Director(s) – Giuliano Giacomelli (P.O.E. Poetry of Eerie), Edo Tagliavini (Bloodline), Donatello Della Pepa (Sono Io), and Domiziano Cristopharo (House of Flesh Mannequins)
Starring – Dario Biancone (Silence), Angelo Campus (P.O.E. Poetry of Eerie), and David D’Ingeo (The Phantom of the Opera)
Release Date – 2014
Rating – 2/5
Tagline – “7 tales of terror”
Italian horror is a sub-genre all it’s own and that is for a damn good reason. Most Italian horror films are literally considered a work of art. Attention to every detail is unrivaled by any other style of film. So much time is put into every camera angle, lighting, musical score, dialogue, and so much more. Most of this stuff is taken for granted by their American counterparts and that is why their films will always have a space on our shelves.
In 1990 my favorite director, George A. Romero, partnered with giallo pioneer and Italian director Dario Argento to create an anthology film called Two Evil Eyes featuring the work of Edgar Allen Poe. This film is one me and a friend of mine would watch religiously when we would hang out. I loved that film so much that when I started this blog for the second time I reviewed it first. This film is nothing short of extraordinary.
A few days back I caught wind of an upcoming Italian anthology titled P.O.E. Project of Evil and is a sequel of sorts to P.O.E. Poetry of Eerie. Poetry of Eerie was a new one to me but the thought of another Italian take on a Poe tale really excited me. Lucky for me my friends over at Brain Damage are the ones releasing this one in the U.S. and I was able to view it before it was released.
The film features renditions of Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, Solo, Loss of Breath, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Tell-Tale Heart, The System of Dr. Tar and Prof. Feather, and The Premature Burial. To cover each one of these will take me days.
Anthologies are typically a mixed bag. When an anthology is good you get a solid film consisting of several short stories that pull you in and give you one hell of a good time. However, not all anthologies are consistent all the way through and this is typically a problem when you feature shorts directed by different directors. Sadly, that is what happened to this anthology here. The film is not a straight forward horror flick, but is more of an art film set in the macabre world of Poe.
That is one of the many reasons I did not enjoy myself with this film. Art films are beautifully choreographed, shot, and written in a way that the viewer has to be open and willing to view the film the exact way the director, or directors, intended for it to be seen. Obviously, I am not an art film fan and most of the stuff this film has to offer was over my head.
The acting in this one is actually very solid throughout each film. Every segment has a top notch cast and that made the segments go down a little easier. Th stories for these had so much potential but decided to be more of an art film instead of a horror flick. There is a fine line between art film and Italian horror flick and this one found it’s way onto the wrong side of that line. More focus on horror and suspense would have made these all go a long way. Now, with that being said, The Premature Burial and Murders in the Rue Morgue were fucking phenomenal. Premature Burial is a Fulci-esque take on the classic Poe tale that really needs to be expanded upon. This is the shortest story in the film and easily the most affective. Murders in the Rue Morgue was the other great story in the film. This one was surprisingly raunchy and shocking. If this film only consisted on these two tales then it would have received a 4.5 out of 5 rating from me.
Finally, the film has some phenomenal special effects that were never fully capitalized upon. Overall, P.O.E. Project of Evil is an art film made for the fans of Italian horror. Sadly, if you are not an art film fan then this film will not go over well for you. I still recommend this film just for the Murders in the Rue Morgue and Premature Burial segments.