The Evil Dead


Italy Hates American Movies (At Least Their Titles…But Also Their Movies) – Part 3

Article by Matteo Molinari

NOTE: The facts of this article are all true; their description has been slightly altered to protect the imbeciles innocents.

It all started in 1981 with Sam Raimi’s “The Evil Dead”.

Somewhere, a dark, dingy office of an Italian movie distributor was the theatre of an eerie conversation:
“Hey, we have the rights for this awesome horror film, ‘The Evil Dead.’”
“Good. What does ‘evil dead’ mean?”
“It means ‘morti cattivi.’”
“Nah, we can’t title it like that, it would be horrible. Hmmmm… Who are the actors?”
“Nobody you know.”
“Ah, crap! Hmmmm… Where does it take place?”
“In a shack surrounded by the woods.”
“Perfect! Let’s call it La Casa!”
“La Casa? As in The House?”
“But that’s a shack, it’s not really—”
“Poppycock! If you look at a shack at night and you squint a little bit, from a distance it looks like a house. So we got it, La Casa it is!”
“Fine. What do you see on the poster?”
“Hmmmmmm… All right, let’s do it like this: we use the blade of a sickle instead of the letter C, just to suggest death… As per the house, just take the Psycho house and slap it in full view. So we get also an older demographic who remembers Hitchcock’s classic.”
“Who’s Hitchcock?”
“…just make the poster as I told you.”

Evil Dead - La Casa
…and so, “The Evil Dead” came out in Italy as “La Casa”.

Now – wait: the plot thickens.

Five years later, Steve Miner directed “House”. And across the globe, in another office, dark and probably windowless, a second conversation occurred.
“Hey, we got the rights for this awesome horror film, ‘House.’”
“Good. How are we gonna title it, in Italian? What does ‘house’ mean?”
“It means ‘La Casa.’”
“Aaaaah, crap. Isn’t there already a horror movie titled La Casa?”
“Damn. What is this movie all about?”
“A Vietnam veteran goes to a house to write his novel and some strange presences begin to affect his life.”
“I’ve got it! Let’s call it, Chi È Sepolto in Quella Casa?”
“…as in, Who’s Buried in That House?”
“Yes! Pretty nifty, huh?”
“If you say so…”
“I say so. And let’s recycle the American poster so that we’ll save money. Now, go!”

Chi e sepolto in quella casa? - HOUSE
So far, so… Well, so far. But then…

1987. Two new movies come out: “Evil Dead 2” and “House II” (or, for the purists, “Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn” and “House II: The Second Story”). Let’s move to two different Italian offices, and let’s listen to the almost simultaneous conversations.
The first one:
“You remember ‘La Casa’? Well, there’s a sequel now.”
“Really? Let’s put it out!”
“With what title now?”
“What a question! It’s a sequel, no? So, ‘La Casa 2’, pronto!”
“All right; it fits.”
“Don’t forget the C with the sickle!”
“I won’t!”

The second one:
“You remember ‘Chi È Sepolto in Quella Casa’? Well, there’s a sequel now.”
“Really? Let’s put it out!”
“With what title now?”
“What a question! It’s a sequel, no? So, ‘La Casa di Helen’, pronto!”
“La Ca— You want to call it Helen’s House? But it’s a sequel! Do you think people will get that? And who the f*ck is Helen?”
“Beats me. Who is she?”
“You brought her into the mix!”
“Ah, she’s probably an ancestor or some stuff like that. Oh, by the way: I’d like if in the poster we can write Casa with a sickle blade instead of a C. It’s sick.”
“But that belongs to La Casa franchise.”
“Yeah, like they invented the sickle and the letter C! Use it – it’ll be grand!”

La Casa 2 & La Casa di Helen
Still with me, so far? Good. Now the story gets interesting and complicated.

For a moment, let’s not consider the fine 1992 flick “Army of Darkness” – even if it should be here, and just stop for a second in 1988 – when a few important (relatively speaking) events occurred.

England: theaters are invaded (again, relatively speaking) by the horror movie “Dream Demon”.
Italy: someone places his hands onto the movie and threatens to distribute it in Italy:

“We have this horror movie, ‘Dream Demon.’”
“Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… Does it talk about a house? ‘Cause houses are hot nowadays.”
“No, it’s about a woman who has nightmares and when she wakes up , she discovers her demons are real and not very kind.”
“Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… But when she has the nightmares, is she inside of a house?”
“Yeah, I guess–”
“Perfect! I have the ideal title for this movie! ‘La Casa al Numero 13!’”
“Yeah, you know La Casa, so we suggest that it belongs to that series, and we add Number 13 as its civic number, because 13 is unlucky and therefore scary.”
“…yeah, but… The House at Number 13? Number 13 where?”
“In Horror Street, what a question!”
“So, wait, you want to title this movie La Casa al Numero 13 in Horror Street?”
“Yeah! If it doesn’t scream ‘horror’ that, I don’t know what would!”

