Paganini Horror is a bad movie, a truly awful film that if made nowadays would be regarded as a massive flop. And I love it!
The movie doesn’t have a plot. Oh, it thinks it does, but if you sit down and really think the film over you realize nothing makes sense in this jumbled mess. The gist of the story involves an all-female band who are struggling to produce their next big hit. When one of the crew members decide to meet up with guest star (and dubbed-over) Donald Pleasence to purchase an original piece of music from famed musician Paganini, they think they have a hit on their hands. A hit that could rival Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”, and his fantastic video clip (their words not mine). They decide the best way to do that is go to La Casa di Sol, a place were various composers lived, and shoot their video. They meet the homeowner Sylvia (Daria Nicolodi) who rents them the mansion for a few days. However, it doesn’t take long for the real Paganini to show up and brutally stab people with his bladed violin. Also, there is an invisible barrier around the house that makes it so they can’t leave. Who can survive a deadly night of fungus, violins, and invisible crushing walls?
I could try to further dissect and discuss Paganini Horror, but I truly believe it’s a film that can’t be described. Sure, the film’s ending tries to provide some sort of explanation, having Donald Pleasence show up to deliver thin exposition that when thought about even a bit doesn’t make a lick of sense. However, I think the reason this flick has a cult following is because of how truly absurd the whole thing can be. They knew to throw in beautiful-looking women (no nudity, though), great gore effects (that invisible crushing wall scene is amazing), and a dubbed and tired looking Pleasence. These are all qualities that any true horror fan are going to get a kick out of, even if the movie itself is one random scene after another. Plus, both the theme song and ripoff of “You Give Love a Bad Name” titled “Stay the Night” is damn catchy.
Severin Films releases Paganini Horror on Blu-ray in a transfer that looks quite nice with only a tiny bit of damage here and there. BD Info shows the video having an average bitrate of around 26000 kbps, using a MPEG-4 AVC codec. Many should be aware that 88 Films also released Paganini Horror in the UK and the picture quality between both releases is very similar, with a high amount of grain due to the film’s 16mm footage; however, Severin’s varies in that it has a much warmer color contrast, which reveals additional details in darker images.
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Audio is provided in both Italian and English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. I chose to watch the film in dubbed English as I find the loose syncing to add to the overall cheesiness. No issues in regards to the audio, unless you count Donald Pleasence’s dubbed voice, which at times sounds like a person who is trying to sound like Donald Pleasence but has a sore throat.
Extra features include a 30-minute interview with director Luigi Cozzi, who talks a bit about his 1978 feature Starcrash, and working with Donald Pleasence for his three days of shooting (Pleasence was paid a hefty amount for those three days). Next, we have an interview with actor Pietro Genuardi who played the filmmaker shooting their hopefully fantastic video clip. This interview runs roughly 15-minutes long. Finally, we have 9-minutes of deleted scenes and an alternate ending which are in Italian with no subtitles. Also included is the entire soundtrack on CD!
NEW 2k transfer from original film negative
NEW “Play It Again Paganini” – Interview with director Luigi Cozzi (HD; 30:31)
NEW “The Devil’s Music” – Interview with actor Pietro Genuardi (HD; 15:33)
NEW Original motion picture soundtrack disc with track listing insert
Deleted scenes and alternate ending (unrestored HD; 8:53)
Trailer (HD; 2:52)
Audio commentary by Troy Howarth
“Bloody Violin” – Interview with Luigi Cozzi (different from this release)
Interview with Pietro Genuardi (different from this release)
Reversible sleeve and slipcover
Paganini Horror is another Italian film that is bad, awful, and terrible, yet you can't stop loving it. It's pure nonsense in celluloid form and horror fans are going to eat it up. Severin Films releases a damn fine Blu-ray and you would be mad not to plop your money down on it.