Luigi Cozzi
Luigi Cozzi.JPG
Luigi Cozzi in 2011
Born (1947-09-07) 7 September 1947 (age 75)
Other namesLewis Coates[1]
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter

Luigi Cozzi (born 7 September 1947) is an Italian film director and screenwriter. At a young age, Cozzi became a fan of science fiction and began his career as an overseas correspondent for Western film magazines. After directing his first film The Tunnel Under the World, Cozzi befriended director Dario Argento and began working with him in film and television as well as directing his own features including Hercules as well as continuing work with Argento. In the 2010s, he returned to directing with the film Blood on Méliès' Moon.


Early life

Luigi Cozzi was born in Busto Arsizio in Italy on 7 September 1947.[2] At a young age, Cozzi made films in 8mm and grew up wanting to be a film director.[2] Cozzi was also a great fan of science fiction, and worked as an overseas correspondent for Western film magazines such as Famous Monsters of Filmland and Photon.[2]

Cozzi's first film The Tunnel Under the World was described by Cozzi as "shot very quickly on a ridiculously low budget."[2] The film features a martian and a vampire.[2] He befriended director Dario Argento and began working on his screenplay for Four Flies on Grey Velvet, as well as working as an assistant on the film.[2]


Cozzi contributed to several films directed by Dario Argento (pictured) through his career
Cozzi contributed to several films directed by Dario Argento (pictured) through his career

Following work on Four Flies, Cozzi moved to Rome where he worked as a journalist.[2] He continued work with Argento on his film The Five Days and began working in television, writing two episodes ("Eyewitness" and "Neighbor") and directing "Neighbor" for the Door into Darkness television series.[2] His next film made was what Cozzi described as an Argento-styled thriller titled The Killer Must Kill Again.[2][3] Cozzi's next film project was Take All of Me which he considered his best film.[3] The film is a non-genre film which involves a love story between the failed pianist Richard and the young girl Stella.[3] Cozzi has since attempted to develop new non-science fiction films including The Locomotive and Freshmen but could not get funding for them.[3]

After the success of Star Wars, Cozzi found investors who were willing to fund a larger-scale science fiction film, and began working on a film initially called Empire of the Stars which was later released as Starcrash.[3] Cozzi felt he did not have the budget to compete with Star Wars and decided to give the film a "deliberately crazy look".[3] The film was plagued with production problems ranging from food poisoning on the set and a communist worker revolt which led to the films master copy being held for ransom by Italian activists.[3] Cozzi was about to do a sequel to the film titled Star Riders which would have a $12 million budget from Cannon Films with actors Klaus Kinski, Nancy Kwan and Jack Rabin.[4] The sequel never went into production.[4] Cozzi began expressing his frustration with the Italian film industry, stating in an interview in Cinefantastique that "What can I do? In Italy, when you bring a script to a producer, the first question he asks is not 'What is your film like?' but 'What film is your film like?' That's the way it is in Italy. We can only make Zombie II, never Zombi I."[5]

Cozzi went on to direct The Humanoid starring Richard Kiel, taking over for Aldo Lado.[4] The film is credited to George B. Lewis and was not released in the United States after American International Productions turned down the finished film.[4] Cozzi began working on a new film titled Alien Contamination which producers agreed to finance on the condition that the film would resemble Alien.[4] After another Italian film tiled Alien 2 on Earth was released, the producers took a title from the uncompleted Lucio Fulci film Contamination: Atomic Project and applied the word "Contamination" to the title.[4] The film was shot in eight weeks on a budget of $800,000.[4]

1980s to present

Cozzi began working at writing novels, writing thrillers including Killer Instinct and Fear Hotel and the science fiction novel Time Parallels and the horror novel Cthulu Night.[5] He was later offered by Menahem Golan to do an updated version of the story of Hercules on the condition that he could re-write the script in three weeks.[5] Cozzi accepted and developed Hercules, which drew inspiration from Clash of the Titans.[5] Cozzi's film includes large amounts of stop-motion animation.[5] Cozzi worked on a sequel that had actor Lou Ferrigno reprise his role, but found the actor only available for three weeks which led to Cozzi padding the film with footage from the first film.[5]

Cozzi continued working with Argento, working on the special effects scenes in his film Phenomena.[6] He created the scene involving the insects attacking a school by filming smashed coffee grounds in a water tank.[6] He followed this work with television series Giallo working again with Argento and Lamberto Bava.[6] Cozzi was offered to direct the film Witchery, which the initial director Claudio Lattanzi left during pre-production.[7] Cozzi entered and left two weeks into pre-production, finding the story "too predictable and banal".[7]

Cozzi had co-owned and managed the story ''Profondo Rosso'' in Italy.
Cozzi had co-owned and managed the story ''Profondo Rosso'' in Italy.

