Bruno Mattei

Bruno Mattei (30 July 1931 – 21 May 2007) was an Italian film director, screenwriter and editor who directed exploitation films in many genres, including women in prison, nunsploitation, zombie, cannibal and Nazisploitation films. Mattei's films were often following the popular genre trends of the era. Mattei continued work as a director until his death in 2007.

Bruno Mattei
Bruno Mattei

(1931-07-30)30 July 1931
Died21 May 2007(2007-05-21) (aged 75)
Rome, Italy
Other namesVincent Dawn, Pierre Le Blanc, Stefan Oblowsky, Gilbert Roussel, David Hunt, William Snyder, Jordan B. Matthews, Jimmy Matheus, Michael Cardoso
Years active1956–2007


Bruno Mattei was born on 30 July 1931 in Rome, Italy.[1] Mattei grew up around films as his father owned a film editing studio. He studied at the Centro Sperimentale Centrale, the national film school, and graduated in 1951.[1] Mattei initially worked as a screenwriter and claimed to have worked on over 100 films as an editor, a claim that film historian Louis Paul stated was "difficult to verify".[1] Some of the earliest films Mattei worked on included Lulu (1953) and Tua per la vita.[2] Early film work started in 1956 on Giovanni dalle Bande Nere, after which Mattei worked on several peplum and Eurospy films.[1]

His first film as a director was Armidia, il Dramma di Una Sposa (1970),[1] after which he directed Cuginetta...Amore Mio!, an exploitation film starring Rita De Simone.[1] Then followed his Nazi-themed exploitation films such as La Casa Privata per le SS (SS Girls) and KZ9 Lager di Sterminio (Women's Camp 119), [1] some mondo documentary films starring Laura Gemser (Le Notti Porno nel Mondo (1977) and Emanuelle le Porno Notti del Mondo N. 2 (1978)),[1] and nunsploitation films such as The True Story of the Nun of Monza[3] and L'altro inferno .[4] Mattei continued working in various other exploitation-themed genres in the 1980s such as zombie films, sex films, peplums, and Vietnam War-themed productions.[4][5] In 1982, Mattei filmed two "women in prison" films, Women's Prison Massacre and Violence in a Women's Prison (aka Caged Women). The liner notes for the Women's Prison Massacre DVD release state "Mattei, using the moniker Gilbert Roussel, shot Women's Prison Massacre back-to-back with his Violence in a Women's Prison. It has basically the same cast, but both films are completely different."[6]

In 1980, Mattei began collaborating with screenwriter Claudio Fragasso, beginning with The True Story of the Nun of Monza (1980) and ending with a comedy called Three For One (1990).[3] The two worked closely together for that ten-year period (collaborating on 15 films),[3] with Fragasso assuming several roles including screenwriter and second unit director.[3]

Mattei was initially attached to direct an adaptation of Hercules from a screenplay by Ricardo Ghione.[7] Principal photography was scheduled to begin May 1982 in Rome, Italy while The Hollywood Reporter naming Fragasso as screenwriter, and Ennio Morricone as music composer and conductor.[7] Neither Mattei, Fragasso, or Morricone appear in onscreen credits.[7] The Hollywood Reporter later stated that principal photography on Hercules began in August 1982 in Italy under the direction of Luigi Cozzi.[7] (Mattei later directed Lou Ferrigno in The Seven Magnificent Gladiators however.[8])

Mattei replaced Lucio Fulci as the director of Zombi 3 (1988) in the Philippines, after Fulci left the project unfinished, then co-produced Zombie 4: After Death (1988) immediately afterward, using the same sets and some of the same cast members, and allowing Fragasso to direct that one on his own.[9] Mattei's other late-1980s films included Robowar[10] and Shocking Dark - Terminator II[11] (which incorporated elements of other popular science fiction films of the time such as The Terminator and Alien).[12] As the 1980s ended, most of Mattei's work was released direct to video or to Italian television such as his Appuntamento a Trieste, a 1987 Italian 6-hour-long mini-series.[5][9] Many of Mattei's films from the 1990s became harder to find as export releases or home video releases.[12]

From 1993 onward, Mattei worked as a director almost exclusively for Italian producer Giovanni Paolucci, a working arrangement that jump-started Mattei's career after he and Fragasso had gone their own ways in 1990.[13] Paolucci produced most of Mattei's later films, beginning with Dangerous Attraction (1993) and ending with Mattei's final film, Zombies: The Beginning (2007).[14] . Mattei continued directing films right up until his death. Mattei died in Rome, Italy in a hospital after complications from brain tumor surgery[15] on May 21, 2007, at age 75.[2]


Jason Buchanan described Bruno Mattei's films as "low budget, gore-drenched efforts" and that "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."

