Alessio is a soon-to-be horror movie director that is particularly fond of splatter, but his producer tells him that he can't make a splatter movie because it is a thing of the past. Instead he mashes him together with a horror novelist, Ubaldo Terzani. After picking up a few of his books Alessio becomes fascinated in his work and how he manages to paint such a realistic portrayal of horror. He goes to Ubaldo's house for a while to write the screenplay and notices that some things are a bit off with this novelist.
Everyone knows that the Italian horror market used to be a lot bigger and impressive than it is today. Since then we've had fascinations for Asian cinema, and more recently French cinema. It just doesn't seem like Italy can produce as gut-punching films as it did many years ago. This is not a secret, and "Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show" uses this to its advantage. Already in the first scenes they say that monster movies and such by horror directors like Lamberto Bava is so 80's, and all that. The movie basicly tells us what kind of movie we are about to watch just by showing us a discussion between the lead character Alessio (the director) and his producer, where they mention these things. But I think they are also making a point and wants to be the exception that proves the rule.
The movie is very slow, it focuses a lot on the process of Alessio and the horror novelist Ubaldo working together on the movie script. Alessio has to leave his girlfriend for a while to go to this weird, famous writer and is meanwhile suffering from nightmares. These nightmares make him sort of paranoid towards Ubaldo without really having any reasons for it. It's not until Ubaldo invites Alessio's girlfriend to the house that tension starts to grow. And that's far in the end of the movie. This is the biggest problem the movie has. It never really gets anywhere since it's very obvious what the ending will be like. Without spoiling anything - something's not right about Ubaldo Terzani. We don't need to be fed a backdrop because there's no secret to hide behind it. But it's also something that makes the movie more interesting when you finally get to the end.
"Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show" is made by Gabriele Albanesi, and it's clear that this director looks up to the old Italian movies and has a lot of notes written down. I haven't seen his other film "The Last House in the Woods" because it was released by Ghost House. I don't really have a lot of hope for films from them, and most people seem to be against that movie. But it does seem like Gabriele Albanesi is on the right track in reviving the Italian horror. Maybe not the highest class of it, but at the very least this is a good independent attempt at making them like they used to be.
My biggest surprise is that the movie had Sergio Stivaletti on special effects, and that alone makes the movie worth watching. The overall feel of the movie is very low budget. Some scenes of atmosphere, but most are just bland thriller/drama. But then we have the special effects scenes, and they are far from bland. Really, most of them are great and the ending was a joy to watch.
I liked "Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show" because it did something fun with a generic story, and it had plenty of good gore towards the end. From the moment that the girlfriend of the lead character comes to the house I think it became a much better movie. It was pretty intense to see how she had almost became spellbound by this horror novelist, and then the sexual tension between them as Alessio falls asleep later on. I think it was a very good ending to the movie and when the tension disappears we're introduced to a whole bunch of gore instead. Yes, there is gore at other places as well, but only in nightmare sequences. I think even though those were good, it would've been better to scrap them to give the ending a harder punch.
Don't watch "Ubaldo Terzani Horror Show" just for the gore, there's too much other things to get through just for that. The movie is actually alright even though it's predictable as fuck, and I think it does a decent job at going back to the roots. At least it tries. I might even check out the director's other film, "The Last House in the Woods", simply because I wanna see what else he can do. Not a fantastic director by any means, but I think he could get recognized as an indie director wanting to bring the Italian horror back.