Schlocktoberfest V – Day 12: Paganini Horror





*Spoilers Throughout*

Paganini HorrorWhat’s It About: An Italian girl rock band goes to a remote manor to record a weird video for their latest hit, “Paganini Horror,” the music for which was bought from the devil so, you know, that never turns out well.

Here are some of my observations as I watched the film:

  • Too many Italian names in the credits so I turned it off and threw up.
  • Oh wait Donald Pleasence. I’ll stick it out.
  • Directed by Luigi Cozzi, a.k.a. Lewis Coates, a.k.a. the director of STAR CRASH!!
  • A girl throws a live hair dryer into her mom’s bath, complete with cartoon electricity. Adorable.
  • The opening rock song rips off Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name” wholesale.
  • The band needs a hit, but their songs are shit. So the drummer buys some songs off of Donald Pleasence in an abandoned decaying building.
  • So the name Paganini comes from the fact that the song they buy are by violinist Niccolo Paganini (who is a real person) and who made a deal with the devil once (which was probably not real) and who cares.
  • This movie wants to be Suspiria so badly.
  • Hey at least Donald Pleasence got a free vacation to Venice out of this. That’s more than Adam West got for Zombie Nightmare.
  • Donald Pleasence throws American money from the top of a tower in Venice. That’s just going to confuse every Venetian on the ground.
  • So the girls try to record the world’s lamest music video in Paganini’s old manor or something. Of course, the spirit of Paganini is going to knock them off. It’s pretty standard Italian fare.
    "It is I, Rico Sambora, and I decree that you have given my music a bad name."

    “It is I, Rico Sambora, and I decree that you have given my music a bad name.”


  • The Paganini ghost/killer looks like Blade from Puppet Master.
  • The lead singer of this girl group looks like Jesse Eisenberg in a wig.
  • Quick update: Jesse Eisenberg falls through the floor. The music video cameraman gets burned to death in an electrified car accident. The bass player continues to wear a costume that makes her look like the female Plastic Man.
    "Is that a violin in your pocket or are you just happy to see every square millimeter of my wizard sleeve?"

    “Is that a violin in your pocket or are you just happy to see every square millimeter of my wizard sleeve?”


  • I’m guessing Luigi Cozzi saw Suspiria one day then gathered some friends over the weekend to make this.
  • This movie is so bland it makes matzoh look like ghost chilis. Ghost Chilis would be a great name for a Mexican horror movie where an apparition murders people by burning them with the world’s hottest pepper.
  • I can’t even begin to tell you what’s going on, whole lot of nothing really, but one of the rooms in Paganini’s manor has equations on the walls and a framed photo of Albert Einstein. If that ends up being satisfactorily explained I’ll eat a violin made of Italian pig shit.
  • “Blood! Let’s see where it leads!” Good thinking, dumbbell.
  • There’s a bunch of dogs barking in the background, but I don’t think they’re meant to be in the film.
  • Plastic Girl has turned into a wood fungus. Want me to explain? I’ll need a briefcase full of American dollars.
  • Now they’re talking about mathematics and other worlds, WHY??
  • This reminds me of one of my favorite rap lyrics of all time from Run DMC’s “King of Rock”:
    Roll to the rock, rock to the roll
    DMC stands for devastating mic control
    You can’t touch me with a ten foot pole
    And I even made the devil sell me his soul
    And now that song reminded me of this:
    And that makes me think of how great this movie would have been if it was called Bambaataa Horror and the cursed spirit of Afrika Bambaataa killed those who dared steal his music and come to the Zulu Nation to record a bad video.
  • So the sun rises and that kills Paganini. Fuck this jazz.
  • Donald Pleasence stabs the lead singer in the gut. I’d like to think it’s because he represented the estate of Mr. Jonathan Bongiovi.

Scare Volume: Confusion is like a brick wall in your brain that doesn’t allow fear inside.

Gore Volume: There’s quite a bit of gore because Luigi Cozzi believes that that’s what Dario Argento would have done.

Nudity Volume: A little bit of titillation with the bathtub mom at the beginning, before she gets electrocuted. Then one of the girls wears a bodysuit throughout that is so tight her gynecologist tells her she doesn’t have to bother taking it off when she goes in for a pap smear.

Best Kill: The world’s worst mime accident. I don’t really get why this happens but in reality it must have been total hell for the actress to film it.

Best Scene: By far when Donald Pleasence threw the money off the tower, because I don’t think that was scripted or intended in any way by the filmmakers.

Worst Scene: Let’s file this under “Worst Kill” or “Worst Editing” or both. I guess Paganini slashed her throat? Why didn’t he stab her in the gut when he had the blade a centimeter from her belly button? I guess he wanted to surprise her?

How ’bout the Tunes: This is probably the best aspect of the whole film:

Just a blatant total ripoff of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.” How they thought no one would ever notice is beyond me. I guess they figured Bon Jovi was paisan, so he’d forgive them if he ever found out.

But wait, there’s more!

While that’s not the most well-known Electric Light Orchestra tune, they still completely lifted the music. And that song was supposed to be the cursed one they bought off of Donald Pleasence, so does that mean Jeff Lynn was a disciple of Satan? Obviously.

Band Rating: Considering that they’re soulless ripoff artists, they’re ok. No Girlschool or Runaways or Bangles, but they’re basically competent.


Overall: On this Columbus Day I thought it would be fitting to celebrate influential Italian violinist Niccolo Paganini, whom most Americans have probably never heard of before, making the title of this movie very puzzling. Why wasn’t it changed to like Gore Score or Violint or Bone Jovi for American release? Eh, no matter what, no one would have liked it anyway. I was very much looking forward to this due to my love of Star Crash, but where Luigi Cozzi made that film utterly charming in its terribleness, Paganini Horror is utterly devoid of charm or most elements resembling a coherent horror film. Maybe I’m being a little too harsh, Luigi was clearly trying as hard as he could and really wanted to make an Argento film, he just didn’t have anywhere near the skill to pull off his vision. There are pockets of a halfway ok gory horror romp in here, enough to make it leap from unwatchable to “meh.” You could probably see a couple of clips of this on a horror anthology documentary and think it looks pretty decent, but don’t let that fool you. Plus, by watching it, you’re compliant in musical plagiarism. Speaking of which, didn’t Paganini’s real estate have any sort of problem with this movie? Maybe they and Bon Jovi and ELO did successfully sue, and Donald Pleasence threw their settlement money at them from a tower.   

Score: 4 Paninis to Pay Donald Pleasence’s Cameo Fee (out of 10)

11 thoughts on “Schlocktoberfest V – Day 12: Paganini Horror

  1. Pingback: Schlocktoberfest V: Recap of Rock! | Hard Ticket to Home Video

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