The Magic of Robowar (1988)

August 20, 2019 | By

The triumvirate formed by Bruno Mattei, Claudio Fragasso, and Rossella Drudi has been getting a lot of love from Severin over the past couple of years, and the release of Robowar (1988) may be the trio’s most enjoyable nonsense – a blatant rip-off of Predator and Robocop with a dollop of Aliens that kind of works.

Its low-budget silliness featuring ludicrous dialogue and exploding huts, houses, shacks, and humans, but there’s a special fromage factor that’s far more aromatic that the trio’s other works, which number an astonishing 21 films over 10 years, many shot two at a time. Sheer madness, but no doubt a rich mine of platinum anecdotes which Fragasso & Drudi could pen into an outrageous and maybe envious autobiography of their long & prolific career in exploitation & sexploitation.

I spent a fair bit of time dissecting & contextualizing Robowar and its implications on home video – namely showcasing a wild era in Italian film – as well as Severin’s more than fair attempt to present the husband & wife team as more than filmmakers of schlock. It’s still an uphill quest, but maybe interpolated with further Blu-rays of the duo’s horror & sci-fi efforts, Severin might release the odd  crime drama or TV production to show another side of the creators of, ahem, Troll 2 (1990). I’m especially keen on seeing Appuntamento a Trieste (1989), a TV mini-series starring Tony Musante (Bird with the Crystal Plumage, The Incident), Ivan Rassimov (All the Colors of the Dark), Edmund Purdom (The Egyptian), Christiana Borghi (Nazi Love Camp 27), and directed by Mattei with co-writers Fragasso & Drudi.

Coming next: two tales of international meddling, disruption, and diplomatic bungling, with Gregory Peck in the zippy The Chairman (1969) from Twilight Time, and Marlon Brando in The Ugly American (1963) from KINO.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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