Michele Soavi was born in Milan. As a teenager, Soavi enrolled in creative arts classes and worked at becoming an actor. He took acting lessons at Milan’s Fersen Studios, and also served as a cameraman. Soavi’s directorial career began when he was offered an assistant director job by Marco Modugno after appearing as an extra in Modugno’s 1979 film Bambule. Soavi continued to act in films such as Alien 2: On Earth and Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead, and served as an assistant director to Aristide Massacessi (Joe D’Amato), and occasionally appeared in bit parts in some of D’Amato’s films. Soavi later came into his own when he started his collaboration with famed Italian horror director Dario Argento, who used him as second assistant director on the film Tenebrae. Soavi continued to work with Argento for several years; with his first credit as director being the documentary Dario Argento’s World of Horror, followed by a pop promo for Bill Wyman. He directed his first feature film with 1987’s Stage Fright for producer Joe D’Amato. He worked as assistant director to Terry Gilliam on The Adventures of Baron Munchausen in 1988, and followed this with his second feature film as director, 1989’s La Chiesa (The Church). His third feature, The Sect (a.k.a. “The Devil’s Daughter”), followed in 1990. Soavi has been credited as continuing the traditions of Italian horror in the 1990s, directing the zombie love story Dellamorte DellamNore (a.k.a. Cemetery Man). The film was based on Tiziano Sclavi’s novel of the same name, and the author was also known for being the creator of the Italian comic book Dylan Dog. “Dellamorte Dellamore” also starred Rupert Everett in the lead role. Soavi retreated from the film industry in the mid-1990s to care for his ailing son, before returning to work in Italian television. In 2008, it was announced that Soavi was working on a new feature film, The Catacombs Club.
Giovanni Lombardo Radice (23 September 1954 – 27 April 2023) was an Italian film actor, also known as John Morghen. Lombardo Radice began his career in theater before he starred in Ruggero Deodato’s The House on the Edge of the Park (1980). Throughout the 80s Radice appeared in many Italian cult films such as Cannibal Apocalypse (1980), City of the Living Dead (1980), Stage Fright (1987) and The Church (1989). Radice is best known for his villainous roles in Italian horror films, and notably for the spectacular and gruesome death scenes his characters semi-regularly fall victim to. In several interviews, he reportedly stated that he wished he had never portrayed Mike Logan in Cannibal Ferox, criticizing the movie for being both fascist and racist and abusive towards animals. Radice created his stage name, John Morghen, by taking the anglicized form of his first name (Giovanni becomes John) and using his grandmother’s maiden name as his last name (Morghen). His family practically disowned him when they discovered he was using his family name to create incredibly violent films. Lombardo Radice’s uncle is Pietro Ingrao, the first member of the Italian Communist Party to be Head of Parliament in the 1970s. His father was the mathematician Lucio Lombardo Radice. The writer Marco Lombardo Radice was his elder brother. Radice often posted texts criticizing social injustice, capitalism and corruption in Italy. Lombardo Radice wrote about having a cocaine addiction when younger. Lombardo Radice died on 27 April 2023, at the age of 68, the same day as his Cannibal Apocalypse co-star Ramiro Oliveros.