,by clearly keeping her throng on,as Stella the character is in the midst of passion,with Stella also giving the film a touch of Bollywood,by performing a number of short & sweet poppy songs.Surrounding Stella,the impressive supporting cast each give very good performances,that go from the very creepy duo of Angus Scrimm & Alida Valli,to Donald Pleasence giving his final performance a warm,poetic note.

Kicking things off with the "Video Killer" attacking a victim,co- writer/ (along with Alessandro Monese & Mary Rinaldi) composer/director Al Festa (aka:Mr Stefania Stella) unleashes an enchanting atmosphere,which gives this Giallo a real supernatural mood.Backed by a striking score,Festa gives the film an extremely eye- catching,stylised appearance,thanks to Festa using vivid blues,yellows and oranges to show Ritt become increasingly dazzled,and splashes of light across the screen,which reveal the making of another "killer" video.Whilst the 125 minute does stretch the story past its natural point,the writers do very well at delivering a creepy Giallo mystery,with Ritt's glamorous world of music videos being shown to contain shadows of ghosts from the past,as Ritt says "Action" on his fatal frame.

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Fairly grisly giallo more ways than one

Author: melvelvit-1 from NYC suburbs
30 November 2016

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Manhattan-based director Alex Ritt (Rick Gianasi) travels to Rome to film a music video with Italian singing sensation Stefania Stella (herself) and witnesses a series of gruesome slayings that mimic the still-at-large serial killer who murdered his wife back in New York...

Former music video director Al Festa's flashy thriller does double duty as both an MTV-style homage to classic Italian gialli and a shameless vanity project showcasing his wannabe pop star wife Stefania Stella, Italy's answer to Pia Zadora. There's plenty of Argento trope (was that him in an uncredited bit?) from the American abroad up to his eyeballs in murder to the trench-coated killer adept at decapitation along with a heaping helping of Mario Bava's swirling mists and colored lights. Red herrings abound and so do a sh!tload of psychotronic guest stars (Alida Valli, Ciccio Ingrassia, David Warbeck, Angus Scrimm, Linnea Quigley, Rossano Brazzi, Donald Pleasance) propping up a clever but improbable plot that blends PEEPING TOM with MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS.

Stefania Stella's one scary looking lady, let me tell ya- when Ritt meets her he says, "You've got a European look" which is kind of an insult to Continentals since Stefania (speaking her lines phonetically like Vera Hruba Ralston did) looks more like a transgender who sounds like Bela Lugosi than a desirable woman. The film's a good forty-five minutes longer than it should be, thanks to a Cook's tour of the Eternal City and Stella's four awful songs that all sound the same but, nevertheless, I couldn't take my eyes off her. The film won the "Lucio Fulci Award" at the 1996 Fantafilm Festival.

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3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Worst giallo ever made.

Author: ruediger_vienna from Vienna, Austria
11 December 2003

Giallo meets the 80s - in a movie made 1996. If Fatal Frames was made in the 80s, then it would be just a styleless 80's movie, but at least contemporary at the time of release (like Le Foto di Gioia by Lamberto Bava). The movie is looking like a music-video from '83, also the score was 100% outdated.

The plot is quite OK if you manage to watch the whole movie - the end is quite logical (for giallo-standards).

Stefania Stella - the lead - also produced the movie, which might be the reason for Festa to cast her. If you are used to female actresses like Daria Nicolodi you could experience serious damage: The acting is practically not present, and her looks - ehh - okay, just forget about her.

So if you are a giallo-collector get this flick, if you're just starting your exploration of the giallo-genre (which you are probably not, if you're reading this on IMDb) please forget about this or you will never catch the giallo-spirit. Start with Argento, Bava(s), Fulci or even Michele Soavi - and then turn to Festa, smile and shake your head.

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3 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Terrible, except for the end.

Author: anonymous from California
11 November 1998

This movie is utterly boring and tedious to sit through, but there is one good moment, and it's the last scene of the movie. Donald Pleasance is talking on a phone with another detective. He tells him he's heading back to the United States, but he has to be there before Halloween because "it looks like an old case has been re-opened." And then he walks off to catch his train with a cane. In the background, we hear John Carpenter's "Halloween Theme" playing. It's another case of a great ending in search of a better movie to be attached to.

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6 out of 17 people found the following review useful:


Author: Zizalphe
29 August 1998

an insult. It's quite inexplicable how director Al Festa managed to get enough money to shoot this. Not only this movie is worse than anything you've ever seen, but it's also some kind of insult to all the talented b-movie genre players and filmmakers it intends to pay homage to. Thank God, despite some media hyping, it's been a total flop. Sometimes there's justice, out there. Don't even think of throwing away your money catching it on tape. If you want to check out what's left of the great season of Italian B -MovieMaking you should stay in the 80's and search for every Fulci title you've missed. The Art was there. This is simply the kind of boring copycatting trash which led our industry to ashes.

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