A prolific auteur of horror and exploitation whose list of pseudonyms is rivaled only by his extensive filmography, prolific schlock director Bruno Mattei rose from editing the films of Joe D'Amato and Jess Franco to helming his own low budget, gore-drenched efforts. Though B-movie lovers can argue his importance in the realm of film until the world ends, few will deny that his films rarely fail to entertain on terms of sleaze and gratuitous violence alone -- if that's your kind of thing. A native of Rome who grew up surrounded by celluloid thanks to his father's modest but successful film editing studio, it was around age 20 that Mattei began working odd jobs around the studio, eventually making his way up to the status of editor. Following his directorial debut with the 1970 drama Armida, Il Drama di una Sposa, a brief return to editing proceeded a few more minor efforts before he helmed the film that many consider to be his finest cinematic effort, 1976's Women's Camp 119. A downbeat exploitation effort concerning a prisoner forced to witness numerous atrocities and medical experiments against her will, the film proved Mattei's calling card to the world of exploitation and the same year's SS Girls found him churning out more of the same.
Soon moving into softcore with such efforts as 1978's Emmanuelle and the Erotic Nights, a partnering with writer/director Claudio Fragasso resulted in the "nunsploitation" classics The True Story of the Nun of Monza and The Other Hell (both 1980). Though the partnership would serve both parties well, many fans frown upon Fragasso's frequent claims to have served as the driving creative force behind many of Mattei's most successful efforts (while placing the blame for the less successful ones squarely on Mattei's shoulders). Mattei's 1981 effort Virus (aka Hell of the Living Dead) managed to churn stomachs worldwide while it continued the tradition of George A. Romero's Dawn of the Dead, and he continued throughout the decade with such films as Porno Holocaust (also 1981), Rats (1984), Robowar (1988), and Terminator II (1989 -- no, not that Terminator II!). Though his output would slow somewhat in the 1990s, Mattei continued on with such efforts as the gruesome thriller Eyes Without a Face (1994) and the blatant Jaws rip-off Cruel Jaws (which lifted scenes directly from the classic Spielberg movie, in addition to listing author Peter Benchley with screenwriter credit!). ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi