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Plot: good girls go to heaven, Valeria goes everywhere…

Silvio Amadio was a promising director that helmed two interesting giallos with Amuck (1972) and Death Smiles On A Murderer (1973) that saw him working with some of Italy's finest leading ladies Rosalba Neri, Barbara Bouchet and Ewa Aulin. Compared to them Gloria Guida was but a starlet, willing and able to shed fabric if required, of questionable acting talent. Obviously Amadio’s best days were truly well behind him and not even Guida’s ascent in the commedia sexy all’Italiana could pull him from the morass of mediocrity. Amadio would work with Guida on another three occassions with So Young, So Lovely, So Vicious... (1975), That Malicious Age (1975), and Il Medico... La Studentessa (1976) but suffice to say no amount of Guida in the buff can mask how routinous and daft these are. The Minor was the last hurrah of a director well above this kind of daft melodramatic swill. There’s only so many ways for Gloria Guida to undress until that grows stale too.

The Minor was only glorious Gloria's second feature and the follow-up to the rather innocuous Monika (1974). Guida was a year removed from Blue Jeans (1975), the feature that would launch her legendary derrière to Eurocult superstardom, and her role as everybody's favorite promiscuous Catholic schoolgirl or la liceale in Michele Massimo Tarantini’s La Liceale (1975). That Gloria couldn't really act was manifest in her debut outing but at least she's given something to work with here. In her scenes with veteran actor Corrado Pani he does most of the heavy lifting for her. Guida's non-acting is charming at first but tends to grow tedious the farther one progresses into her filmography. While it stands to reason that la Guida did more than just taking her clothes off in Blue Jeans (1975), and That Malicious Age (1975), it wouldn't be until To Be Twenty (1978) a few years later that she proved that she could actually act. It's true that Gloria Guida was handed terrible scripts banking heavily on her willingness to shed clothes, but even with a good screenplay she wasn't exactly an Edwige Fenech, Barbara Bouchet, or Femi Benussi. Let alone that she was able to match ubiquitous bedroom farce queen Laura Antonelli. 

To its credit at least The Minor attempts to do things a little differently in its opening 15 minutes. Just like Mario Imperoli’s Monika (1974) and Blue Jeans (1975), The Minor opens with a pair of legs in the shortest blue skirt imaginable. The skirt and the legs in them, of course, belong to everybody’s favorite raunchy comedy darling Gloria Guida. From there it takes a page from the Christina Lindberg romp Exponerad (1971) as she’s chased, surrounded and then raped by a gang of bikers. We learn that Guida is Valeria Sanna and she’s summoned to the doctor’s office for a medical check-up. Right when the doctor is about to get naughty with her, her class mates burst in, wearing colorful corsets, and Valeria punishes the medic with castration. By this time sister Angela (Nicoletta Amadio) has found the schoolgirls in the woods and Valeria attempts to corrupt the good sister with some sapphic seduction. In her next flight of fancy Valeria finds herself topless and crucified by evil men and women of the cloth until a band of schoolgirls and nuns come to her rescue. She’s brought before the court of the headmaster (Giulio Donnini) and is instructed to return home for the summer and spent time with her dysfunctional family.

Things take a turn towards well-charted and rather daft commedia sexy all’Italiana and melodramatic territory when Valeria returns home. Her absentee father (Marco Guglielmi) has an office affair with his secretary. Her young and attractive mother (Rosemary Dexter) has an affair with wealthy entrepreneur Carlo Savi (Giacomo Rossi Stuart, as Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) while their in-house maid Carlotta (Gabriella Lepori) is in a tryst with Valeria’s constantly horny brother Lorenzo (Luciano Roffi). Valeria herself is the object of everybody’s attention as she can’t sunbathe topless without being spied on from nearby boats and no less than twice do a gang of schoolboys break-and-enter into her house to watch her undress. One day while wandering the beach she makes her acquaintance with Spartaco (Corrado Pani), a middle-aged sculptor living in a shack. An unlikely bond develops between the two and soon Valeria finds herself torn between interest in boys of her own age and her growing affection towards the cultured and worldly social pariah Spartaco. In a scene towards the end Giacomo Rossi-Stuart’s Carlo has Valeria dressing up as a internment camp prisoner while he poses as a Nazi officer and tries to lure Valeria in bed. At that point her mother enters the room and she’s none too pleased with her lover. It is then that Valeria realizes that she’s no longer interested in the adolescent boys that cause her so much grief, but in old Spartaco instead.