Louis Paul, in his analysis of Italian horror film directors, stated that Mattei's career consisted of him being a "director of copy-cat movies. Whenever a film or a genre became popular, he directed his own (unsanctioned) remake or unofficial sequel."[12] Daniel Budnik, an author of a book on 1980s action films, described Mattei as "no stranger to simply ripping stuff off", noting his use of Goblin's music for Hell of the Living Dead, stock footage from documentaries on South African tribes, and shark attack footage for his Cruel Jaws, ultimately describing him as "the best of all possible rip-off artists [...] Bruno just really did his own thing and went his own way" which involved "ripping everyone off, but you can't have everything".[16]

Mattei used several aliases through his career, including Jordan B. Matthews, Jimmy Matheus, Gilbert Roussel, Axel Berger, Michael Cardoso, David Hunt, Werner Knox, Pierre Le Blanc, Stefan Oblowsky and Vincent Dawn.[2][12]

Selected filmography

Note: The films listed as N/A are not necessarily chronological.
TitleYearCredited asNotesRef(s)
The Pirate of the Black Hawk 1958 Yes Assistant film editor [17]
The Loves of Salammbo 1960 Yes Assistant film editor [18]
Sexy 1962 Yes [19]
Caesar Against the Pirates Yes Sound mixer [20]
Fire Monsters Against the Son of Hercules Yes Sound editor [21][22]
Triumph of the Ten Gladiators 1964 Yes Assistant film editor [23]
Spartacus and the Ten Gladiators Yes [24][25]
Agent 3S3: Passport to Hell 1965 Yes [26]
Misión en Ginebra 1967 Yes [27]
Goldface, the Fantastic Superman Yes [28]
El magnifico Tony Carrera 1968 Yes [29]
Die Nichten der Frau Oberst Yes [30]
99 Women 1969 Yes [31]
Yellow: le cugine Yes [32]
Count Dracula 1970 Yes [33]
Armida, il Dramma di Una Sposa N/A Yes [10]
Emanuelle's Revenge 1975 Yes Yes uncredited co-director[34] [35][36]
Cuginetta, amore mio! N/A Yes Yes [37][38]
SS Girls 1977 Yes [39][10]
S.S. Extermination Love Camp N/A Yes [40][10]
Sexy Night Report N/A Yes Yes [41]
Emanuelle e le Porno Notti del Mondo N.2 N/A Yes [41]
Cicciolina amore mio N/A Yes [10]
Sexual Aberration: Sesso Perverso N/A Yes [37]
Sesso perverso, mondo violento N/A Yes [37]
The True Story of the Nun of Monza N/A Yes [3]
Hell of the Living Dead 1980 Yes [42][43]
The Other Hell 1981 Yes Yes [10][44]
Caligula Reincarnated as Nero N/A Yes Yes Yes [45][46][10]
Caligula and Messalina N/A Yes [10]
Violence in a Women's Prison 1982 Yes [10]
Women's Prison Massacre 1983 Yes [10][10]
The Seven Magnificent Gladiators 1983 Yes Yes [8]
Rats: Night of Terror N/A Yes Yes [47][48]
Scalps 1986 Yes Yes [47][10][49]
White Apache 1986 Yes Yes [50][10][49]
Strike Commando N/A Yes [10]
Double Target 1987 Yes Yes [10][51]
Appointment in Trieste N/A Yes Made for television [47][52]
Strike Commando 2 N/A Yes [10]
Robowar N/A Yes [47][10]
Cop Game N/A Yes [10]
Zombi 3 N/A Yes Yes [53]
Born to Fight N/A Yes [54]
Shocking Dark - Terminator II N/A Yes [47][10]
Desire N/A Yes [10]
Three For One N/A Yes [10]
Dangerous Attraction N/A Yes [55][56]
Madness 1992 Yes Yes [57][56]
Omicidio al telefono N/A Yes Yes Yes [55][58]
Legitimate Vendetta N/A Yes [59]
Cruel Jaws N/A Yes Yes Yes [60]
Ljuba: Body and Soul N/A Yes [60]
A Respectable Judge N/A Yes [60]
Belle da morire N/A Yes [60]
The Other Woman N/A Yes [60]
Venetian Caprice N/A Yes [60]
Snuff Trap N/A Yes [61]
Mondo Cannibale N/A Yes [60]
In the Land of the Cannibals N/A Yes [60]
The Tomb N/A Yes Yes [60]
Killing Striptease II N/A Yes [62]
A Shudder on the Skin N/A Yes [60]
Secrets of a Woman N/A Yes [60]
Secrets of a Woman II N/A Yes [60]
Orient Escape N/A Yes [60]
The Jail: The Women's Hell N/A Yes Yes [60]
Island of the Living Dead N/A Yes Yes [63]
Zombies: The Beginning 2007 Yes Yes [60]
The Mighty Crusaders N/A Yes Assistant film editor [64]


