This week’s edition of Lisa Marie’s Favorite Grindhouse trailers is dedicated to Umberto Lenzi, who was born, on this date, in 1931. Lenzi was one of the most prolific of the Italian directors who came to prominence in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. A craftsman at heart, he directed films in every genre. Admittedly, he was never quite the critical favorite that Argento, Margheriti, Deodato, Bava, Fulci, and Soavi were. That’s a polite way of acknowledging that Umberto Lenzi was responsible for a few very bad films. But he directed some good ones, as well. Even if he’s not as acclaimed as some of his contemporaries, I think every Italian horror fan has at least one or two Lenzi films that they will happily defend to the grave.
Today, in honor of Lenzi’s life and work, here are 6 trailers for 6 Umberto Lenzi films! These trailers, by the way, could be considered NSFW so watch them at your own discretion.
- Spasmo (1974)
I will be the first to admit that I have shared this trailer quite often on this site. What can I say? I just love the way everyone keeps going, “Spasmo! Spamso!” Spasmo is giallo, one with the a plot that will keep you guessing.
2. The Tough Ones (1976)
Though Lenzi is probably best-remembered for his horror films, he also directed his share of violent, French Connection-inspired crime films. The Tough Ones is a good example.
3. From Corleone to Brooklyn (1979)
From Corleone to Brooklyn is another one of Lenzi’s crime films. While Corleone is a town in Sicily, there’s little doubt that the main purpose of the title was to trick people into thinking that this film was somehow connected to The Godfather.
4. Eaten Alive (1980)
Eaten Alive was one of the many cannibal films that Lenzi directed. This is actually one of the better examples of that rather icky genre. It’s certainly superior to Lenzi’s own Cannibal Ferox. Ivan Rassimov as Jim Jones turns out to be perfect casting. The trailer below is actually an edited version of the original trailer.
5. Nightmare City (1980)
This was Lenzi’s best-known contribution to the zombie genre. Uniquely, for the time, Lenzi’s zombies were fast and clever. The film was not acclaimed when it was originally released but it has since been cited as an influence on many recent zombie films. This is probably Lenzi’s most effective film as a director, even if the ending will probably have you rolling your eyes.
6. Nightmare Beach (1989)
Finally, in one of his final films, Lenzi brought together the spring break genre with the slasher genre. There’s some debate over how much of this film was directed by Lenzi and how much by a mysterious figure known as Harry Kirkpatrick. When I reviewed this film and mentioned the controversy, the film’s star, Nicolas De Toth, replied that Lenzi was definitely the one who directed. As he would definitely be in the best position to know, that’s good enough for me!