Revenge of the Dead (1983)

Pupi Avati is doubtlessly a one-of-a-kind director, and while his contributions to Italian Horror cinema are not at all typical for their sub-genres, they are highly memorable. Avati’s 1976 Giallo “La Casa Dalle Finestre Che Ridono” (“The House With Laughing Windows”) must be one of the greatest Gialli ever made, even though very atypical, and low on sleaze and murders. If one wants to refer to “Zeder” of 1983 as an Italian Zombie Film, then it is even less typical for its sub-genre, as the film almost completely lacks the gore that Italian Zombie flicks such as Lucio Fulci’s films are so famous and notorious for. However, it is a highly atmospheric and original cinematic experience, and a film that my fellow fans of Italian Horror definitely should not miss.

The writer Stefano (Gabriele Lavia) gets an old typewriter as a gift from his wife Alessandra (Anne Canovas). By accident, he finds out that it used to belong to Paolo Zeder, a scientist who had been researching a gateway from the beyond in the 1950s…

The film is sometimes said to have inspired Stephen King when he wrote his famous novel “Pet Sematary”. And while I am not quite sure whether this is true (the film was released in Italy only months before King’s novel) there doubtlessly are certain parallels. Avati’s film is rather slow-paced, but it oozes atmosphere from the beginning to the end, and the plot is fascinating. Avati understands how to create genuine eeriness without constantly employing gore-effects. The beautiful cinematography, picturesque settings and wonderful Score by Riz Ortolani fortify the gloomy atmosphere. Gabriele Lavia, who is maybe most widely known for playing supporting roles in Dario Argento’s films (most notably in “Profondo Rosso”), is a fantastic actor and he is once again great in his role here. Anne Canovas is drop-dead gorgeous and fits greatly in the role of his wife; the typically sleaze-loving Eurohorror audiences might be disappointed that she keeps her clothes on throughout the movie. Overall, it should be said that “Zeder” is not a film that should be approached expecting a gore-drenched Zombie massacre. However, those familiar with some of Pupi Avati’s work wouldn’t anyway. While the pace may be a little slow, the film is an intelligent, eerie and highly atmospheric wholesome that no true lover of Italian Horror cinema should miss