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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror

 
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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 25/7/2010 6:47:53 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
BLACK SUNDAY [1960]

In 1630 Princess Asa is killed on the orders of her brother, for being a witch. 200 years later, two doctors Andre and Thomas are travelling through the village where it all happened. They find the crypt where Asa was buried and when Thomas is attacked by a large bat, the blood drips into Asa's tomb and brings her back to life. Summoning her dead lover Igor, she sets out to wreak revenge on the descendents of her executors and possess her identical twin Katia, whom Andre has fallen in love with.......


Although this was not quite the first Italian horror movie, it was the first one that was a big international success and was a really impressive directorial debut from Mario Bava. It remains his biggest international success and Bava once said it was the film he was most pleased with. It ran into a lot of censor trouble at the time of it's release [setting a pattern for many future Bava movies] and was actually banned in the UK for 8 years, possibly because the BBFC had just passed Peeping Tom and when there was an outcry over that film the censors decided to play it safe for a bit. Even when it was finally  released in 1968 it had a minute or so cut out, in doing in so removing the gory highlights. Of course nowadays it barely makes a 15 certificate!

The film is very reminiscent of a Universal studios horror movie in it's style and feel, and has an incredible dark fairy tale feel and look, with tons of fog and model scenery put to great use [Bava would become a master at making the most of small budgets].  It even has angry torch bearing villagers marching to write wrongs at the end, but of course no Universal film opened with a woman having a mask with spikes on the inside hammered onto her face! This shocking scene still packs a punch, and later on we get to see a stake hammered into an eye [one of several interesting variants has on traditional vampire lore] and Asa revealing that apart from her face and hands she has no skin. Some of the best bits of the film are actually non-violent.  Asa's vampiric lover Igor rising from the grave, as he literally claws his way out of the ground, is one of the best tomb risings I've ever seen, with creepy lighting and loud sound effects-it's still really effective and scared the hell out of me when I first saw it [I was 11 or 12 and saw it on a TV double bill with Lisa And The Devil- a perfect introduction to Bava!].  Another very uncomfortable bit is when Kruvejan is in Asa's crypt and her tomb throbs horribly [though it reminded me of an old washing machine I used to have which, when it was on it's last legs, would shake violently as it reached the end of it's cycle!], from which the disfigured Asa bursts free and, somewhat seductively, beckons him to kiss her.

Despite all this there is much in the film that is quite beautiful,such as Katia's first appearance with her dogs, framed in a ruined doorway, and also a bit where a character looks into a river and Asa seems to materialise under the water, but what we are seeing is really a scene transition and the water fades out to reveal only Asa lying in her tomb. With scenes like this, you can tell Bava had been a painter. Other sequences are more surreal,such as the two main villains stepping out of a fireplace, in fact some of the events in the film are quite random and I have never understood some of the geography, but this kind of thing would be something viewers of Italian horror would have to get used to! In terms of plot Black Sunday probably seemed old hat even in 1960 [though this didn't stop the basic story being reused alot in many other films, at least two of them starring Barbara Steele!] and at times it gets a little repetative with characters coming and going in and out of the castle via secret passageways.  However it's interesting to see the introduction of themes that would later become favourites of Bava's, such as the idea of a family trapped by something that happened in the past. The growing attachment of Kruvejan and Katia gives bits of the film the feel of a dark romance, and isn't Kruvejan's first sighting of Katia a lovely evocation of love at first sight?

Barbara Steele became a horror icon on account of her dual performance and though not the best actress she has an unearthly aura that makes her mesmerizing when she's on screen and perfect in the part. Sadly John Richardson is quite inadequate as the male lead and the rest of the cast is just okay.  The same can be said for Roberto Nicolosi's score, which was actually replaced in the American version-it's adequate but never more except for a rather lovely theme for Katia. Despite Bava's own comments, I personally feel that his true mastepieces were to come and that many of his later films were more interesting.  Filled with vivid imagery that may burn it's way into your subconscious, Black Sunday Still retains much of it's effect though and is definately essential viewing for horror fans.
8/10


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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 25/7/2010 6:49:46 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

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BLOOD AND BLACK LACE [1964]


After a conversation about a drug deal, Isabella, a model at a haute couture fashion salon, is brutally murdered by a masked killer. The police investigation turns up a number of suspects, with seemingly everyone at the salon having sordid secrets, and Inspector Silvestri vows to find the killer. With the discovery that the dead girl kept a diary filled with information about her friend's indiscretions, two victims are claimed. The Inspector arrests all the likely suspects but still more killings occur........


It's generally regarded that Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho gave birth to the slasher movie, but I think this movie, which while not that well known generally,  was fairly successful in it's overseas release, was also a big influence.  Of one thing there is no doubt though, Blood And Black Lace and Mario Bava's earlier The Girl Who Knew Too Much, between them, begat the giallo which would dominate Italian horror and thriller cinema in the 70s and informed much of Dario Argento's career.  This film's original title translates as Six Women And An Assassin which on a basic level sums the film up.  It was heavily cut in the UK, with every killing removed, though amazingly it was intact in the  US. The American distributors of the movie, the Woolners Brothers, were so impressed with it that they asked Bava to come and make films for them in the States.  Bava, who was wary of interference and understandably was tired of the way his films had been meddled with, refused, but I reckon may have regretted it later on when he complained that he was never given the budget for a film which was high enough.

