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  • Writer's pictureRob Freese

Elisa Briganti, Horror Icon R.I.P

On January 13, 2024, the world lost screenwriter Elisa Briganti.

For the uninitiated, Briganti co-wrote such iconic 80s horror films as Zombie, The Gates of Hell, The Beyond and House by the Cemetery with her husband Dardano Sacchetti.

Throughout the 80s, Briganti worked with Sacchetti in every popular genre. Their working relationship was intertwined perfectly. Sacchetti could stop writing at any point in the script, and Briganti picked up exactly where he left off, knowing the story and characters inside and out, and vice versa. They are the weavers of a million nightmares.

She received her first sole writing credit on Zombie (1979), the film that rocketed director Lucio Fulci into horror infamy.

I do not want to suggest that I knew Elisa, but through my correspondence with her husband, I got to know some little details about her. Elisa Briganti loved her family. She was a loyal and loving wife to Dardano for over 51 years, she appreciated fans for finding value in her work, and she enjoyed tending her garden in the spring.

She offered me the wonderful opportunity to interview her and ask whatever I wanted. One memory she shared included accompany Sacchetti on a film he served as assistant director (Emergency Squad- 1974) when she was pregnant with their daughter. She also recalled the constant tapping of the typewriter filling the house, and watching Sacchetti write while simultaneously bouncing their baby daughter on his knee.

Before dedicating herself to writing, she studied psychology. Had she not been a writer, she very well might have gone into teaching or child psychology.

When I asked her what she brought to her writing, she said she always tried to make the women strong and independent. This is definitely an attribute you see in the female characters in the most popular of her films.

Thank you, Elisa Briganti. You truly were the Mother of Dark Dreams and Wild Fantasy.

Rest in Peace.

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