Mario Bava, Master of Smoke and Rich Color Palettes

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cinemalover
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Post by cinemalover »

I just had an opportunity to watch Bava's Knives of the Avenger with Cameron Mitchell and wrote up my thoughts on my thread under General Chat.

It is the first movie I pulled out of the Mario Bava Collection: Volume I. I finally got my hands on Volume II of that set so I have a lot of Bava sitting on the shelf waiting for me.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I just watched "The Whip and the Body" aka "What?" (and what a lousy title "What?" is! Could they have thought up a less informative title?)

Anyway, "The Whip and the Body" is a fascinating combination of Gothic horror film and psychological thriller. I think it is much, much better than "Black Sunday" and "Blood and Black Lace." Perhaps next to "Black Sabbath," this is my favorite Bava film. The plot makes sense, there are scenes of tremendous romantic suspense, and the ending is quite powerful.

I can see this film as, perhaps, influencing later British horror films like "And Now the Screaming Starts" and "Demons of the Mind."
nightwalker
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Post by nightwalker »

I also saw THE WHIP AND THE BODY under the title of WHAT?

As you might imagine, there was some difficulty whenever someone would ask me the most recent film I had watched.

Them: So, seen any interesting movies lately?

Me: WHAT?

Them: I said, what's the last movie you watched, dude?

Me: That's right.

Them: What's right?

Me: Yeah.

Them: Forget it!

I thought the film to be one of the best in the costumed is-it-a-ghost genre, along with KILL! BABY! KILL!, which I would also recommend. HERCULES AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH, also starring Lee, is one of the better films of the peplum genre, although it's too bad Lee didn't dub his voice in that one either.

If you've not seen it, PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES is very atmospheric, very scary with a neat twist ending.

And how about A BAY OF BLOOD, the point of which seems to be that no one is really innocent?

ROY COLT & WINCHESTER JACK is a pretty amusing Spaghetti Western comedy.

KNIVES OF THE AVENGER is actually a thinly disguised Western set in the days of the Vikings, but it features Cameron Mitchell in a pretty good performance as the heroic defender of widows and children, albeit one with his own agenda.
Dawtrina
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Post by Dawtrina »

I'm surprised nobody mentioned A Bay of Blood for so long. I grew up watching eighties Hollywood video horror and A Bay of Blood is where the entire slasher genre (most obviously Friday the 13th, but really all of it) can work its influences back to.

I watched it in 2004 and thought it was truly awesome. I watched it again in 2005 and realised that it wasn't quite as good as I remembered it, but it's still a powerful and very well made movie. And it came out the year I was born. Unlike almost any of those eighties slashers, it still holds up very well indeed today.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I think "Bay of Blood" is also in release under the title "Twitch of the Death Nerve."

Some writers think that the original "Friday the 13th" movie borrowed heavily from "Bay of Blood." I've not seen "Bay/Twitch" so I am not sure.
nightwalker
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Post by nightwalker »

I Wouldn't be at all surprised, Mike, if FRIDAY THE 13TH did "borrow" from A BAY OF BLOOD/TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE.

But BAY/TWITCH was done with much more style.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I just watched "Kill, Baby, Kill," a Bava horror film released in 1968 and was very impressed. (The title is lousy and has nothing to do with the story.)

A doctor is summoned to an isolated village around 1900 to perform an autopsy on a suicide. Everyone is choked with superstitious fear and several more suicides occur before the doctor gets to the bottom of things.

The cast is okay. Bava's eye for the arresting image is what really makes the movie, which probably had an influence on "Don't Look Now" and "The Fog." The plot holds together well, which is why I like this one better than "Black Sunday."
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cinemalover
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Post by cinemalover »

Mike,
I've got Kill, Baby, Kill sitting on my shelf waiting for the right mood. It has been so long since I've watched it, thanks for the reminder about it's entertainment level.
Chris

The only bad movie is no movie at all.
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I just watched "Lisa and the Devil," Bava's last horror film, and I have to say I enjoyed it.

It wasn't as good as "The Whip and the Body" or "Kill Baby Kill," in large part because Telly Savalas seemed too hammy in about half of his scenes. However, the film really did build up a good level of Gothic atmosphere and dread, and there were some terrifying moments.

A word of warning. Apparently the film was recut on its American release and new scenes (not shot by Bava?) were edited in to make the film "House of Exorcism." (Gee, I wonder why?) "Lisa and the Devil" is the preferred version.
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