  1. Paul 2005, p. 210.
  2. Lentz III 2008, p. 241.
  3. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 32.
  4. Paul 2005, p. 211.
  5. Paul 2005, p. 212.
  6. Liner Notes. Women's Prison Massacre dvd release. Distributed by Shock-O-Rama Cinema. 12/16/04.
  7. "Hercules". American Film Institute. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  8. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 204.
  9. Paul 2005, p. 213.
  10. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 155.
  11. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 75.
  12. Paul 2005, p. 214.
  13. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 83.
  14. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 125.
  15. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 10.
  16. Budnik 2017, p. 233.
  17. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 129.
  18. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 110.
  19. "Sexy" (in French). Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  20. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 30.
  21. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 56.
  22. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 58.
  23. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 179.
  24. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 163.
  25. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 164.
  26. "Agente 3.S.3, Passaporto per L'inferno". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 33 no. 384. British Film Institute. 1966. p. 140.
  27. "Feuer frei auf Frankie" (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  28. Curti 2016, p. 68.
  29. "Samtpfötchen dreht sein letztes Ding" (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  30. "Die Nichten der Frau Oberst" (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  31. "Der heiße Tod" (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  32. Howarth 2015, p. 113.
  33. "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht" (in German). Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  34. Giusti, Marco (1999). dizionario dei film italiani STRACULT [sic]. Cles: Sterling & Kupfer. pg. 253. ISBN 88-200-2919-7.
  35. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 13.
  36. "Emanuelle's Revenge". Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  37. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 18.
  39. Curti 2013, p. 114.
  40. Curti 2013, p. 51.
  41. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 16.
  42. Curti 2019, p. 50.
  43. Jenkins, Steve (1982). "Inferno dei morti-viventi (Zombie Creeping Flesh)". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 49 no. 576. British Film Institute. p. 229.
  44. Curti 2019, p. 52.
  45. Paul 2005, p. 217.
  46. Smith 2009, p. 284.
  47. Paul 2005, p. 218.
  48. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 55.
  49. Grant 2011, p. 468.
  50. Paul 2005, p. 155.
  51. Hayward 1988, p. 155.
  52. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 65.
  53. Howarth 2015, p. 302.
  54. Curti 2016, p. 180.
  55. Howarth 2015, p. 169.
  56. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 79.
  57. Curti 2016, p. 195.
  58. Howarth 2015, p. 172.
  59. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 82.
  60. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 156.
  61. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 91.
  62. Lupi & Gazzarrini 2013, p. 87.
  63. Howarth 2015, p. 203.
  64. Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 119.


  • Budnik, Daniel R. (2017). '80s Action Movies on the Cheap. McFarland. ISBN 0786497416.
  • Curti, Roberto (2019). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980-1989. McFarland. ISBN 1476672431.
  • Curti, Roberto (2013). Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980. McFarland. ISBN 0786469765.
  • Curti, Roberto (2016). Diabolika: Supercriminals, Superheroes and the Comic Book Universe in Italian Cinema. Midnight Marquee Press. ISBN 978-1-936168-60-6.
  • Lupi, Gordiano; Gazzarrini, Ivo (2013). Bruno Mattei: L'ultimo artigiano (in Italian). ISBN 9788876064609.
  • Grant, Kevin (2011). Any Gun Can Play. Fab Press. ISBN 9781903254615.
  • Hayward, Anthony (1988). "Video Releases". Film Review 1988-9. Columbus Books Limited. ISBN 0-86287-939-6.
  • Howarth, Troy (2015). So Deadly, So Perverse. 1. Midnight Marquee Press. ISBN 1936168502.
  • Howarth, Troy (2015). So Deadly, So Perverse. 2. Midnight Marquee Press. ISBN 1936168588.
  • Kinnard, Roy; Crnkovich, Tony (2017). Italian Sword and Sandal Films, 1908-1990. McFarland. ISBN 1476662916.
  • Lentz III, Harris M. (2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2007. McFarland. ISBN 0786451912.
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.
  • Shipka, Danny (2011). Perverse Titillation: The Exploitation Cinema of Italy, Spain and France, 1960–1980. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-4888-3.
  • Smith, Gary Allen (2009). Epic Films. McFarland. ISBN 1476604185.
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