There are far and few Gloria Guida commedia sexy all’Italiana that are truly mandatory. The Minor is too routine and by-the-numbers to warrant recommendation outside of the opening 15 minutes that have Gloria partaking in various of daydreams. The Minor offers ample opportunity for Guida to shine as she’s put in (and out of) various alluring garments; be it the schoolgirl outfit with a skimpiest blue skirt and diaphanous knee-high socks, miniscule see-through lingerie and the blue bikini that features in most of the beach scenes. Seeing Guida is always a delight but no amount of bare skin can mask just how hideously banal The Minor truly is. Guida never shied away from nudity and The Minor has enough of Gloria in the buff to satisfy anyone’s cravings, the plot however is as trite as many of these comedies were wont to be. Gloria Guida might not have been the most gifted of actresses, but her shapely derrière and her willingness to shed clothes allowed her a steady career in bawdy commedia sexy all’Italiana. Obviously not all of her comedies and melodramas were created equal, but at the very least most were enjoyable in the basest sense of the word.

Granted, Gloria Guida was no Barbara Bouchet, Femi Benussi or even Evelyn Kraft. If The Minor proves anything it is that even Guida was too good to waste on mediocre swill like this. The creativity that it manifests and the goodwill that it generates in the first 15 minutes is too easily squandered as The Minor is yet another coming-of-age melodrama that banks entirely on miss Guida’s willingness to generously disrobe in front of the camera. The screenplay by Piero Regnoli has nothing significant to add to the genre – and not even the on-screen romance between Guida and Corrado Pani was all that novel by this point. Guida had been romancing men old enough to be her father before and after in Mario Imperoli’s Monika (1974) and Blue Jeans (1975). That The Minor plays out almost exactly like the earlier Scandinavian Exponerad (1971) proves just how moot the entire exercise was, even if it’s livelier than its Swedish predecessor. The opening 15 minutes alone manifest more creativity than the remainder of the feature can ever be bothered to muster. The Minor is far from director Silvio Amadio’s best, but it more than signifies that his best days were very well behind him now. While Guida’s ass was at least as famous as Benussi’s, Femi possessed a kind of vibrant versatility that Gloria never quite got a hold of.

Whether one can stomach the average Gloria Guida commedia sexy all’Italiana is entirely dependent on one's tolerance for Benny Hill slapstick shenanigans from buffoons as Lino Banfi and Alvaro Vitali as well as the usual amount of tragedy that was obligatory in these features. Nobody in the right mind watches these things for the story and the reason why everybody is here is to see Gloria Guida in the buff. The Minor is slightly more creative than the usual fare that Guida found herself in, but it is never able to consolidate that initial and early promise. Each and every excuse is still good enough to have glorious Gloria undress but it hardly guarantees an engaging, let alone compelling experience. Thankfully Gloria would be soon become a superstar with her role as the luscious la liceale in Michele Massimo Tarantini’s La Liceale (1975) (released in North America as The Teasers) and the controversial satire To Be Twenty (1978) with Lilli Carati. The Minor isn’t necessarily terrible – but it’s not good enough to warrant recommendation either. It’s a commedia sexy all’Italiana on auto-pilot, and it shows.

There’s no question about the indelible mark Chuck Schuldiner left on the worldwide metal scene through the work with his band Death. That the world lost one of its greatest innovators was clear even back then and even moreso now. In the ensuing decade since Schuldiner’s passing in 2001 various bands have sprung up to fill the void left by Death. The darkness of the catacombs gave the world the likes of Ekpyrosis, Ferum, and Amthrÿa (all of whom worship at the altar of Death in more primitive ways). The obvious candidate to carry on Schuldiner’s legacy is German act Obscura, now defunct Californian unit Insentient (fronted by Leslie Medina) but also Southern Italy-based Resumed. This Italian quartet debuted in 2014 with the rather unassuming but highly impressive “Alienations” and now, four years later, return on Danish label imprint Mighty Music (once home to Iniquity, among others) with “Year Zero”. Suffice to say, “Year Zero” was well worth the four-year break in between releases.

