THE PYRAMID *** Italy 2013 Dirs: Luca Alessandro, Simone Chiesa, Alex Visani, Antonio Zannone, Roberto Albanesi. 90 mins
Portmanteau or Anthology horror films seem to be the forte of the UK and the USA making The Pyramid (2013) somewhat of an oddity. The film also has the device of a demon-conjured small Pyramid that physically appears in the various stories in the tradition of the Hellraiser series. That small pyramid spreads madness, death, and destruction in four different episodes directed by four Directors and four different writers.
The Pyramid (2013) opens with an unsavoury character looking like it stepped out of The Evil Within video game forging the pyramid out of metal and blood. In the stories objects coming to life, demonic possessions, monstrous creatures, the living dead, portals open, and brutal murders happen to everyone that encounters these objects. This film seems to have been shot on high-definition film-like video in various real locations and is a product of the independent horror scene in Italy.
Visually with four directors and four different storylines The Pyramid (2013) is beautifully shot for its time. The locations are both gritty and add to the stories with a visceral feel between the outdoor work and the abandoned concrete edifices. This is not your Italy of Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica style, with Marcello Mastroianni and flying Virgin Mary statues over the beaches by helicopters but a more urban look rarely seen. Lots of shadows, dark streets, wide open spaces, and back roads all bring the story to life.
Story wise the work gets muddled a bit with the process instead of the story. The first segment is regarding a young artist and his live-in lover that encounter the Pyramid causing evil features not out of place nudity of both males and females. At the time perhaps this was shocking however today it is refreshing that filmmakers do this when it fits the story and do not shy away from it.
Another segment features two friends in a hostel of course one of them has picked up the Pyramid. The poor fellow has his hand take on a life of its own as it wreaks havoc on all around him including his friend.
The evil little Pyramid finds its way into creating speedy screaming zombies like Danny Boyles’s creature in 28 Days Later (2002). An unfortunate group of young people including a pregnant girlfriend of one mutate into creatures when one of their band secrets black liquids into their mouths causing the transformation. The four destroy all that come upon them with this black liquid until they meet two avengers with bows and arrows like Hammer Films later effort Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter (1974). These two guys kill the zombies with arrows and swords dressed in plastic armour in a bloody bath of gore. The Pyramid (2013) has plenty of blood and practical effects including an unsettled moment with a pregnant zombie woman’s abdomen.
The evil doesn’t end as the last zombie makes her way to the large city with the Pyramid again changing hands setting up a sequel.
The Pyramid (2013) has some routine stories with some effective onscreen work by the actors. It is difficult to point out these actors specifically as there is little info on most of the sites as to their names. Despite the four different directors and four different writers, the film itself does not show any jarring style in fact the segments blend quite well. This film also features one of the best now called ‘old school metal’ and ambient soundscapes in a film of this type. The music is somewhat in the tradition of the work of Goblin from the Giallo Dario Argento films yet lends its own feel to The Pyramid (2013). Take a spin with The Pyramid (2013) for some ambitious independent anthology of rarely-seen Italian Horror.
Review by Terry Sherwood