Other later work included directing and writing Paganini Horror.[6] The film stars Donald Pleasence and is based on the legend of a famous violinist being in league with the devil.[6] Cozzi also wrote the script for Sinbad of the Seven Seas which was directed by Enzo G. Castellari, but completed by Cozzi.[6] Among his later work is The Black Cat starring Caroline Munro, who is visited by a witch.[6] Cozzi played himself in the film Sick-o-pathics and also developed documentaries on Dario Argento.[6] Cozzi later made two documentaries on the films of Dario Argento, and for years co-owned and managed Argento's retail movie memorabilia store in Italy, Profondo Rosso.[8]

A new film made by Cozzi titled Blood on Méliès' Moon was announced at the Italian Horror Fest in Nettuno in July 2014.[1] Cozzi explained his return to film making was due to modern technology making it easier to make a film. Cozzi stated that it was similar to when he "decided to become a publisher, until then, to publish a book you had to print at least one or two thousand copies. That meant a lot of money and often your storehouses were full of unsold copies. After the advent of digital, you could print even only thirty copies of a book and so I decided to start publishing books and novels."[1] The title of the film came from Cozzi when working for Cannon in the 1980s which had a different plot.[1] The film had its world premiere at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival.[9]


Most of Cozzi's films become "increasingly silly and strange" as their plot goes on.[6]


Title Year Credited as Notes Ref(s)
Director Screenwriter Story author Other
The Tunnel Under the World Yes Yes Yes Actor and film editor [10]
Four Flies on Grey Velvet 1971 Yes [11][12]
The Black Hand 1973 Yes [13]
The Five Days Yes [14][15]
The Killer Must Kill Again Yes Yes Yes [16]
La portiera nuda Yes Yes Yes [17]
Take All of Me Yes Yes [18]
Starcrash 1979 Yes Yes Yes [19][20]
Contamination 1980 Yes Yes Yes [21][22]
Hercules 1983 Yes Yes Yes [23]
Monster Shark Yes [24]
Phenomena 1985 Yes Special effects artist [25][26]
The Adventures of Hercules II Yes Yes Yes [27][28][29]
Vampire in Venice 1988 Yes 2nd assistant director [30]
Sinbad of the Seven Seas 1989 Yes Yes [31][32]
Paganini Horror Yes Yes [33][34]
De Profundis Yes Yes Yes [35]
Two Evil Eyes 1990 Yes Second-unit director [36][37]
The Stendhal Syndrome 1996 Yes Second-unit director [2][38]
Dario Argento's Museum of Horrors Yes [2]
Blood on Méliès' Moon Yes


  1. ^ a b c d D'Onofrio, Roberto E. (5 November 2014). "Q&A: Luigi Cozzi Returns to Directing with "Blood on Méliès' Moon"". Fangoria. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Fischer 2011, p. 139.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Fischer 2011, p. 140.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Fischer 2011, p. 141.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Fischer 2011, p. 142.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Fischer 2011, p. 143.
  7. ^ a b Curti 2019, p. 158.
  8. ^ Howarth 2015, p. 343.
  9. ^ "Blood on Méliès Moon". Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  10. ^ "Il tunnel sotto il mondo (1969)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  11. ^ "4 mosche di velluto grigio (1971)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  12. ^ Gallant 2000, p. 276.
  13. ^ Curti 2013, p. 74.
  14. ^ "Le cinque giornate (1973)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  15. ^ Firsching, Robert. "Le Cinque Giornate on AllMovie". AllMovie. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  16. ^ "L'assassino è costretto a uccidere ancora (1974)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  17. ^ "La portiera nuda (1976)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  18. ^ "Dedicato a una stella (1976)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Starcrash". American Film Institute. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  20. ^ Pulleine, Tim (1979). "Starcrash". Monthly Film Bulletin. Vol. 46, no. 540. London: British Film Institute. p. 155.
  21. ^ "Astaron - Brut des Schreckens" (in German). Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  22. ^ "Contamination - Alien arriva sulla terra (1980)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  23. ^ Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 202.
  24. ^ "Shark - Rosso nell'oceano (1984)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  25. ^ "Cast and Crew". Dario Argento's Phenomena (book). Arrow Video. 2017. p. 3. FCD1507.
  26. ^ "About the Versions". Dario Argento's Phenomena (book). Arrow Video. 2017. p. 55. FCD1507.
  27. ^ "Le avventure dell'incredibile Ercole (1985)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  28. ^ Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 197.
  29. ^ Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 198.
  30. ^ Curti 2019, p. 166.
  31. ^ Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 205.
  32. ^ Kinnard & Crnkovich 2017, p. 206.
  33. ^ "Paganini Horror (1989)". (in Italian). Retrieved 30 August 2017.
  34. ^ Curti 2019, p. 181.
  35. ^ Cotter 2012, p. 99.
  36. ^ Cotter 2012, p. 102.
  37. ^ Gallant 2000, p. 280.
  38. ^ Gallant 2000, p. 283.


  • Curti, Roberto (2013). Italian Crime Filmography, 1968-1980. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786469765.
  • Curti, Roberto (2019). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1980-1989. McFarland. ISBN 978-1476672434.
  • Cotter, Robert Michael Bobb (2012). Caroline Munro, First Lady of Fantasy: A Complete Annotated Record of Film and Television Appearances. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786468829.
  • Fischer, Dennis (2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895-1998. McFarland. ISBN 978-0786485055.
  • Gallant, Chris (2000). Art of Darkness: The Cinema of Dario Argento. FAB Press. ISBN 1903254078.
  • Howarth, Troy (2015). Splintered Visions: Lucio Fulci and his Films. Midnight Marquee Press.
  • Kinnard, Roy; Crnkovich, Tony (2017). Italian Sword and Sandal Films, 1908-1990. McFarland. ISBN 978-1476662916.