Horror Favourites – Federico Zampaglione

Italian musician and film director Federico Zampaglione has followed up on his well-received short movie BIANCA, with an even more horrific study of Italy under lockdown – BIANCA: PHASE 2 and to celebrate we bring you not only both parts but an exclusive interview.

BIANCA is a stylishly violent short horror thriller, shot in lockdown in Italy on his iPad in three days and starring his ten year old daughter Linda in the title role and his partner, actress Giglia Marra. The story, which centres on the tense, unpredictable relationship between a girl and her mother at home, was co-written by Zampaglione and Gianluigi Perrone.

Federico said: “My daughter was getting a little bored being at home for so long with nothing entertaining to do, so I suggested to her and my girlfriend Giglia, that we do a little film – have some fun together and stay in a better mood. It’s very important right now to stay positive through the tough times we are going through. On top of this I had the occasion to get back to my old love…The Horror”.

Watch part 1 right here:

Part 2 staring his wife and daughter is again shot on Federico’s iPad and Zampagione, who created, edited and produced the film single-handedly, has cast his former wife, actress Claudia Gerini in a cameo role and, obeying lockdown rules, involved only family members in the location roles – Marco and Giula Chermaz, his cousin and nephew respectively.

The story is set during Phase 2 of the Italian lockdown and Bianca (Linda Zampagilone) and her mother (Giglia Marra) decide to go to the reopened local park to enjoy their new found freedom in the sun. But an evil presence is stalking them and when Bianca is kidnapped, her mother enters a nightmare world trying to find and save her daughter from a terrible danger.

Federico said: “This is the second episode of a planned trilogy, and the action has become more horror-oriented. The biggest challenge was making a beautiful Roman park look like a disturbing and creepy place. I had to make it look completely empty and desolate, so it was all about waiting for silence and using all the camera angles to avoid including other people in the frames. One of the most interesting aspects to me, being a musician, was not using music that much.  Instead I worked a lot on building up an increasingly unnerving atmosphere using mostly natural sounds, like birds, dog barking, weird animal noises) rather than the classic score”.

Watch part 2 here:

Below the fantastic Federico Zampaglione tells us all about one of his favourite horror films The Descent:

“There are so many horror films that I have loved over the years, so it’ s not so easy for me to pick up just one of them but, on the other hand, I remember very well the mood I was in the first time I watched The Descent: a disturbing mix of tension, anxiety and terror. In a few words it is a great piece of cinema incredibly powerful and well done. A group of friends in love with adventure…

Back from a rafting trip, a car accident snatches little daughter Jessie and husband Paul from Sarah. Life no longer makes sense. A year later, the unprejudiced Juno brings the group together for a descent into the Boreham quarries, on the Appalachians, but once underneath it doesn’t seem to match the description in their guide book. In absolute darkness, waiting for Sarah, Juno and the other speleologists, there is a nightmare of death and the solution of their unresolved friendships.

The USA wobbles, Japan amazes, Korea follows, but it is from England that the horror that fans have been waiting for for years comes. Years in which it seemed that he had to resigned himself to a canvas that provided: nice ideas; tension held with cadenced effects that raised at the last second according to a course on the verge of collapse; solid characters like soap bubbles; twists as unpredictable as unforeseeable. Instead it happened. A British young man (Neil Marshall) thought that there is no need for pseudo-intellectual sophistry and an obsessions with originality at any cost. All you need to make a great genre film is honesty.

The Descent is the perfect title to call this descent into the abyss (both the rocky and black ones of the caves, and those even blacker than their souls) of six women, who armed with an ice axe put the viewer in front of a more disturbing dilemma than the pale white skinned cave dwelling creatures: which of the two groups are really the beasts?

The first hour of the film feeds the anguish and claustrophobia, until the appearance of the creatures: at that moment Marshall does not care about the see-not-see and he slams the “crawlers” on stage and begins a carnage, made of blows to the face and never low. A point where the girls’ torches run out, matches also run out and all sinks into total darkness. A nadir from which “the rise” begins, colored by the white of the monsters and the red of the blood, but in which the girls, increasingly black in black, do not participate.

A tense, vivid and compelling film, which many will define, as suggested by Marshall himself, as a sort of ‘Deliverance underground.’ These are the same ones who are likely to say it is more of a thriller than a horror movie, just like they have been doing for decades about The Shining and Alien.”

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Alex Humphrey

Alex studied film at the University of Kent and went on to work for Universal Pictures in their Post Room gaining an inside look at the movie industry from the very bottom. Constantly writing reviews in everything from local magazines to Hip Hop sites Alex honed his critical skills even spending a brief period as a restaurant critic. Read more

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