Francesco Renaldo de Liveri (b. April 20th, 1955, Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy-) is an Italian born American horror director known for his Sucker vampire series and his earlier films. He is known for frequently collaborating with Tim Ashley and Gabriel Gortia. His son Michael de Liveri is also a director.
Francesco Renaldo de Liveri was born on the 20th of April 1955 in Bologna, Italy to Julio Caprice de Liveri (b. 1930-d. 2003) and Isabella Romana (b. 1932-), the second child after his older brother Frederico (b. 1950-), and before his two sisters Francesca (b. 1960-) and Rosemary (b. 1964-). His family migrated to San Francisco in 1960 shortly before his sister Francesca was born, initially moving into a house with his uncle Paulio and his family, before Julio could afford their own house. Francesco, along with his sibling, attended Lowell High School. He graduated from there in 1973 and earned a degree in Cinematography at San Francisco State University in 1977.
He married his longtime partner Christina Renaldo in 1980, two years after their first child Michael was born. Their second child Isabella was born in 1982 and their second son Gabriel was born in 1985. Michael is also a director, and Isabella is an actress, while Gabriel is a lawyer in San Francisco. Francesco has four grandchildren; two by Michael (Joseph and Gabriella) and one by Isabella (Luis) and lives with his wife in New York City.
De Liveri is known for his use of gothic imagery, violence, sex, and historical references. His debut film "Howl of the Wolf" explored the myth of werewolves; and both Satan's Sons and The Dance with the Devil explore Satanism and demonic possession. Bed of Nails follows serial killer Roland Geddy, portrayed by Tim Ashley who is a devout Satanist and burns cross after killing his victims. De Liveri's first delving into the vampiric myth was with Suckers (1991); starring Gabriel Gortia as the 450 year old vampire Anton Velenti and his battle against the Council of Blood. 1991 also saw de Liveri's other vampire film; Calvieri, which was different to Suckers with a more historical approach.
Most of de Liveri's work has met with mixed to positive reactions. His early works are commended for their dark style and frightening scenes, though his prominent use of sex in his films, particularly even in his first film, were criticized from the beginning of his career. One reviewer said of Howl of the Wolf in 1988: "de Liveri's brings that European flare to his debut film, though the prominent use of sex is both disturbing and gratuitous". De Liveri said of the use of sex in his movies in a 2004 interview: "I think using sex is movies is a good way of showing human vulnerability, no I don't think I overuse it at all"
He has also been criticized for his use of graphic violence, such as the notable "decapitation" scene in Howl of the Wolf, in which the main character and werewolf Jonathan Gilbert (Chris Corbin) is beheaded violently by a group of werewolf hunters. This scene was omitted from the original screening of the film in 1987, with Gilbert instead being shot in the back. The original sequence can be found on the Howl of the Wolf DVD.
De Liveri has been accused of anti-Christian, racial, sexist and offensive themes throughout his career. The prominent theme of cross burning and Satanism appear in several of his films, and many churches have been highly offended by his films. He was accused of racism when in a scene in Satan's Sons, the biker gang targets what appears to be a primarily African American group of people. He was also accused later when several members of Chinese community said his portrayal of the Chinese in Suckers: Second Blood was more than offensive and stereotyping. He has denied any racial sentiments, claiming that he was targeted by American children growing up because he was Italian. De Liveri was also himself subject to racism when a reviewer called him a "gonzo" and a "pizza-pounder" when deriding his films. De Liveri was thoroughly offended and the reviewer's words were later omitted from a publication.
An accusation of sexism came from a feminist activist who, at the screening of Hangman said that de Liveri only cast male leads because he felt the female was were inferior. He cleared up the accusation by saying that such accusations were "bogus" and "offensive to me".
De Liveri has confirmed that a eighth and final Suckers film would be his next major project, stating that he wants the series to end with the film, despite the good reviews of most of its predecessors. De Liveri and scriptwriter for all the Suckers films, Joseph Gómez, have begun work on a script for the film, supposedly titled Suckers: Live Forever. Gabriel Gortia has confirmed as of April 2011 that he has signed on the reprise his role in the new film.
De Liveri has also expressed on numerous occasions that he would love to direct a science fiction film, and has told sources he already has a "script ready to go", and that it just needs refining. He has said the project will likely be a mix of old school sci-fi with some B-grade violence, and Tim Ashley is rumoured to be attached to the unnamed project.
|1987||Howl of the Wolf||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Store Owner|
|1992||Bed of Nails||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Mortician|
|Suckers: Second Blood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Father Jeffrey|
|1998||The Dance with the Devil||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|2000||Suckers IV: Never Say Die||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Old Man|
|Suckers: Behind the Blood||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Himself|
|2008||Suckers VII: Hell Awaits||Yes||Yes||Yes|