Renowned filmmaker Umberto Lenzi – dubbed the Italian Master of Horror – has died at the age of 86, Repubblica It reports.
As well as the horror genre, Lenzi was also known for making spaghetti westerns, Eurospy films, war movies, and crime thrillers. While he switched cinematic categories, his movies were all easily identified as his own by a surreal and often absurd approach to filmmaking -- in the best way possible.
His work became hugely influential, and his zombie picture Nightmare City is said to have been one of the main influences in Robert Rodriguez’ Planet Terror (2007). Although according to another director/fan, Quentin Tarantino, Lenzi apparently didn't consider his walking dead as "zombies," instead referring to them as “infected people."
His other notable scary movies include Make Them Die Slowly, Eaten Alive!, Seven Blood Stained Orchids, and Eyeball.
Lenzi got his first taste for filmmaking as early as grade school, and later created film fan clubs while studying to become a lawyer. Eventually his love for film overtook his desire to study law, and Lenzi enrolled in Rome's Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografica in 1956. It wasn’t long before he began making movies.
His penchant for working in different genres of film had more to do with the period when he was making films in Italy more than anything else. Lenzi directed adventure movies in the ‘60s before moving on to the Eurospy genre that was just becoming popular. By the ‘70s and the success of Dario Argento, Lenzi followed the trend of making low-budget horror movies, and also made the first of the Italian cannibal films, The Man From Deep River in 1972.
Were you a fan of Lenzi's work? Let us know your favorites in the comments below.
(via Birth, Movies, Death)