In preparation for the Italian Invasion 3 at this month’s Chiller Theatre show, I had the privilege to ask frequent Italian collaborator Giovanni Lombardo Radice six questions via email. Here are his entertaining responses. Join the man who affectionately calls himself Johnny at the Chiller show in Parsippany, where he’ll be part of a massive CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD reunion!
Phil Fasso: You worked under Umberto Lenzi, Michele Soavi, Ruggero Deodato and Lucio Fulci. What was different about each as a director?
Giovanni Lombardo Radice: Lenzi was a pompous ass and I notoriously didn’t get along with him and hated the movie. Soavi is a great friend of mine and I director I deeply appreciate. He is generous, creative, unpredictable, an artist. Deodato is sure of himself, brisk, straight to the point, but at the same time very funny and nice. Fulci was gloomy, nervous, unhappy, but a great professional, with a strong visual intensity.
PF: Which monster do you find scarier: cannibal or zombie?
GLR: God…a cannibal might exist and I wouldn’t wish to have tea with one….a zombie is surely more repulsive. Is there a third choice? I have seen a ghost once and I wasn’t at all scared.
PF: You’ve had your privates sliced off, your head slammed into a drill press, and you’ve died in a bird suit. Why do you think you’ve always died so fantastically in the Italian horror films?
GLR: As a young person I was the perfect victim: frail, neurotic, crazy….Growing up I got stronger and was less tortured.
PF: A few years back, you played a priest in the remake of THE OMEN. How do you think this film fits in with your exploitation catalogue?
GLR: I enjoyed being in the movie and director John Moore (obviously a horror fan) treated me like royalty, even if it was a small role (but quite important to the plot). A good experience with the great joy of being in Prague, the most beautiful town I ever saw.
PF: As you head toward the CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD reunion, what are some of your favorite memories of the film?
GLR: The people. Meeting Michele Soavi and becoming his friend, having a crush for the perfect beauty of Antonella Interlenghi, being young, foolish, full of expectations and realising (it was my second movie) that filming would have been an important part of my life. As it was.
PF: What do you think the legacy of CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD is, 30 years later?
GLR: That you can obtain more success and hit the point with fantasy and atmosphere than with complicate technology and special effects.