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Specters (1987)

Spettri (original title)
Unrated | | Horror | 17 October 1989 (USA)
A US professor of archaeology and his young research team uncover a sealed ancient pagan tomb under the mausoleum of the real life Roman Emperor Domitian. This unleashes an evil deity that starts haunting people involved with the dig.


Marcello Avallone


Marcello Avallone (based on an idea by), Marcello Avallone (screenplay) | 5 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
John R. Pepper John R. Pepper ... Marcus (as John Pepper)
Trine Michelsen Trine Michelsen ... Alice (as Katrine Michelsen)
Donald Pleasence ... Professor Lasky
Massimo De Rossi Massimo De Rossi ... Matteo
Riccardo De Torrebruna Riccardo De Torrebruna ... Andrea
Lavinia Grizi Lavinia Grizi ... Barbara
Riccardo Parisio Perrotti Riccardo Parisio Perrotti ... Gaspare
Giovanni Bilancia Giovanni Bilancia
Matteo Gazzolo Matteo Gazzolo ... Mike
Laurentina Guidotti Laurentina Guidotti ... Maria
Erna Schurer ... Catacomb guide
Giovanni Tamberi Giovanni Tamberi ... Gino


Archeology professor and his assistants discover a forgotten tomb under Rome. By the time they translate the warnings inscribed on the stones surrounding it and gather that an ancient maleficent spirit is imprisoned there, it may be too late. Other than the people who work on the dig, the story also follows Alice, an actress, singer and girlfriend of Marcus, the professor's assistant. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


An unforgettable journey into the darkest reaches of terror. See more »




Unrated | See all certifications »





English | Italian

Release Date:

17 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Specters See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Stereo


See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First of only two horror films by Italian director Marcello Avallone. The other one is "Maya" (1989). See more »


References Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) See more »


Never Change
Written by P.I. Germini - A. Cicco
Arranged by A. Valente - A. Cicco
Performed by Blue Visconti
See more »

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User Reviews

Spect-(ers)-Acular Crap!
28 July 2009 | by CoventrySee all my reviews

Huh, what do you know…! They do make horror movies in Italy that not appeal to me, after all! Well, actually I already knew that. The Italians were the undeniable masters when it comes to horror, especially during the seventies and eighties, but obviously all films couldn't be winners. Just like "Manhattan Baby" and "Zeder", which more or less revolve on similar themes, "Specters" is an incredibly incoherent and painfully tedious film. The basic premise holds a lot of potential, for sure, but director Marcello Avallone – as well as his three (!) fellow writers – didn't manage to turn it into a compelling script. Several of the story lines are underdeveloped, the film wastes far too much time on irrelevant sub plots and insignificant supportive characters, the evil's true nature remains a mystery even after the film has finished, the lead roles aren't convincing and the production incomprehensibly doesn't take full usage of the marvelous filming locations and scenery! Here they are shooting a film in one of the most beautiful cities in the world – underneath it as well as on the surface – but all we get to see are pitiable images of some lame ruins. Donald Pleasance, who regularly appeared in Spaghetti horror productions (see also the much better films "Phantom of Death" and Dario Argento's "Phenomena") is clearly aware of the film's inferior quality and thus doesn't even bother to give away a half-decent performance. There's something evil lurking under the city of Rome… The acclaimed archaeologist Prof. Lasky and his crew have been searching for a 19 centuries old tomb for many months, but now it seems that the nearby subway construction works have finally exposed the entry. The discovery might not be such a triumph after all, as the occupant of the sarcophagus – a bizarre type of feline monster – is awakened and promptly goes on a rampage. Well, at least I think it goes on a rampage, because that's the point where the "Specters" really stops making sense. Many sequences, like the "Nightmare on Elm Street" similar suck-into-the-bed death scene, are played like they are hallucinations whereas other ones, like the head crushing sequence, are reality? There clearly is some sort of (spiritual?) link between the monster and one of the archaeologist's girlfriend (played by the former Miss Denmark Trine Michelsen who recently passed away as a result of bone cancer) but that story aspect is never at one point clarified. You'll get used to that, though, as there are many more. What's the deal with the blind tour guide in the catacombs? What inflicted the veto between Prof. Lasky and the exaggeratedly gay-behaving elderly antique dealer? Why does literally everybody in this film insist on having extended conversations with themselves? Why aren't the school couple from the beginning of the film ever mentioned anymore? Whatever, it's a really stupid and lackluster film; let's just keep it at that. As usual with the productions he was involved in, special effects wizard Sergio Stivaletti delivers the finest piece of work. The budget was clearly minimal, but he nevertheless still managed to provide some pretty cool and engrossing effects.

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