Hailing from Abruzzo in Southern Italy Resumed formed under the name Holy Terror in 2007 with the earliest line-up consisting of core trio of Daniele Presutti (vocals, lead guitar), Carlo Alfonso Pelino (bass guitar) and Filippo Tirabassi (drums) as well as Nikolas De Stephanis (lead guitar). Before independently releasing their “Human Troubles” demo recording in 2009 the four changed to their current moniker. In 2012 De Stephanis bade the band farewell after which Pelino took his place on lead guitar and Giulia Pallozzi was brought in on fretless bass guitar. Two years later “Alienations” was released to little fanfare but obviously stirred enough interest for Mighty Music to offer the Italian quartet a recording contract. As with their debut “Year Zero” fuses influences from forgotten Italian technical death metal pioneers Desecration (“The Valley Of Eternal Suffering”) with established American – and European institutions as Atheist (“Piece Of Time”, “Unquestionable Presence”), Pestilence (“Testimony Of the Ancients”, “Spheres”), Theory In Practice (“The Armageddon Theories”, “Colonizing the Sun”) and, of course, Death (“Human”, “Individual Thought Patterns”, “Symbolic”). It’s an impressive showing to say the least, especially from a band little over a decade old.

What makes Resumed different from a good majority of their peers is that their tempo is far lower and their approach is more song-based. Italian death metal, at least the way it is understood since the early millennium, propagated itself as a more mechanical, theatrical interpretation of the Polish or Brazilian sound. As such it tends to take after Internal Suffering, early Nile with a dosage of “De Profundis” Vader to even things out. Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Hideous Divinity are probably the most recognizable names specializing in that particular flavor of Italian death metal. Resumed brings a sense of finesse, elegance, and sophistication back to death metal. On the whole “Year Zero” very much sounds like “The Armageddon Theories” era Theory In Practice without the keyboards, or the kind of album that Death could have released in between “Symbolic” and the more power/progressive metal inclined “The Sound Of Perseverance” (which was never conceived nor intended as a true Death record to begin with). The death metal that Resumed specializes in never rages, blasts or stomps but indeed flows just like the most enduring Death records. Like on “Human” there’s a sense of tranquility, restraint, and control to “Year Zero” that’s seldom heard these days. Some might find this a bit slow for their taste, but that doesn’t change how well written it is.

While arguably lead guitarists Daniele Presutti and Carlo Alfonso Pelino are the stars of the record and offer up a veritable avalanche of solos, the importance of Giulia Pallozzi’s bass guitar cannot be understated. In tradition of Cliff Burton (Metallica), Chris Richards (ex-Suffocation), Tony Choy (ex-Cynic), Mike Poggione (Monstrosity), Steve DiGiorgio (ex-Death, Autopsy, et al), Jeroen Paul Thesseling (ex-Pestilence, ex-Obscura), Éric Langlois (ex-Cryptopsy), Niklas Dewerud (ex-Spawn Of Possession), and Erlend Caspersen (ex-Blood Red Throne) her funky licks flow above, below and in between the tides of riffs. Likewise is drummer Filippo Tirabassi a paragon of restraint, control, and finesse. As with their debut “Year Zero” too deals with the paranormal and the extraterrestrial. Whether or not the literature of famous Italian ufologist Mario Gariozzi on the subject was any inspiration we’ll leave in the middle, but it’s far more interesting than what these bands typically write about. From the production work you’d never guess that 16th Cellar Studio and producer Stefano Morabito were involved in its creation. It’s unusually smooth on all fronts and nothing like, say, the recent Internal Suffering album that Morabito produced. In general we’re not the biggest fans of what comes out of 16th Cellar Studio with “Year Zero” as the exception that proves the rule.

As heir apparent to the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner and Death “Year Zero” is as good as this thing tends to get. Resumed is not quite as hook-oriented as Obscura is on average and their songwriting is never as collected and streamlined as it was on “Symbolic”. As good as “Alienations” was “Year Zero” is in all ways superior. If there’s anything that the Stefano Morabito production has improved upon it’s the drum tones. On “Alienations” they were almost mechanical and sterile sounding, here they sound full-bodied, organic and naturally warm. Keeping up with traditions from “Alienations” the artwork was rendered by Davide Mancini. It’s comforting to see young bands sticking with what works. “Year Zero” confirms that Resumed are the heirs apparent to the throne vacated by Death in 2001, even though a tribute act like Gruesome is obviously far more popular than they’ll ever be. Resumed is refreshingly bereft of any contemporary influences and if there’s any justice in the world “Year Zero” will introduce them to a much bigger audience. With the promotion department from Mighty Music behind them Resumed is destined to become a much bigger player.