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30 July 1931
|Died||21 May 2007
Ostia City, Italy
|Other names||Vincent Dawn, Pierre Le Blanc, Gilbert Roussel, David Hunt, Martin Miller|
Bruno Mattei (30 July 1931 – 21 May 2007) was an Italian film director, screenwriter and editor who gained a cult following for exploitation films in many genres, from women in prison (WIP) to zombie films. He used pseudonyms, including Vincent Dawn (choosing that surname as a nod to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead).
Mattei got his start in Italian cinema by editing more than 100 films between the 1960s to the early 1970s (a job he always enjoyed even more than directing). In 1974, he earned his first directorial credit, directing 20 minutes of additional hardcore footage for the French release of Jesus Franco's 1969 film 99 Women. He had earlier edited Jesus Franco's "Count Dracula" (1969), and in early 1975, he wrote the screenplay for the Joe D'Amato film Demon Rage and edited Joe D'Amato's Black Eva. Mattei became a full-time director in 1977 when he made several erotic Nazi death camp films, which he followed up with some porno documentaries such as Sexy Night Report, and The True Story of the Nun of Monza. Next, he directed two of his most infamous horror shockers, The Other Hell and Virus: Hell of the Living Dead.
After directing two Caligula-inspired rip-offs and two Emanuelle women-in-prison films starring Laura Gemser, he made the delirious Rats: Night of Terror (a low budget science fiction film of which he was very proud), and the ultra-gory Zombie 3 (which he completed for director Lucio Fulci in the Philippines, after Fulci took ill). Mattei was also an assistant director on Lamberto Bava's film "Monster Shark" (1984).
He didn't turn out much work in the 1990s (although during this period he directed the direct to video film Cruel Jaws, a rip-off of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, originally planned to be a made-for-television movie). Later in 2001, Mattei returned to filmmaking, this time for the direct to video market. He directed several erotic thrillers before returning once more to the Philippines, where he shot two more cannibal films, another women-in-prison film and two final zombie movies.
He made 54 films, many of which were low budget. His work has attracted a significant cult following. His films tend to be appreciated for their unique dialogue, terrible dubbing, low budgets, and gory special effects. He is sometimes referred to as the "Ed Wood of Italian filmmaking". Hollywood film critics regard him as a hack, but Mattei worked with many well-known cult filmmakers like Jesus Franco, Joe D'Amato, Lucio Fulci, Lamberto Bava, and Claudio Fragasso. He also got to direct stars like Lou Ferrigno, Reb Brown, Bo Svenson, Donald Pleasence and Richard Harris. On an interview segment contained on Anchor Bay's DVD release for Hell of the Living Dead and Rats: Night of Terror, Mattei claimed that he would like to reshoot all of his films, as he finds them "ugly".
In early 2007, Mattei's health began to decline rapidly after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Despite his doctor's warnings, he went through with a surgical operation to have the tumor removed in May of that year. After the surgery, he fell into a coma from complications and died a few days later on May 21, 2007, at age 75.
Selected filmography as director
- SS Girls (1977) aka Private House for the SS
- Women's Camp 119 (1977)
- Emanuelle's Erotic Nights (1977)
- Emanuelle and the Porno Nights (1977)
- Sexy Night Report (1977) aka Mondo Erotico
- The True Story of the Nun of Monza (1980)
- The Other Hell (1980) aka The Presence, aka Guardian of Hell
- Hell of the Living Dead (1980) aka Night of the Zombies, aka Zombie Creeping Flesh
- Porno Holocaust (1981) Mattei co-directed this with Joe D'Amato (uncredited)
- Nero and Poppea: An Orgy of Power (1982)
- Caligula and Messalina (1982) aka Caligula's Perversions
- Violence in a Women's Prison (1982) aka Caged Women
- Women's Prison Massacre (1983) aka Emanuelle Escapes From Hell
- Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983, starring Lou Ferrigno) Mattei co-directed this with Claudio Fragasso
- Rats: Night of Terror (1983) Sci-fi thriller (one of Mattei's favorite projects)
- Monster Shark (1984) Mattei was second-unit director on this Lamberto Bava film
- White Apache (1986, Spaghetti western)
- Scalps (1986, Spaghetti western)
- Double Target (1987) starring Bo Svenson & Donald Pleasence
- Strike Commando (1987) starring Reb Brown & Christopher Connelly
- Cop Game (1988, Crime drama)
- Robowar (1988, Science fiction film) starring Reb Brown
- Strike Commando 2 (1988) aka The Diabolical Trap, starring Richard Harris
- Zombi 3 (1988) co-directed with Lucio Fulci in the Philippines (uncredited)
- Zombi 4: After Death (1988) Mattei co-produced this film, but he let Claudio Fragasso direct it
- Born to Fight (1989, War movie)
- Shocking Dark (1989) aka Terminator 2
- Desire (1990)
- Tre pesci, una gatta nel letto che scotta (1990) aka Three for One
- Dangerous Attraction (1994)
- Eyes without a Face (1994) aka Madness
- Cruel Jaws (1995) aka The Beast, aka Jaws 5
- Ljuba (1996) aka Body and Soul
- Killing Striptease (2001) aka Belle Da Morire
- Snuff Trap (2003) aka Snuff Killer-La Morta in diretta
- Land of Death (2003) aka Nella Terra dei Cannibali/In the Land of The Cannibals, aka Cannibal Ferox 3
- Mondo Cannibal/ Cannibal World (2003) aka The Real Cannibal Holocaust, aka Cannibal Holocaust 2
- Killing Striptease 2 (2005) aka Belle Da Morire 2
- The Tomb (2006) aka Don't Open That Tomb
- The Jail: A Woman's Hell (2006) aka Lost Soul
- Island of the Living Dead (2006)
- Zombies: The Beginning (2007) a sequel to Island of the Living Dead
- "E' morto Bruno Mattei" (Italian)
- "The New York Times". The New York Times.
- J.C. Maçek III (2012-06-15). "The Zombification Family Tree: Legacy of the Living Dead". PopMatters.