La Casa al Numero 13 on Horror St.

Meanwhile, still in 1988, the Italian Filmirage production house is brewing something…
“I’ve had a very original idea: I want to produce a unique horror movie about ghosts, something that nobody has ever seen before. I’ve got the perfect title: La Casa 3!”
“…La Casa 3? Who is titling a movie with a “3” in it, claiming that’s an original?”
“…what about Three Fugitives?”
“Shut up. You want to jump on the bandwagon of Sam Raimi’s movies, don’t you?”
“I’m a producer with integrity and class. Plus, I’m trying to make a sh*tload of money. And if we shoot the movie in Massachusetts with a bunch of nobodys, we can also market it in America.”
“As ‘Evil Dead 3?’”
“Nonsense! As… Ghosthouse!”
“Is it going to be any good?”
“Why does everybody keep asking that question?!”
“All right. I’m going to prepare the posters – don’t tell me: you want the sickle C?”
“Nah, that’s too old. Use only the Psycho house. Oh, and by the way: while we’re there in Massachusetts, let’s also shoot another original horror film, very unique.”
“Another one?! What now?”
“La Casa 4!”
“Are you out of your mind?! What the heck–”
“We have Linda Blair, the little girl from ‘The Exorcist’ – who now is probably in her 50’s –and David Hasselhoff from ‘Starcrash’ – who incredibly is still alive!”
“Way to sell your stars. All right, so we’re gonna do ‘La Casa 3’ and ‘La Casa 4.’ And… How are we going to distribute it in America? Ghosthouse 2?”
“No, you silly ninny! That’s for England’s home video! In America it will be Witchery!”
“Is it going to be any good?”
“What a question – no!”
“…if you say so.”
“Yes, I do. And please, come back in two years! I will have a greater idea!”

La Casa 3 & La Casa 4

Fast forward to 1990.

“Hey, I’m glad you’re here. Listen to me: we’re on a roll!”
“If you say so…”
“Now, I have a great, new idea for another movie! I only tell you the title, and I’m sure you’ll be sold on it—”
“Let me guess: La Casa 5.”
“…have you been reading my notes?”
“No, it was just pure luck. So, do we have some C-list stars?”
“Never mind the stars! We have the director of this new, sure-fire horror film called ‘Troll 2’! And we’ll be shooting in New Orleans. What could possibly go wrong?!’
“So many things. Anyways, what’s the title for the American market?”
“Oh, I’ve decided to fess up: this one is going to be ‘House 5.’”
“Great. A title with a 5 in it. Sublime.”
“Hey, remember Five Easy Pieces?”

La Casa 5 - Troll 2

Meanwhile, in 1989, in America, another movie came out as “The Horror Show” or “Horror House” or, ultimately, “House III”. But what happened to it in Italy – and by the way, they caught up with this movie in 1991. Let’s eavesdrop…
“Hey, we got the rights for this horror movie, ‘House III.’”
“Great! Let’s distribute it. But with a slightly different title.”
“All right, what?”
“Let’s call it ‘La Casa 7.’”
“…’House 7’? …why?”
“So it’ll glide in the series of La Casa and people will flock to see it and I’ll make a lot of money!”
“…but-but-but… There hasn’t even been a ‘La Casa 6!’ We skipped one house!”
“Well, we’ll tell them we were looking only on one side of the street, so of course from ‘La Casa 5’ there is ‘La Casa 7’, no?”
“Yeah. Sure.”

La Casa 7

And so, this concludes the sad, pathetic and silly saga of “La Casa”, in Italy. I invite you to make one minute of silence for all the victims of this story (mostly, the movies).

La Casa di Mary - Superstition
ADDENDUM 1: The American horror movie “Superstition” (1982) was distributed in Italy as “La Casa di Mary (Mary’s House)” yet again to capitalize on ‘La Casa’ in a title. It semi-tanked.

ADDENDUM 2: Still in Italy, “House II” has been re-issued subsequently with the title “La Casa 6”, trying to fill in the gap left out by the never-made “real” ‘La Casa 6’. People weren’t pleased.

ADDENDUM 3: For the Italian home video, “House III” has been re-titled “La Casa III”. Don’t ask.

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