In Memoriam: Umberto Lenzi R.i.P.

Italian film legend Umberto Lenzi has passed away aged 86, leaving a lifetime legacy of genre pictures.

Though Lenzi was perhaps best known for Cannibal Ferox, my own introduction to the director was via Ghosthouse (released in his native Italy as La Casa 3, an indirect sequel to The Evil Dead series).

In 2006, I was hired to rewrite a horror feature film script for a European producer who had been impressed by one of my speculative scripts. My heart skipped a beat when I received the consultation copy and scanned the title page – ‘Impulso’ by Umberto Lenzi. 

I remember thinking that the title sounded too much like a deodorant brand(!), and instead suggested ’13 Souls’, which stuck. 

The producers flew me out to Rome for a meeting where I pitched my rewrite concepts, along with three different endings. I got the gig and, although I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Lenzi in person, I based the character of ‘Click-clack’ on him in the script. 

As so often happens in Development Hell the movie never got made (at one point it almost became a J-horror franchise if i recall correctly) but I really enjoyed working on it all hours to get a draft ready for pitching & packaging at the Cannes Film Festival. Most of all, I remember the thrill of working on something originated by the man who made Ghosthouse.

R.i.P. Umberto Lenzi – may your name remain writ large on the great silver screen in the sky!


About frazerlee

writer/director: On Edge, Red Lines, The Stay. screenwriter: Simone, Panic Button. bram stoker award nominated author: The Lamplighters, The Lucifer Glass, The Jack in the Green. View all posts by frazerlee

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