Thank these three Italian directors for slasher films, Martin Scorsese and Clint Eastwood

Film has inspired popular culture for decades, but some people don't actually know where the inspiration for their favorite films comes from. Today, Columbus Day, Metropolitan State College of Denver film studies professor Vincent Piturro will celebrate Italian heritage -- and in a way that he hopes will change the controversial dialogue around Columbus Day in Denver -- with one of the things that Italians do best. Film. Tonight at 7 p.m., he and the film club at Metro are presenting Roberto Rossellini's masterpiece Paisáat the Starz Film Center; there will be a discussion afterward and Italian treats. Paisá tells the story of American and Italian collaboration during WW II.

We've taken this inspiration to celebrate Italian film a bit further and collected three other Italian directors that you never realized you knew or loved.

3. Dario Argento Slasher films had to start with somebody, and that is where Argento came in. A fan of the thriller/mystery genre in both film and literature, he drew from a dark place for this film and produced some sick visuals, but there would be no Saw or Hostel films without him. John Carpenter has repeatedly said that Argento was a heavy influence on his Halloween films. But horror wasn't Argento's only genre: he was an avid screenwriter and is the man behind one of the greatest Spaghetti Westerns ever made, Once Upon A Time In The West, a film that also connects him to our next director.

2. Sergio Leone Do you remember a little actor named Clint Eastwood? No? What about the character Dirty Harry or the film Gran Torino? Oh yeah! That guy. Well, without Sergio Leone creating the "Man With No Name" in A Fistful of Dollars, we might not have the same iconic actor/director that we have today. Leone was one of the creators of the Spaghetti Western and changed the way westerns were made from that point forward. A most recent example is the animated feature Rango. From beginning to end, it screams Leone...and it does it with the utmost respect.

1. Federico Fellini
Fellini wasn't nicknamed 'maestro' on a whim. He has directed some of the most influential films in history and paved the way not only for future film directors, but also inspired television, music, and fashion. Critically renowned directors such as Martin Scorsese and Terry Gilliam have cited him as a major influence in their work. R.E.M.'s video for "Everybody Hurts" was a direct inspiration from the opening sequence of 8 1/2 and the B-52's have been quoted as saying they stole their look from Fellini films. From the unique camera shots to the common circus themes, Fellini is everywhere and has more than earned the term "Fellini-esque" to be part of everything today that is pop culture. 

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Julie Maas
Contact: Julie Maas