Rome... the Eternal City. Rome... the place where so many of my favourite movies have been made. Last weekend I took my girlfriend, Sam, there for a romantic weekend. I was excited. She was excited - probably partly because it meant not having to sit through any of my DVDs for a couple of days. Just kidding, Sam loves all that crap... apart from the Italian cop movies and the gialli, but you can't have it all I guess.
Thinking about battle and bloodshed about five minutes before an unexpected encounter...
I decided, for her sake, not to take the tour of Cinecitta, but a pilgrimmage to Dario Argento's famous horror store 'Profondo Rosso' was agreed. You may know that a certain Luigi Cozzi (director of Monster Shark, Contamination and the highly hilarious Star Wars rip-off, Starcrash) manages this store of many delights on Dario's behalf. What you perhaps do not know, is that if you want to say hi to Luigi at the shop, it is necessary to make an appearance during the morning, because he disappears 1-ish. I was not aware of this, until Gunnar Hansen told me. That's right, Gunnar Hansen. Leatherface.
Me and Gunnar. What a guy. Quite big isn't he.
What a strange and beautiful world it is when you're doing your tourist thing at the Coliseum, decided you've seen what you need to, file out below the exit sign, and come face to face with a hulking, white haired horror icon. "Excuse me...are you Gunnar Hansen?" He looks a bit hesitant. "Yeeeaah...", which is when yours truly attempts to explain quite how much he loves The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (which is difficult under any circumstances), at which point he practically takes me into his huge arms. After excitedly introducing myself and Sam to his lady wife, Betty, he asks if I've been to Dario's little shop of horrors. "Tomorrow", I say, "Was Luigi Cozzi there?", at which point he gives me the helpful advice. And you know what? He was right. Photos were taken, farewells were said, best holiday wishes were exchanged, after which I really had to sit down, smoke a ciggie, and regain my calm.
Yours truly with Starcrashmeister Luigi Cozzi. Respect the Cozzi. Note the KISS figures behind me. Nice.
Profondo Rosso, if you haven't been, is well worth a visit. It's even worth a visit if you have already been, but weren't able to spend as much money as you'd have liked (like me). Stocking a great DVD collection of everything from Argento to the 70's Polizia movies (of which there were SO many - yum), as well as books, t-shirts, models, posters, and so much more, Luigi was a gracious host indeed. He was even so helpful to advise on what he considered to be the finest Italian crime movie of them all, Milano Calibro 9, which I duly purchased, along with a signed copy of the French Special Edition of his very own Starcrash. Well, you have to, don't you. After noticing his freshly autographed photo of old Leatherface himself behind the counter, I relayed the previous day's random meeting, which is when he asked if we wanted to see the museum. At three Euros, it's a no-brainer, so myself and Sam ventured down into the pits below Profondo Rosso. Luigi cues his own soundtrack to the ghost train-styled affair to give you that personal touch, as he guides your voyage through the dark caverns, which host genuine props from such films as Phenomena, Demons 2, Two Evil Eyes, and even little 'Police Robot L' from Starcrash. Nice.
The kid from Creepers
Sam with a friend from Two Evil Eyes
Another photo opportunity begged, another warm farewell exchanged. Go to Rome - you never know who you might run into. Oh, and the St. Peter's Basilica is very nice, too.