Originally published on this site here, in Italian.
Produced by: 30 Holding S.r.l.; Baionetta Movies Production; Canchedorme
Directed by: Lorenzo Lepori
Written by: Lorenzo Lepori; Antonio Tentori
Cinematography: Leonardo Monfardini
Edited by: Lorenzo Cigna; Lorenzo Lepori
Special effects and make-up: Pizzolitto Fx Studios
Music by: Cremo; Terapia dell’Imbarazzo; Francesco Tredici
Running Time: approximately 70 minutes
Budget: 8.000 € (source: iHORRORdb)
WARNING – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS
Two years after the Catacomba anthology, Lorenzo Lepori gets back with a horror feature film: Notte Nuda.
Without saying too much, the plot is the following. A farmer, gone to chop wood, finds what looks like a mummified woman’s body. While the man inspects it, the body comes to life, bites his hand, and takes (or perhaps re-takes) the forms of a vampire (Simona Vannelli). Meanwhile, two old friends prepare a sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll reunion, which will also be attended by the girlfriend of one of them, Milena (Yana Proshkina). The two stories will cross dramatically in the woods outside the city.
That said, the strong points of this movie are more than one, and we have already mentioned a couple of them.
First of all, the plot, the result of a four-handed work by Lepori and Tentori (who had already written Catacomba with Lepori), holds up well throughout the entire duration of the movie, also thanks to a good soundtrack.
Another strong point is the setting: the countryside of the province of Pistoia, and more generally the Apennines and their slopes, are fantastic locations. In a few meters of wood or undergrowth it’s possible to set a whole story, and here it was done. Furthermore, cinematography has well made the idea of the nightmare lived by the characters, but also of the magic atmopshere of supernatural and Nature.
And then the characters, human and not.
The main character, Paolo (Pascal Persiano), is a very particular character: using the words of Persiano in the interviews included in the DVD edition, “a former viveur who (…) lived life at 360 degrees“. Today an old lion, bitter and a little tired. A “crepuscular” character (words of Tentori1), whose vicissitudes will become more and more problematic. Also Andrea (Henrj Bartolini), co-star of the movie, is a complete character: a young, jocular and jovial entrepreneur or professional, lover of a high life which is actually eating him from inside.
But above all the real protagonist, the vampire, played by Simona Vannelli. It must be said that “vampire” is the definition given by Lepori and Tentori, but there may be more: Simona Vannelli plays, in addition to a being that feeds on human blood, something similar to a nymph or some kind of woodland divinity emerged from myth or from some popular legend. It could remember, in particular, some vampires of European folklore: voracious, animalistic beings, to find which the graves in the country cemeteries were opened, as in the famous De Masticatione Mortuorum In Tumulis by Michael Ranft or, if you wish, in Dreyer’s Vampyr2.
On the one hand, in fact, like the divinities of the Hellenistic pantheon, the character retains a sort of depth, a basic ambiguity: she does not seem able to speak; to destroy the intruders she resurrects the dead, giving them some form of life; although changing their features, she heals the wounded not by sucking their blood but, on the contrary, by giving them her own. And on the other hand, instead, the protruding canines and the not inconsiderable fact of sucking the blood of the living bring her back to those vampires of pre-Enlightenment Europe, that of the plague, the pogroms, the Inquisition, the facts of Gévaudan.
And, in fact, the binomial between the residues of the ancient pre-Christian cults and the popular legends about pre-stokerian vampires, lycanthropes and similar occurred at some point: with the progression of Christianization, the ancient gods became demons, figures of Satan, the object of witches cults; around them, the lamias and incubi of the myth joined the elements already present in European folklore, forming an army of Devil’s servants sent to Earth to corrupt the farm laborer and the court lady with immorality, disease and even some heresy. The two worlds ended up touching each other, giving life to that medieval fantasy that a specialist like Alessandro Barbero correctly compared to horror.
This vampire, wandering naked in the woods like a she-wolf, commanding the beasts like Orpheum, gives much to think about. Really nice, moreover, the shot in which, leaning against a log, she laughs in front of the man who is about to be attacked by two zombies.
The effects, entrusted to Pizzolitto Fx Studios, are almost exclusively prosthetic. A declared choice of making the movie part of a certain type of Cinema, in a conception by which, at least for the moment, a severed head or limb, if realized properly, can have an even greater impact than the same effects made in CGI.
And here the effects, all in all, have their impact. To the point that someone related the model of the vampire in lethargy to Buonarroti’s Night. And who knows if Lepori himself, who chose Notte Nuda for the title3, wasn’t actually inspired by it.
About the script, one thing has also been noticed outside Italy: this movie could be seen anywhere in the world in original language without major problems. Blood, sensuality, the fascinating magic of the woods are so immediate that the movie is easily understandable regardless of one’s mother tongue.
Apart from this little note about the cinematographic immediacy of the movie, we underline however the presence of English subtitles, always useful (and indeed, in the opinion of the writer, necessary4).
Finally, the DVD edition includes several extras, among which some more than welcome interviews and a comic book, sort of real storyboard for the movie, made by Lorenzo Lepori (namesake of the director), former artist of Oltretomba and other horror-erotic comics, who had already drawn the comic book included in the DVD edition of Catacomba two years earlier.
Notte Nuda is surely a movie that horror lovers will like, by which the viewer can take the pulse of independent Italian cinema, have fun with fantastic creatures and lots of blood, escape from the grey tweets of the demagogues that haunt our public sphere.
iHORRORdb – http://www.ihorrordb.com/movies/243914-notte-nuda (last visit 15/07/2019)
IMDB – https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7362354/locations (last visit 14/07/2019)
Indie Horror Online – https://indiehorroronline.wordpress.com/2018/12/27/notte-nuda-2018/ (last visit 15/07/2019)
Italian Wikipedia – https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bestia_del_G%C3%A9vaudan (last visit 14/07/2019)
Italian Wikipedia – https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Notte_(Michelangelo) (last visit 15/07/2019)
Italian Wikipedia – https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampyr_-_Il_vampiro (last visit 15/07/2018)
Lifestylemadeinitaly.it – https://lifestylemadeinitaly.it/notte-nuda-recensione-horror-lorenzo-lepori/ (last visit 15/07/2019)
Notte-nuda.it – https://notte-nuda.it/images/locandina_ALTA.jpg (last visit 15/07/2019)
Notte-nuda.it – Nocturno. Il bosco ha fame. By Davide Pulici. Retrieved from: https://notte-nuda.it/images/NotteNuda_Nocturno.jpg. (last visit 15/07/2019)
Weirdletter – http://weirdletter.blogspot.com/2011/05/diceria-del-vampiro-de-masticatione.html (last visit 14/07/2019)
Youtube – Channel of MartiniX – Interview to Alessandro Barbero of April 22nd, 2017 at the Torino Comics of the same year – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oYgmQFUUnZA (last visit 16/07/2019)
- Also from the interviews included on the DVD.
- To confirm this ambiguous nature of the character, even Davide Pulici, on Nocturno, talks about it in terms of “female demon” and “she-devil – vampire“.
- In English, “Notte Nuda” means “Naked Night“.
- To the point that, as a viewer, I personally think they should always be inserted in multiple languages.