Director Claudio Fragasso and screenwriter, Rossella Drudi, are married in both life and their work. They are the authors of some of the most important Italian films of a certain genre: “La casa 5”, “After Death”, “Zombie 3”, “Virus”, “Rats” and “Milano Palermo Solo Andata”.
And above all there’s “TROLL 2” – the 1990 film that had such an unexpected reception that it’s resulted in a series of nighttime screenings of the film and a festival organized every year in Morgan, Utah – where it was filmed – in which participants dress up as goblins and other film characters. Here’s the joint interview we conducted at Umbertidead – the horror film festival.
By Luca Benni and Matteo Cesarini
You’ve worked with some great writers, many of whom are now dead, and created masterpieces of the genre. Who do you particularly remember?
Drudi: «Lucio Fulci was a great discovery, a veritable encyclopedia of film history, decent, sarcastic and tenacious».
Fragasso: “We shared a great rapport and friendship with Bruno Mattei that lasted until he died.”
Drudi and Fragasso: «Aristide Massaccesi, (real name Joe D’Amato – Ed.) opened up a whole new world. He was like a beacon for many of us who started out with his production of Mirage, as well as an affectionate ‘father’. There have been a lot of others, but it’s a long story».
Do you think there’s still room for cult in Italy?
Drudi: «If you’re referring to action, thriller, horror, crime etc films, I think all cinema is ‘genre’. It’s tougher these days, they’re only making comedies, but we won’t give up – it’s our life».
Fragasso:«Everything’s more difficult since the industry died. (In the past about 450 films a year were made.) They say that genre films cost too much but it’s not true. My “Palermo Milano One Way” cost a third of that of comedies and was released in 53 countries. It’s the will that’s lacking, as well as the professionalism of producers and actors, for this kind of film».
Do you have any anecdotes from filming “TROLL 2”?
Drudi: «At one point when we were shooting in the woods in Park City, there was a huge noise and rumble, like an earthquake. It was actually a convoy of 30 Walt Disney trucks, and one of them looked at us, saw our impoverished equipment and cast, stopped and asked, ‘Commercial?’ We said ‘yes commercial’ We were a bit ashamed».
Fragasso: «Every evening at sunset a siren went off, like in an air raid. It actually signalled a curfew for the kids who had to go home. They’re all Mormons in Utah and this is what their religion demands. It was like a film within a film in that community; really strange and disturbing».
Have you got any projects together planned? What can we expect from “TROLL 2 PART 2”?
Drudi and Fragasso: «In the near future there’s “La Grande Rabbia”, (working title – Ed), which we’ve just finished shooting and is now in post production, which should come out in the autumn. It’s as tough as “Teste Rasate” and is realistic, current and poetic; a totally independent film. Then there’s “Troll2 Part2” which I’ve just finished writing, which will come out in summer 2016. The story continues 25 years after Part I, with some new characters alomg with the old, but I can’t tell you anything other than it’ll be madder and crazier than the first one, and will hopefully make you laugh loads».