When it comes to cult Italian horror films, a few notorious names instantly spring to mind. From Lucio Fulci to Ruggero Deodato, Dario Argento and Mario Bava; there’s no doubt that these directors are some of the best names in cult Italian cinema. But with Shameless Screen Entertainment’s upcoming release of one of the greatest and most atmospheric gialli, The House With Laughing Windows, what better time than now, to look at the man responsible for this eerie thriller; Pupi Avati. Having directed over 40 films and television show, his career has spanned many genres from buddy comedies and even a musical, but he’ll always be best-known for his gripping horror films!

His film career kicked off instantly with a  little horror film titled Balsamus l’uomo di Satana (AKA. Blood Relations – The Man Of Satan). With the tagline ‘Grotesque ‘Bordello’ of Nightmares!’ and it’s surreal, twisted nature, you’d be mistaken for thinking Pupi Avati’s future would be gushing with blood, gore and gruel. However, his entries in the horror genre have been low on guts, but high on tension!

In 1976, Avati created his masterpiece. The House With The Laughing Windows takes the giallo genre (which was beginning to fade) into frightening new lands. What can be described as Don’t Look Now meets Fulci’s Don’t Torture A Duckling, this giallo  is set away from the hussle-bustle swinging cities and deliberately subverts the gratuitous nudity and violence that this ‘genre’ had become known for. Instead, we’re treated to a Gothically stylistic rural thriller, drenched and entombed in an eerie atmosphere, taking reference from the best of Mario Bava.

His next cult success came six years later with the bizarre zombie film, Zeder. Dipping his toes into the genre, Avati’s surreal, mesmeric fingerprints can be seen stamped all over this movie. While Italian cinema was bombarded with throat-rippings, flesh-eating and shotgun blasts to the face in the hugely popular zombie boom, once again Avati gives us something much more refined. This chiller ditches the gore for a moody, dark and, again, atmospheric classic.

Since these two incredible movies, Pupi Avati has dabbled with the horror genre with very successful results. In the mid-90s, his film The Arcane Encounter proved once again his talent, with Guillermo del Toro being one of it’s biggest fans!

But don’t be fooled into thinking that Avati doesn’t have a sleazy side. Whilst his directed films may be classy, some of the screenplays he’s written are anything but! Helping to pen Lamberto Bava’s first movie, Macabre, Avati is also responsible for writing the super controversial Salo!

Shameless Screen Entertainment’s THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS is out Monday 19th November. Pre-order yours here!


[REC] Genesis is an action packed, romantic gore fest of a possessed zombie movie! With limbs flying everywhere, chainsaws roaring, blood spraying and love in the air, this is simply a must-see film for all horror and undead fans. But what is it like being a zombie caught up in all the slaughter? Well, we’ve been lucky enough to catch up with actor José Mellinas, star of the film as one of the blood-thirsty, flesh-devouring sprinting undead to tell us a little about his role, the film, the experience of filming and much more.

So, keep your chainsaw revving and your eyes on the lookout for any brain-eaters, as José Mellinas explains exactly what it was like to be a zombie.


Hi there José! Before we get started could you tell us a little about yourself?

My name is José Mellinas, I´m 24 years old and I´m from Lleida, Spain (as is Jaume Balagueró [the director of the first two [REC] films!). I am a professional actor. I´ve done film, television and theatre. In [REC] Genesis I played a wedding guest who becomes one of the zombies. You can see me in the kitchen and chapel scenes. What´s more: I also put my voice to all the infected people in the final mix sound editing of the film (watch the Blu-ray features!).

Currently I’m focusing on my theatre career and have recently worked on the post-apocalyptic film The Last Days (the Pastor brothers) and I’ve done casting for the film Grand Piano, directed by Eugenio Mira with Elijah Wood.  I am also the webmaster of [REC] INFECTADOS POR EL MAL, the largest [REC] Spanish website.

So, José, playing the part of an infected zombie in one of the most successful modern horror franchises is quite an achievement! How did you the get the part? Did you have to audition for it?

As a fan of the franchise, I assure you, it’s a dream come true. Back in May 2011, when Filmax announced [REC] 3: Genesis & [REC] 4: Apocalypse, I promised myself that no matter what happened, I NEEDED to be part of one of them. Finally, after some battles, I was able to get an audition. Paco Plaza okayed and Ana Isabel Velásquez, casting director, confirmed the wonderful news to me.

The make up in this film is incredible and the zombies are truly terrifying. How long did it take to put on all the zombie make-up and what exactly was involved?

