Touch of Death

Good-natured isn’t exactly the right word for a movie which features a chainsaw mutilation pre-credit roll, but Lucio Fulci’s Touch of Death is an easy-going, almost casual serial killer flick and a film which (probably for the best) doesn’t take itself too seriously.

As to whether Fulci himself took his work as seriously at the time of this production is a question unto itself, as the Godfather of Gutmunchers, who’d ridden high in the saddle for the much of the 80s, was starting to see his creative lights fade.

With release issues, Touch of Death (aka, Quando Alice ruppe lo specchio – when Alice broke the Mirror) languished in pre-production purgatory, finally seeing daylight at a time when Il Maestro’s creative decline matched horror’s Golden Era home-plate slide into the dreadful 90s (Touch of Death came out in 1988, along with the likes of Child’s Play, Waxwork, Night of the Demons and Killer Klowns from Outer Space, a great year all things considered before things took a turn for the worse)

Here, Lester Parson (played by sleaze/genre vet Brett Halsey) is a cannibal deviant divorcee who lives on a sprawling villa and feeds his vics to pigs. Parson suffers delusions that he’s been communicated with privately through radio dispatches, and spends his days wooing (and bedding) what in today’s politically correct times could still be referred to as “mature women.”

Halsey’s performance carries the day here, and it’s easy to believe disaffected society women would be charmed by the likes of Lester, who’s a dancing, sweet-talking, crustacean dinner-fashioning gallant.

Put into the context of Fulci’s other work, sure, there’s no contest: Touch of Death will never been up there (or as Fulci critics might have it, “down there”) with the likes of the incredible Zombi, City of the Living Dead or The Beyond). However, with touches of gallows humor, (including the protracted demise of an amateur opera diva), and some unintentional hilarity courtesy of TV journalism, Touch of Death brings the goods.

*** (out of 5)

[Check out our podcast discussion of Touch of Death]

Kirk Hammett collection at the ROM

If you didn’t think your love of horror could be amplified, Kirk Hammett’s collection at the Royal Ontario Museum will dial it up to 11.

The Metallica guitarist flew in from Moscow (and boy, were his arms tired… probably needs a rest before ripping out two-handed tapping solos) and was in Toronto for a sold out discussion about It’s Alive! Classic Horror and Sci-Fi Art From The Kirk Hammett Collection

In a talk moderated by exhibit co-creator Dan Finamore, a curator at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, Hammett admitted that he misses his collection, generating knowing chuckles from his fellow traveller nerds. And miss ’em, he should. This exhibit warrants another visit, as the authors of this site already miss ’em. This is essential viewing for horror sci-fi heads, and one need look no further than below.

This exhibition explores Hammett’s significant collection and “examines the connection between artistry, emotion, and popular culture through a selection of works from 20th-century cinema,” according to the site.

Favorites include a mind-blowing Swedish art deco poster for Metropolis, and Boris Karloff’s Mummy (above).

There’s a sensational  promotional piece for Invasion of the Saucer Men, that is literally out of this world. And perhaps the showstopper is a couple of gorgeous Bride of Frankenstein pieces.

The Hammett collection runs until Jan. 5, 2020. Check out our Really Awful Movies Podcast Kirk Hammett episode!