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RIP: Film Director Alessandro Michael de Gaetano

 Director Alessandro Michael de Gaetano

(Photo provided courtesy of the Pennington Family)

Film writer, producer and director Alessandro Michael de Gaetano, best known for the creepy 1977 horror film Haunted, passed away on Sunday evening, June 11, 2023, in Arizona at the age of 85 while surrounded by his family.

Bursting on to the scene with UFO Target Earth in 1974, with a style clearly inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), it’s a documentary format-film wherein interviewees discuss their “experiences” with UFO’s. An early entry in the history of computer-generated imagery (CGI) following Michael Crichton’s Westworld the year before, UFO Target Earth showcases the first time that CGI, albeit 8-bit, was used to create an alien for a motion picture, an accomplishment that Mr. de Gaetano was very proud of. The film also makes expert use of Krzysztof Penderecki’s “De Natura Sonoris No. 2” years before Stanley Kubrick employed it in The Shining (1980). UFO Target Earth is a nifty bit of Seventies nostalgia complete with rotary phones, telecommunications mechanical relay-switching equipment, AMPEX reel-to-reel recorders, and mainframe computers, all of which are arguably unidentifiable objects to members of Generation Z.

His second film was Haunted, which starred Virginia Mayo and Aldo Ray. It concerned the descendants of a woman’s accusers of her being a witch meeting a violent end after rumors abounded of her returning as an evil spirit. 

The comedy Scoring, featuring Laurene Landon about a female basketball team against a men’s team, was released in 1979.

1989’s Bloodbath in Psycho Town, 1995’s Project: Metalbeast, and 1996’s Butch Camp with Judy Tenuta followed.


At the time of his death, Mr. de Gaetano was developing a script for actress Vanessa Redgrave to star in called Red Gold.

HorrorNews.net would like to extend to Mr. de Gaetano’s family our condolences upon his passing.

Director Alessandro Michael de Gaetano

(Photo provided courtesy of the Pennington Family)

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