Due to the large number of actors, David Ambit - [REC] trilogy make-up artist – divided all the zombies of the film into two groups: “Luxe” and “Deluxe”. “Luxe” was simple make-up for short sequences and background action. “Deluxe” -where I belonged- consisted of a more graphic, heavier make-up. I had three different make-ups for the film, which changed according to the scene. Applied in less than one hour. The latex and lenses did wonders, giving fabulous on-screen results.

Being covered in blood must have been quite strange, but I imagine a lot of fun. How did it feel to play a zombie? Did you manage to scare anybody?

Oh yes! It was devilish fun. Everyone wanted to be a zombie! And yes, I enjoyed scaring the other actors. It was the perfect opportunity. To give you one example of many, the actress Jana Soler (Tita) could not even look at me because she was terrified of me. Ironically, when I was working on the movie I was employed at the Salon del Comic de Barcelona as a zombie. A classic zombie, Romero style. I had to scare people 24/7. Those were intense days! My face managed to suffer from so much latex.

Looking at these photos I’m not surprised people where terrified!

The infected in [REC] Genesis move very quickly, rather than the traditional slow, shuffling zombie. Could you tell us how you moved? Were there any classes to perfect the infected run, for instance?

Once I was fully characterized, I played a lot with my body language, and I stretched my physical abilities. The [REC] and [REC] 2 zombies were great references, but I wanted to bring something new, something of my own. So I was inspired by some animals, like spiders and Pitbulls. Although there were no lessons to perfect the infected run, each actor was self-taught. In the first scene I shot as a zombie -not in the final cut- I was slow and clumsy. I was excited because it was my first time, but the fan-boy in me thought: “I want to run!”

What was it like working on the set of [REC] Genesis with such a great cast and crew?

It was magical. There was an air of extreme verisimilitude during filming. Everything was calculated and controlled, even in the midst of chaos. I made very good friends and met some lovely people. The same people who made [REC] 1 & 2 possibly. Paco Plaza has said in interviews that the extras were chosen selectively, and I can confirm that. The cast and crew were extremely professional, full of talented people. They taught me a few things. And I’ll tell you a secret: I had never attended a royal wedding, and the wedding of [REC] Genesis was the first one I went to, so now you can get an idea of why this film is special to me.

So, are you a big fan of horror films then, José? What about zombie movies?

I absolutely love them! The horror genre is, without any doubts, my favourite genre. Since I was five, I enjoyed unforgettable movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween and Friday the 13th. Basically, it´s my life: I could talk about it for hours. And zombies have always been important to me, too. One of my favourite movies, without any doubt, is George A. Romero´s Dawn of the Dead. I absolutely love it! But I don’t want to forget other great zombie flicks like Let Sleeping Corpses Lie, Braindead, Night of the Creeps, [REC] 1 & 2, 28 Days Later and, of course, Edgar Wright´s Shaun of the Dead. Because, as the great Al once said, dogs can’t look up.

Well you clearly have great taste in film!

Now that you’ve played a zombie, you’re probably a little more prepared for a zombie outbreak than most people. So, what would you do if you found yourself surrounded by the living dead?

As a movie buff that I am, I would take note of all the zombie movies I’ve seen. Oh, man. I would like to see a Dawn of the Dead scenario, in that big mall, running and playing around. Now that would be cool.

You’d need some kind of zombie-killing weapon to survive of course. What would be your weapon of choice?

I guess I would be a creative zombie killer. But, you know, a chainsaw would be pretty epic! With Tino Casal´s Eloise as a background song…

Great choice! You really can’t beat the ferocious power of the chainsaw when it comes to dismembering the infected living dead, especially with such a catchy soundtrack!

Finally,  what do you think  it is that makes [REC] Genesis so enjoyable and highly recommended?

Look, we live in an era in which it is difficult to surprise the audience. That audience wants to be surprised, taken to new lands. [REC] has been completely renovated by its own father, Paco Plaza. If you’ve seen his Christmas Tale, you’ll see that both films are in the same line. Now there is more black humour, more blood. It’s more raw, more fun. It´s wild! By expanding the universe of [REC], new doors have been opened. A sequel has to be respectful to the franchise´s spirit, and [REC] Genesis does that.

Nicely said, José. Well, I think I can hear the screams of the infected racing towards us now, so it’s probably best to end it here!

A huge thank you for sharing your experience on staring in one of the most fun horror films in recent years.

To find out more  info about José Mellinas, be sure to check his very own website, www.josemellinas.com !

And don’t forget to look out for a flesh-eating José in [REC] Genesis (out on DVD and Blu-ray now!) Pre-order yours here.

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