I Maniaci (1964)

Before Lucio Fulci was the Godfather of Gore, he was a director known for comedy. This 1964 film is all about the mania — the title translates as The Maniacs — that men and women exude every day, told in short skits, such as “The Elaboration,” in which a hearse driver fixes up his vehicle so he can get his passengers to the grave in less time and “Sport,” in which a boss loses so many bets that he must sell his wife to his co-workers.

The film finds time to make fun of protesters, housewives convinced their husbands are cheating, writers, strip club patrons, government agents and more. Its comedy doesn’t really translate so many years later, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that Fulci was considered a dependable comedy director.

In addition to the Morricone soundtrack, Fulci cast some of the 60s most gorgeous actresses, foremost amongst them Barbara Steele. Also on hand are Gaia Germani (Hercules In the Haunted World), Ingrid Schoeller (who was also in Fulci’s Oh! Those Most Secret Agents), Lisa Gastoni (The War of the Planets), Dominique Boschero (Who Saw Her Die?), Margaret Lee (Venus In Furs), Mary Arden (Blood and Black Lace) and Rada Rassimov (The Cat o’ Nine Tails).

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