The MAJOR selling point on this Italian import from Uncork’d Entertainment is right there, on top of the theatrical one sheet: writer and director Claudio Lattanzi.
Lattanzi worked as an assistant director under Michele Soavi on the 1985 documentary Dario Argento’s World of Horror and made his own directing debut with Zombie 5: Killing Birds (as Claude Milliken). And if you know your celluloid nom de plumes for American consumption, you know Lattanzi’s Assistant Director work under the name of Clay Millicamp on Soavi’s StageFright (1987), Umberto Lenzi’s Ghosthouse (1988), and Claudio Fragasso’s Interzone (1989). Another one of Lattanzi’s gigs was working as an assistant to Soavi on The Church (1989).
It’s been over 30 years since Claudio Lattanzi directed a movie (and if you read our review on the backstory on Zombie 5, you’ll understand why). And we are glad to have him back. And he hasn’t lost his touch.
In addition to Lattanzi’s own film linage inspiring us to watch, he brings along the queen of Italian horror cinema (well, one of them), Cinza Monreale (Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond; most recently in the pretty-fine Welsh-import, Dark Signal) and Giovanni Lombardo Radice (City of the Living Dead and House on the Edge of the Park). Italian horror cinemaphiles will also notice Marina Loi (Demons 2 and Zombie 3). And speaking of City of the Living Dead and The Church: the art director from those films, Massimo Antonello Geleng, is on board — and his (original) world destruction set pieces look like they’re clipped out of Will Smith’s (yeah, it looks great, but wow, it’s so utterly awful) I Am Legend.
Boy, Howdy! It’s like I’ve died and I’ve gone to my ’80s local duplex heaven.
Hopefully, you’ve seen The Church, or possibly Paul Naschy’s apoc-romp The People Who Own the Dark, because — to my delight — that’s what we have here: more apocalyptic-trapped ne’er do wells in the bowels of a building. And regardless of that familiarity, Crucified — known by its better (in my opinion) overseas title of Everybloody’s End — is not the least bit clichéd or trope-ridden. However, your own nostalgia mileage may vary. And if you don’t have that nostalgic albatross on your neck, even better, because you’ll enjoy this film — and understand why we, the B&S About Movies cubicle farmers, rant and rave about all of these old Italian and Spanish horrors from the ’70s and ’80s. And, even if you do not know — or care — about Lattanzi’s past, you don’t have to worry about slogging through a two-hour pushing indie streamer. It seems — since Lattanzi’s been out of the game for three decades — he decided to ease himself back into it: Crucified crosses, sans credits, the finish line in just over an hour. So it’s prefect streaming fodder. Padre, figlio e spirito santo. Amen.
Anyway, with all that being said, and as with those Spanish-Italian horror of old, the plot is probably not going to make a lot of sense. And the character’s motivations are dumbfounded and sometimes lacking in any development for you to care about them. But as with those overseas horrors of old, we never came for the plot or the characters in the first place: we came for the atmosphere and what-the-hell-why not pasta-toss to the walls.
The “end” begins in the 1700s as a witch finder stalks and crucifies a woman. In the present day, that crucifixion has unleashed an evil entity that serves as a sort of “patient zero” from beyond spreading a vampire outbreak that’s lead to the apocalyptic fall of man. And in the usual burst of Oliver Cromwellian and Matthew Hopikinsan witch hunting — every woman is a vampire — as a group of ex-soldiers, who refer to themselves as “The Exterminators,” crucify any woman in their path to wipe out the vampire plague — with the hopes that she is the dreaded “patient zero.” Of course, our merry band of futuristic Cromwells and Hopkinses made a huge mistake of tracking down the survivors — and the survivors — courtesy of a priest writing a book about the plague — choosing that particular makeshift bunker.
Originally released on December 9, 2018, in its native Italy and after a rollout across Europe, Crucified is now available to U.S. audiences — in Italian with English subtitles — on all streaming platforms starting March 9, 2021. You can learn more about the film — and brush up on your Italian — on the film’s official Facebook page. You can learn more about Uncork’d Entertainment’s roster of films at their website, Facebook, and You Tube pages. Another really fine Italian import we recently reviewed from Uncork’d was 2021’s Funeral Home.
Disclaimer: We were provided a screener for this film. That has no bearing on our review.