Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy 85th Birthday Massimo Pupillo

Domenico Massimo Pupillo was born on January 7, 1929 in San Severo, Foggia, Italy. Pupil came to the cinema during a long stay in France after the Second World War in which he served with the partisan brigades in France. After returning briefly to Italy, he returned to France, where he had his first experience as an assistant director. After marrying in 1958 with Paulette Farjon, which in 1969 they will have a son (musician Massimo Pupillo), he returned to Italy to devote himself to directing. After intense activity as a documentarian (directing more than 200 documentaries) , Pupillo made ​​his debut in the commercial cinema as an assistant director with “L'amore primitivo”, directed by Luigi Scattini in 1963.
The onset of Pupillo and his delve into real horror came in 1965 with “5 tombe per un medium”, a small Gothic masterpiece starring Barbara Steele and Walter Brandi, photographed by Carlo Di Palma (future cinematographer of “Shadows and Fog” (1991) directed by Woody Allen).
In the same year, Pupillo directs his best-known film, the cult movie “Il boia scarlatto”, with Mickey Hargitey and Femi Benussi, with special effects by Carlo Rambaldi, the future Oscar winner for “King Kong” (1976), “Alien” (1979), and “ET” (1982). Also in 1965 he released his third movie: “Revenge of Lady Morgan” with Erika Blanc and Paul Muller. Artistically eclectic, Pupillo abandoned the genre after his only Euro-western film written by Renato Polselli, “Django Kills Silently” (1967) using the alias Max Hunter, and two spicy films: “Sweden, Heaven and Hell” (1967) and “Love the Unknown” (1969), only to return later in the eighties with his favorite movie which was never distributed, “Sat Jana”, a story with socially stimulating ideas.
Yet, even if the number of films he directed you can count on the fingers of one hand, even if the director tended to consider his horror experience as marginal, Pupillo has achieved a place in the history of Italian cinema by horror fans with only three excellent works, as one of the most imaginative and bizarre filmmakers of his kind.
From the 1980s Massimo went into directing educational programs for Rai 3. Also in the eighties he also directed the before mentione “Sa Jana”, a film set in the Cabras lagoon in Sardinia, and interpreted by fishermen, without any professional actors. Pupillo has been an innovator of Italian horror and counts among his admirers Quentin Tarantino.
Today we celebrate Massimo Pupillo’s 85th birthday.

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