Bruno Mattei

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Bruno Mattei
Born Bruno Mattei
(1931-07-30)30 July 1931
Rome, Italy
Died 21 May 2007(2007-05-21) (aged 75)[1]
Ostia City, Rome, Italy
Other names Vincent Dawn, Pierre Le Blanc, Stefan Oblowsky, Gilbert Roussel, David Hunt, William Snyder, Jordan B. Matthews, Martin Miller, Jimmy Matheus, Michael Cardoso, Herik Montgomery, Frank Klox, David Graham
Years active 1962–2007

Bruno Mattei (30 July 1931 – 21 May 2007) was an Italian film director, screenwriter and editor[2] who gained a cult following for low-budget exploitation films in many genres, from women in prison (WIP) and nunsploitation to zombie and cannibal films; most of his films were meant to shock, and featured large helpings of sex and gore. He used pseudonyms, including Vincent Dawn (chosen as a nod to George Romero's Dawn of the Dead), Pierre LeBlanc, Gilbert Roussel and Michael Cardoso[3] among others.


Born in 1931, Mattei got his start in Italian cinema by working in his film editor father's studio in 1951 & editing more than 100 films between the mid-1960s and the early 1970s (a job he said he enjoyed even more than directing). In 1974, he earned his first directorial credit, directing 20 minutes of additional hardcore footage for the French re-release of Jesus Franco's 1969 film 99 Women. He had earlier edited Jesus Franco's Count Dracula (1969), and in 1975, he wrote the screenplay for the Joe D'Amato film Emanuelle's Revenge (aka Demon Rage) and edited Joe D'Amato's Eva Nera (1976).

Mattei became a full-time director in 1977 when he made several erotic Nazi death camp films, which he followed up with a porno documentary called Sexy Night Report, and a nunsploitation film, The True Story of the Nun of Monza. It was here in 1980 that Mattei's fruitful collaboration with screenwriter Claudio Fragasso began, and the two would work together for the next ten years, a span of time generally considered to be Mattei's greatest period of productivity.

Following The Nun of Monza, Mattei directed two of his most infamous horror shockers, The Other Hell and Virus: Hell of the Living Dead, catapulting him to fame in the Euro-horror film genre. 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 always very proud), and the ultra-gory Zombie 3 (which he completed for director Lucio Fulci in the Philippines, after Fulci took ill).[4] Mattei was also an assistant director on Lamberto Bava's film Monster Shark (1984).

Mattei had a small coterie of Italian genre actors he enjoyed working with, and he used them again and again in his 1980's films....reliable actors such as Franca Stoppi, Carlo de Mejo, Franco Garofalo, Luciano Pigozzi, Margit Evelyn Newton, Gabriele Tinti, Ivan Rassimov, William Berger, Werner Pochath, Laura Gemser, Lorraine De Selle, Zora Kerova....all of whom lent his films a look of professionalism despite the appalingly low budgets he was forced to work with.

Mattei didn't turn out much work in the 1990s, although during this period he did make the direct to video film Cruel Jaws, a rip-off of Steven Spielberg's Jaws, originally planned to be a made-for-television movie. (After 1992, Fragasso left the Italian horror film market to move into Italian television production, which may account for Mattei's slowed output in the 1990s.)

Later, from 2002 to 2007, Mattei returned to filmmaking at age 70, this time working only for the direct to video market, most of these films being written & produced by a new collaborator, Giovanni Paolucci. In that five-year period, Mattei directed several erotic thrillers and slasher films before returning once more to the Philippines, where he shot two more cannibal films, one last women-in-prison film and two final zombie movies. Mattei died in May 2007, just days after his last two films were released, so he was literally working on projects right up to the end.

He directed 54 low budget films in all, many of which he co-wrote and edited. His work has attracted a significant cult following. His films tend to be appreciated for their unique dialogue, terrible dubbing, low budgets, nudity and gory special effects.[citation needed] He is sometimes referred to as the "Ed Wood of Italian filmmaking", but perhaps a better name would be the "Jesus Franco of Italian filmmaking"[citation needed]. Hollywood film critics regard him as a hack[citation needed], 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, Dan Vadis, Tony Musante, Sybil Danning, Donald Pleasence, and Richard Harris. On an interview segment contained on Anchor Bay's DVD release for Hell of the Living Dead, Mattei claimed that he would like to reshoot all of his films, as he finds them "ugly". He never made a secret out of the fact that every film he ever made was done simply for the money. Yet his filmography contains a lot of very entertaining (if not jaw-dropping) films.


