14th May2021

‘Nightmare Symphony’ Blu-ray Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Frank LaLoggia, Antonella Salvucci, Poison Rouge, Pietro Cinieri, Irene Baruffetti, Edi Hasan Lushi, Halil Budakova, Merita Budakova | Written by Antonio Tentori | Directed by Domiziano Cristopharo, Daniele Trani

Made famous by directors such as Dario Argento, Mario Bava, and Lucio Fulci, Giallo (an Italian term) movies are murder mystery/horror thriller affairs that have always had a cult following. Unfortunately, there are very few modern Giallo movies made so I was pleased to see Nightmare Symphony get a release… and be able to review it!

Nightmare Symphony, a tribute to Lucio Fulci’s Nightmare Concert/A Cat in the Brain, in which Fulci himself played a tortured horror filmmaker haunted by his own bloody horror film visions; follows a director attempting to finish making his film while someone or something is killing off the people trying to finance and help him make it.

Perhaps what Nightmare Symphony does best is manage to feel like an authentic 1970s Giallo movie. It’s gloriously seventies at times. From the fashion to the locations to excellent musical score. I’m not sure how they found a modern city (I believe in Italy) that looks like it is stuck in time from over forty years ago. Strangely but quite brilliantly too, most of the cast look like they were or would have been popular in the seventies but are now looking like their best days are behind them.

The music is perfectly suited and very Giallo-esque as it should be. The composer clearly knew what type of movie was being made and creates some nice original music inspired by the classics. Maybe even more importantly to fans of the genre, legendary composer Fabio Frizzi (Zombie, A Cat In The Brain, Devil Fish) is drafted in to create the main theme and it’s excellent. Another great idea wass to have the director of 1981’s Fear No Evil and 1988’s Lady in White, actor/director Frank LaLoggia play the director in the movie. He’s exactly authentic as he should be in the role and he’s really good in it.

Along with that music and style, the directors use a cinematography style that is most prominent in Giallo. Those close-ups of people’s faces in fear and zoom-ins of the gore all look great. That gore is key to this movie experience too. It takes a while for the blood and gore to get going but when it does it’s absolutely worth the wait. Even close-up the gore looks perfectly realistic and the wounds look grotesque… even if you’re a horror fan that thinks you’ve seen it all! From cuts to throats to heads being run over, there’s a variety in the gore too.

The killer is worth more than a brief mention because he kills while wearing a giant peacock mask (similar to the bird-headed killer from Stagefright/Aquarius). It’s somehow not anywhere near as ridiculous as it sounds and actually looks at times kinda cool, while at other times kinda scary. It’s a good mix. There are some great images that come from the death scenes.

There must be a reason that hardly any Giallo movies are made anymore but I can’t think of a good one; and Nightmare Symphony proves that really entertaining movies can be made using the same style and aesthetic.

Anyone looking for that new Giallo fix should definitely check out Nightmare Symphony.

Blu-ray Bonus Features:

  • Commentary
  • Interview with Antonella Salvucci
  • Interview with Antonio Tentori
  • Interview with Daniele Trani
  • Photogallery
  • Behind the Scenes
  • Original Trailer
  • Trailer

*** 3/5

Nightmare Symphony is released on Blu-ray on June 1st, courtesy of Tetrovideo.

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