A Classic Horror Story Review: A Failing Experiment?

We offer you the review of A Classic Horror Story, an Italian Netflix Original that embraces the meta cinema and tries to surprise the viewer with very peculiar plot twists

ORIGINAL TITLE: A Classic Horror Story. GENRE: Horror. COUNTRY: ITALY. DIRECTORS: Roberto De Feo, Paolo Strippoli. CAST: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Francesco Russo, Peppino Mazzotta, Will Merrick, Yuliia Sobol. DURATION:95 minutes. DISTRIBUTOR: NETFLIX. EXIT: July 14, 2021.

A Classic Horror Story, right from the start, had attracted a lot of audiences in various ways. The first is to be found in the horror genre, which is really difficult to produce in Italy. I know that you often hear this controversy affirmed, however it is really true that we had great masters of this kind: from Mario Bava to Dario Argento. As we entered the decade of the 90s, the interest in experimenting in horror was lost.

A Classic Horror Story Review: A Failing Experiment?

Recently there have been attempts, some not particularly successful such as The End? Hell outside and others definitely worthy such as Il Signor Diavolo by Pupi Avati. Roberto De Feo himself, one of the two directors of A Classic Horror Story, had directed The Nest. The latter was a horror very much about family and repression, the legacy and a whole series of factors that were scaled down thanks to the final plot twist. A horror that tried to embrace the genre, leaving some space for thriller solutions. A Classic Horror Story also begins as the most predictable tale of the genre, subsequently has an incredible idea and then chooses a completely opposite path linked to meta cinema.

The Plot | A Classic Horror Story Review

As the title suggests, the film by Roberto De Feo and Paolo Strippoli begins with a whole series of topoi of the genre: the dangerous house, the car accident along the way and much more. The goal is clear and therefore A Classic Horror Story is not in the least ashamed of stereotypes but quotes and parodies them. Through the possibility of car pooling in a camper, some people have to reach a location in Calabria.

They hardly know each other but they will slowly be forced to communicate in order to save themselves. During the journey, a car accident precludes the possibility of leaving and as if that were not enough, when they wake up they do not know where they are at all. THEnt around there is only an endless forest and a disturbing house that hides a legend and who knows what else.

An incredible idea that you do not expect | A Classic Horror Story Review

The “haunted house of the film”, as well as a place of death, hides an all-Italian mystery that alludes to something concrete and frightening: the mafia. In fact, as in any horror film about possessed houses, the revelation segment is present and tells the legend of Osso, Mastrosso and Carcagnosso: the three founding fathers of the greatest criminal realities of our country. Let’s talk about them: Camorra, Ndrangheta and the Sicilian mafia. Italian cinema has been talking about the Italian underworld for a very long time, and it does so through two approaches: comedy and social denouncing drama that can obviously become thriller. Horror, on the other hand, that of the supreme evil, sadistic and completely insensitive to goodness, is an idea that is almost never exploited.

A Classic Horror Story Review: A Failing Experiment?Never before have the mafia and pure horror intertwined so much, especially when it comes to folk horror, a sub-genre that has become much loved again thanks to Midsommar. C.he the organized underworld can afford to kill, make ritual sacrifices and not be disturbed in the slightest, as if he were a Jason Voorhees, is really a surprise. A very strong idea that does not denounce anything, but only tells the human madness of evil people united by a terrible and lethal folklore.

In fact, the first act has all this and is something incredibly original and courageous, since rightly when it comes to the mafia the social denunciation is inserted, precisely because it is not a monster or the incarnation of evil. Instead, A Classic Horror Story has the various criminal associations interpret the role of Jason, a group of beings who cannot stop and fight. You can only hide and still be caught like any other slasher. After something so foreign and unpredictable, A Classic Horror Story defuses everything and brings us back to the rails of the meta cinema.

A film about Italian horror cinema | A Classic Horror Story Review

If the first act is aimed at basing the narration and the second at making the viewer doubt, the last act deconstructs the previous narrative and seeks a cinematic goal. The fear and terror of the characters no longer matter, but the whole film becomes an excuse to discuss the Italian horror cinema that does not exist. Furthermore, exactly in opposition to that very original idea, A Classic Horror Story inserts a social denunciation that declares how much Italians are thirsty for crime news but do not go to see horror cinema. These statements are delusions of a crazy character but they fit perfectly with the conclusion of the film.

A Classic Horror Story Review: A Failing Experiment?

Certainly A Classic Horror Story likes to surprise the viewer and try to be a hybrid between many sub-genres of horror, yet in the last act it becomes something extremely already seen abroad. Mentioning That House In The Woods and pursuing that film model is fine and it is still interesting to find the real enemy in the viewer, someone to blame and make him suffer. Italian cinema rarely does all of this. However, that disappointment remains, that truly incredible idea of ​​conceiving the mafia as an ancestral evil impossible to defeat. Who knows what the fate of this project will be, since there has already been talk of a sequel and of expanding the mythology of this small universe.


A Classic Horror Story is yet another attempt by our cinema to recover our own imaginary, look abroad and try a new path of social denunciation. Sorry that sometimes you are almost afraid of basing a horror film that does not have a critique of the much shouted society inside. Despite therefore many ideas with an often bland resolution, A Classic Horror deserves to be seen as it is something rare in contemporary Italian cinema. Even if we did not particularly like it and we are a bit disappointed, we hope it can move producers to believe more in genre cinema, the political one, but not in this mocking way.

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