Wednesday, August 14, 2013

RIP: Producer Luciano Martino (1933 - 2013)

I have just learned of the death today of legendary Italian film producer Luciano Martino, the brother of director Sergio Martino, at the age of 80. Simply put, the Golden Age of Italian Fantasy would have been no more than an aberration without his financial support and encouragement of this man, who sometimes went by the name of "Martin Hardy" on screens trying very hard not to appear Italian. Among his most important productions: Brunello Rondi's IL DEMONIO, Mario Bava's THE WHIP AND THE BODY, Antonio Margheriti's THE GIANTS OF ROME, Romolo Guerrieri's THE SWEET BODY OF DEBORAH, Umberto Lenzi's SO SWEET... SO PERVERSE (aka ORGASMO), Giuliano Carmineo's WHAT ARE THOSE STRANGE DROPS OF BLOOD ON JENNIFER'S BODY?, Lenzi's CANNIBAL FEROX, Lamberto Bava's BLASTFIGHTER, and Sergio's own marvelous series of giallo thrillers, including THE CASE OF THE SCORPION'S TAIL, THE STRANGE VICE OF MRS. WARDH and ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. He continued to produce as recently as last year, and he was also credited as a writer or co-writer on many films of the early 1960s, often with the great Ernesto Gastaldi, including Sergio Leone's THE COLOSSUS OF RHODES and Alberto De Martino's MEDUSA AGAINST THE SON OF HERCULES. The husband of actress Wandisa Guida (the innocent female lead of the first Italian horror picture, I VAMPIRI), Martino was credited with discovering and fostering the career of Edwige Fenech, one of the great European sex sirens of the 1970s. We owe him more than we can ever repay, but his movies will hold our attention through posterity!   

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