Horror movies are always accused of having too much sex and violence, but never, too much sax and violins. Enter Paganini Horror, a Faustian bargain basement effort, built around, of all things, a mysterious piece of sheet music and a Bon Jovi rip-off band.
A female rock band, to whom we’re introduced to in the first 10 minutes of the flick via a studio rehearsal, and a bizarre fusion of “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “Livin’ on a Prayer,” can’t seem to impress their manager for what should be obvious reasons. The manager figures they’re creatively bankrupt – which may in turn bankrupt her – so she implores that they come up with a hit song.
As luck would have it, the band’s producer manages to solicit a smash and to do so in the unlikeliest of places, an abandoned castle. And it’s not through some networking meet up with Max Martin or Elton John. Rather, it’s a piece by infamous soul-exchanging Italian composer/violinist, Niccolo Paganini (or Nicolo, as it’s infamously misspelled in this flick). The producer brings the piece, “Le Streghe” (The Witches) for the band to record, and sure enough, when one makes a deal with the devil…This is especially the case in the very ugly music business, which has generated so many deals with the devil, musicians need orthopedic wrist braces.
Soon, a mysterious figure in a cloak emerges, and starts laying waste to everyone in the band or associated with it, skewering them with the knife-end of a modified violin. Good times, right?
Even better, Donald Pleasence (Loomis, from Halloween) is a devilish figure to whom we’re introduced lolling about in a gondola beneath the Bridge of Sighs. This flick makes great use of the “Queen of the Adriatic,” the floating city of Venice. And it’s a hilarious good time.
*** (out of 5)