You mentioned Mario Bava so you met him...
Yeah, sure !
And there's also Antonio Margheriti...
Yes, I know him very well !
And I heard he was on the set of STARCRASH...
No ! I work with them as a story writer. You know... I'm a writer.
About writing... You made DEDICATO A UNA STELLA and so there's a character named Stella.
Yes, I like the name !
But there's also some other movies that you have directed or written for where a character is named like that... STARCRASH, CONTAMINATION, SHARK ROSSO... So I'm wondering why ?
I just like the name because it's a nice name for a girl. And it's also connected to the stars. I love stars and this kind of things. It's a name I really like.
(note : "Stella" means "Star" in italian)
On the french DVD of STARCRASH, there's a long making of. Why did you do this making of ?
I've been conducting a science-fiction program on TV for a long time. This making of was made as one part of a program. We made something like sixteen or seventeen shows about science-fiction like that.
It's weird because you always said that in Italy nobody cares about science-fiction and you made a TV show...
Yes. But it was not a big TV network. It was a small local channel. At a time, a friend of mine was at the head of this TV and he said to me "Luigi, you've got to do something for us...". This is how it happened.
CONTAMINATION is usually called an ALIEN's rip-off but it's probably the most unconventional movie of his kind.
Yes, it's more like QUATERMASS. You know, the problem is this. At that time, if you wanted to do a movie you had to look at the top Box Office movies. You saw that number one is CINDERELLA... I don't care about CINDERELLA ! Number two, ALIEN... Oh, I can do something. So I went to see a distributor and said I would like to do something like ALIEN. Telling them "Aliens are coming to the Earth !". They were very interested cause ALIEN was number two at the Box Office. When they told me "Bring the story !", I went home. There the difficulties started... to find something who could appear for the distributor like ALIEN. But to me it was different. I didn't want to do rip-off. And so that's how I invented my own version of the story which contains the alien egg to make the distributor happy.
When I watch it, it reminds me of spy movies...
Yes, it was one of the influences. Because the producer wanted something like James Bond. The distributor wanted to do ALIEN... The producer wanted to do James Bond... And I wanted it to be science-fiction ! So I had that element. But most of it, it's more like the second movie of QUATERMASS. Also, the first part of the movie, I can tell you, is from THEM!. What I did is very simple. In the beginning of THEM!, you have the plane who patrols in the desert. Then there is a girl walking in the desert. The plane calls a patrol car to go and get the girl to know what's wrong with her. It's the same in CONTAMINATION, the movie starts with the helicopter saying that a ship is going to the harbor. They call the patrol ship to stop it. I like doing this kind of thing.
When I saw this scene I was more thinking about the ghost ship in Dracula...
Oh, I see ! The ghost ship is not from Dracula because my roots are in science-fiction. Even if at the beginning it may be the same... There's also a beautiful japanese movie called THE H-MAN. I think it's close to a masterpiece. There's also the same ghost ship where people are transformed by radiation. So they find the ship where the H man came from. They explore the ship... The beginning of CONTAMINATION is THEM! plus THE H-MAN. I like to recreate what I like.
How have you been involved in HERCULES ?
The producers didn't like the other picture Bruno Mattei made for them. They hated it ! And before that, they hated the script he wrote for HERCULES. He wrote something for HERCULES close to porno... crazy ideas. The producers said that he could not shoot this and that's how I was called in !
How did you get the ideas for making HERCULES the way you did ?
When I was a kid, I loved Peplum movies. But the monsters were very cheap, it was just a guy in a suit. I have always thought that someone had to shoot a peplum for real... with monsters in stop-motion and other things like that ! I sold my ideas of a fantasy movie to the producers and there was SUPERMAN movies at the time. So they asked me if I could do HERCULES like SUPERMAN. I told them that if they wanted I could do it. Of course, they told me "Do it ! Do it !". Every time I had a fantasy element I said "Like SUPERMAN". They were happier !
Article made by
Christophe "Arioch" Lemonnier,
Nadia Derradji and
Thanks to CineFX, Neo Publishing, PVB Editions, Le Méliès Theatre and Laurent Lopéré