Severin Announces DANZA MACABRA, a Box Set of Italian Gothic Classics

Growing up in North America, you might assume the entirety of Italian horror movies are either proto-slasher giallo films or gory zombie flicks. But not so! While giallo owned the ’70s and zombies devoured the ’80s, the ’60s saw a much more austere and traditional spate of horror in the form of a cycle of Gothic horror. These fascinating and varied films have seen a renaissance on home media in the past few years, and boutique distributor Severin Films have been at the forefront. Now we have a brand new, all-Gothic, all-Italian box set coming our way: Danza Macabra Volume One.

Sure, Gothic horror has castles, crypts, and candelabras, but the genre—especially in Italy—also includes lots of other delicious, devilish delicacies. You’ve got repressed sexuality, family secrets, violence, and growing madness. The four films in Danza Macabra Volume One might not be super well known; however, they have wall-to-wall examples of the best of the genre.

The cover of Severin Films' Danza Macabra volume one Blu-ray set shows art of a woman in a negligee holding a candelabra in a crypt with a castle in the background.
Severin Films

In 1964’s The Monster of the Opera, director Renato Polselli and screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi craft a surreal erotic shocker set within a contemporary dance troupe. Perhaps the genre’s rarest film, the berserk supernatural narrative of 1965’s The Seventh Grave also makes it among the strangest. For 1970’s Scream of the Demon Lover, director José Luis Merino gathers classic traditions, then strips them naked and ties them to a torture rack. And 1971’s Lady Frankenstein delivers iconic EuroCult talent on both sides of the camera for one of the most luridly entertaining shockers of the decade.

As with all of Severin’s recent box sets (like The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee; The Lenzi/Baker Collection; and especially their amazing All the Haunts Be Ours folk horror compendium), Danza Macabra will have tons of great special features. Each film will have at least one commentary track from authors and critics such as Kat Ellinger; Rachael Nisbet; Rod Barnett and Robert Monell; Annie Rose Malamet; and Alan Jones and Kim Newman. Video essays, interviews with filmmakers and luminaries, and documentaries round out the set.

Complete list of extras below.

Special Features for MONSTER OF THE OPERA

• Audio Commentary With Kat Ellinger
• Terror At The Opera – Interview With Screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi
• Capodimonte Gothic – Interview With Mark Thompson-Ashworth
• Radio Polselli – Archival Audio Interview With Director Renato Polselli
• French Trailer

Feature Specs for MONSTER OF THE OPERA

• Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
• Audio: Italian Mono
• Subtitles: English
• Region: A

Special Features for SEVENTH GRAVE

• Audio Commentary With Rachael Nisbet
• Seven Graves And A Mystery – Interview With Film Historian Fabio Melelli
• English Aesthetic With Giallo Blood – Video Essay By Rachel Knightly

Feature Specs for SEVENTH GRAVE:

• Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
• Audio: Italian Mono
• Subtitles: English
• Region: A/B/C

Special Features for SCREAM OF THE DEMON LOVER

• Audio Commentary With Rod Barnett And Robert Monell
• Scream Erna Scream! – Interview With Actress Erna Schurer
• In The Castle Of Blood – Video Essay By Stephen Thrower, Author of Eyeball Compendium
• Trailer


• Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
• Audio: English Mono, Italian Mono
• Closed Captions: English SDH
• Region: A

Special Features for LADY FRANKENSTEIN

• Audio Commentary With Kat Ellinger And Annie Rose Malamet
• Audio Commentary With Alan Jones And Kim Newman
• Meet The Baroness – Featurette With Actress Rosalba Neri And Film Historian Fabio Melelli
• Piecing Together LADY FRANKENSTEIN
• The Lady And The Orgy – Documentary Short On Director Mel Welles
• The Truth About LADY FRANKENSTEIN (2007) – German TV Documentary
• Clothed Insert Shots
• Video Short Illustrating BBFC Censorship Cuts
• Italian Opening Credits
• Bigfilm Magazine (1971) – Italian LADY FRANKENSTEIN Photo Novel
• Extensive Image Gallery
• Home Video Gallery
• Radio Spots
• TV Spot
• Trailers


• Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
• Audio: English Stereo, Italian Stereo
• Subtitles: English
• Closed Captions: English SDH
• Region: A/B/C

Danza Macabra Volume One will arrive on March 28. You can never start Gothic season too early.

Kyle Anderson is the Senior Editor for Nerdist. You can find his film and TV reviews here. Follow him on Instagram and Letterboxd.

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