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[edit]

  • Emanuelle's Revenge (1975) aka Demon Rage, aka Blood Rage, aka Blood Vengeance; Mattei only co-wrote the screenplay for this film, which was directed by Joe D'Amato
  • SS Girls (1977) aka Private House for the SS/ Casa privata per le SS
  • Women's Camp 119 (1977) aka SS Extermination Love Camp, aka KZ9 Extermination Camp, aka KZ9 - Lager di Sterminio
  • Sexy Night Report (1977) aka Mondo Erotico, aka Porno Nights of the World (a sex documentary)
  • Cicciolina amore mio (1979) aka Cicciolina, My Love; sex comedy co-directed by Bruno Mattei & 2 other directors
  • The Other Hell (1980) aka L'altro inferno, aka The Presence, aka Guardian of Hell, aka Terror en el Convento; (written by Claudio Fragasso; stars Carlo de Mejo, Franca Stoppi & Franco Garofalo); (filmed simultaneously with Nun of Monza)
  • Porno Holocaust (1981) Mattei co-directed this with Joe D'Amato (uncredited)
  • Seven Magnificent Gladiators (1983) peplum starring Lou Ferrigno, Sybil Danning, Dan Vadis and Brad Harris; Mattei co-directed this film with his screenwriter Claudio Fragasso
  • Rats: Night of Terror (1983) aka Blood Kill, aka Bronx Warriors 3 (Germany); Sci-fi thriller (Mattei's favorite film); Mattei co-directed this film with his screenwriter Claudio Fragasso
  • Cop Game (1988, Crime drama) aka Saigon: Wartime Crime Investigation, aka GI Killer, aka Giochi di poliziotto; stars Werner Pochath, Brent Huff & Luciano Pigozzi; written by Claudio Fragasso
  • Robowar (1988, Science fiction film) aka Robo da guerra, aka Robocop No. 2, aka Cyber Robo; starring Reb Brown & Luciano Pigozzi; written by Claudio Fragasso
  • Zombi 3 (1988) co-directed with Lucio Fulci & Claudio Fragasso in the Philippines (Mattei was uncredited); written by Claudio Fragasso, produced by Franco Gaudenzi
  • Zombi 4: After Death (1988) aka Oltre la morte, aka Zombie Flesh Eaters 3, aka Return of the Living Dead 3; Mattei co-produced this film with Franco Gaudenzi, but he let Claudio Fragasso write & direct it all by himself
  • Born to Fight (1989, War movie) aka Born to Win; stars Brent Huff & Werner Pochath
  • Shocking Dark (1989; original title: Terminator 2), aka Contaminator, aka Alienators, aka Return of the Exterminator; (the original title of this film was later changed to Shocking Dark after a threatened lawsuit over the title Terminator 2); written by Claudio Fragasso
  • Desire (1990) aka Desideri, aka Dirty Love 2, aka Mad Love 2 (porno film starring Josie Bissett); written by Claudio Fragasso, produced by Franco Gaudenzi
  • Dangerous Attraction (1994) aka Perverse Attraction
  • Madness (1994) aka Eyes Without a Face (slasher film involving a serial killer named Dr. Dark)
  • Cruel Jaws (1995) aka The Beast, aka Jaws 5: Cruel Jaws, aka Shark Terror; originally planned for Italian TV
  • Mondo Cannibal/ Cannibal World (2004) aka The Real Cannibal Holocaust, aka Cannibal Holocaust 2, aka Horror Cannibal 2, aka Cannibal Holocaust: The Beginning; written & produced by Giovanni Paolucci; stars Claudio Morales & Cindy Matic
  • The Tomb (2006) aka La tomba, aka Don't Open That Tomb!; written & directed by Mattei; produced by Giovanni Paolucci
  • The Jail: The Women's Hell (2006) aka Lost Soul / Anime Perse, aka Prison Island, aka The Jail: A Women's Hell; co-written by Mattei & Giovanni Paolucci (producer)
  • Island of the Living Dead (2007) aka La isola dei morti viventi, aka Island of the Dead; co-written by Mattei & Giovanni Paolucci (producer)


External links[edit]