ITALIANS GET A LOT of praise for their keen eye in regard to the finer things in life—but what about their even better panache for bad taste?
The horror films that came out of Italy in the latter half of the 20th century were rife with stylized gore and sordid murders, making them tasty amalgamations of well-crafted effects and gutter-low sleaze. The Hollywood Theatre and the Wyrd War record label are celebrating these bloody achievements from the Old Country with a double feature of '80s grindhouse—1984's Rats: Night of Terror and 1985's Demons, both starring Rose Parade princess-turned-scream queen Geretta Geretta. The former Portlander will be on hand for a Q&A, the double feature's mayhem, and an afterparty at Blackwell's.
Geretta's performance is a highlight of Bruno Mattei's funky, rarely seen Rats: Night of Terror. Very much a product of a strange and different time, she plays a badass named Chocolate—the only black lady in a very white biker gang in the apocalyptic future. Survivors of a nuclear fallout, they eat the occasional rat in their hardscrabble existence of looking like MTV rejects. Upon discovering a hidden bunker filled with delicious food, it quickly escalates into a food fight, and Chocolate gets a bag of flour dumped on her head. ("I'm white!" she sings.) There are also rats. Many, many murderous rats. I would reckon quite a few didn't survive the production.
Meanwhile, Lamberto Bava's Demons is a bonkers AF flick that never gets old. Set in a labyrinthine movie theater in Berlin, a group of people are given free passes to a horror movie that starts to come true before their eyes. (This is every movie critic's worst nightmare.) Geretta leads the charge of ravenous monsters as a stylish hooker who tries on a mysterious mask which unleashes a demonic plague. Written by Dario Argento, Demons is an incredibly soundtracked, puzzling, and disgusting flick—it's fun, silly, and it'll screen in 35mm!