Blood And Black Lace has a really twisty plot in which new details are learnt every couple of minutes, but it does in the end tie together.  The salon setting is brilliantly used in a very ironic fashion. Superficially it represents the height of beauty and culture but things are not as they seem, lurking beneath the surface is a web of corruption.  Bava cleverly gives the salon a look that is both sinister and sensuous. The costumes, the set dressings and so forth are often gorgeous to look at, but one is constantly aware that sordid activity could be taking place behind a wall and a killer could jump out from every artfully decorative corner.  Bava was often interested in Italian fashion of the time but always seemed to have a wry attitude to it, as is very evidenced by this movie.  Interestingly, the killer just wears a mac and a scarf, over which interesting patterns of light and shadow sometimes appear. 

Or course the film really comes into it's own during the murder set pieces.  Each one is dominate by a different colour palete to an almost surreal effect.  The actual killings, by things such as a spiked hammer, drowing and burning on a furnace, actually don't show much at all, the camera cuts away before, the 'money shot', as one might call it.  However we still get the effect of each murder, similar to how Hitchcock makes you think you've seen more violence then you actually have.  There's much emphasis on the victim's pain, which, as they are all women, led many of say the film was misogynist, though they were wrong because the men are all a pretty bad lot.  Even the Inspector is pretty ineffectual.  This leads me to perhaps the film's major flaw, in that quite a few scenes, especially those involving the police, are rather slow and dull.  Characters often say something and then just stand there and it's ages before someone else replies.  This is not just in the English language version.  It doesn't  severely hamper the film, but does cause the tension to all but disappear at times and makes proceedings rather stagy.  Who knows though, maybe it was intentional?

Cameron  Mitchell, a favourite Bava leading man, is a solid lead but apart from Eva Bartok, the girls all seem to be overly doll-like, which leads me to believe that the director intended the film as a sort of black comedy.  This is possibly backed up by Carlo Rusticelli's score, which alternates between very cliched dramatic backing and the repetition of a [rather catchy] lounge type theme.  Boasting the usual Bava array of stunning shots, such as a victim walking down a path surrounded by trees except for a large hole of fog covered sun light in the distance resembling perhaps the 'light' that the poor girl is about to 'go into', Blood And Black Lace spawned many films which would better it, but it's still extremely effective for much of the film, and winds up in a very interesting, unexpected and even moving fashion, with the whole plot engine being basically engineered by two lovers in a tempestuous and destructive relationhip, and the dramatic closure to their story being what the film finishes with and what you'll first think about afterwards.
8/10

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Post #: 32
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 25/7/2010 7:10:20 PM   
HughesRoss


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Some wonderful reviews there Doc,

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Post #: 33
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 26/7/2010 8:16:30 PM   
evil bill


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Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

BLACK SUNDAY [1960]


8/10
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE [1964]



Two excellent reviews,your love for both movie's shines through big time,i''ve got my work cut out for me now.


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Post #: 34
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 27/7/2010 8:25:11 AM   
Dr Lenera

 

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Joined: 19/10/2005
Thankyou mate, but I'm sure your own reviews will be great Bill!

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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 29/7/2010 8:35:27 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
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From: mordor/ uk
BLACK SABBATH  (1963)

A trilogy of three atmospheric Gothic horror stories.The Telephone A woman terrorized in her apartment by phone calls from an escaped prisoner from her past. The Wurdalak a Russian count in the early 1800s who stumbles upon a family in the countryside trying to destroy a particularly vicious line of vampires; stars Boris Karloff as vampire who feeds on the blood of his loved ones.
The Drop of Water  a 1900-era nurse who makes a fateful decision while preparing the corpse of one of her patients - an elderly medium who died during a seance.

I just love this one in so many ways,it's just classic Mario Bava,a visually stylish Gothic horror movie,that inspired a certain Toni Iomi,John Osborne,Bill Ward and Gezzer Bulter to form a rock band by the same name.Boris Karloff acts as a host and appears in one story,which to some may not be the strongest but to me is so much fun,a joy to any Bava fan in my book.There's also an excellent Les Baxter soundtrack,with is high on atmosphere,and helps add to the chills,yet never overpowering.Hard to believe but this had problems with the censors,with it's strong lesbian subtext of one segment and some violence in the rest,seen as to much back then.This horror anthology format got immensely popular in the 70's and especially with the British Amicus company who cornered the market. Some of their films were very good like Tales from the Crypt and Asylum,but yet they should have paid more heed to milestone movies like Black Sabbath which is by far the best.
After a colourful and campy introduction by the great Boris Karloff, we move straight into;
The Telephone,the least satisfying of the bunch is light on suspense but heavy on looks.Michele Mercier as Rosy the bisexual young beauty is absolutely stunning.Although it only takes place in one apartment Bava's crazy color schemes work beautifully with a great use of blue and red.Argento was to copy this more than once,as it adds the the sexually of this movie for sure,and even helps raise the tension..And thanks to the lesbian undertones that give it an extra bit of verve,and the two sexy ladies just burn the screen.It is still an above average tale of horror,also the first Giallo to be done in colour gives it it's place in Italian movie history.8/10
The Wurdulak The most personal story of Mario Bava in this anthology,scores heavy because of it's magnificent visuals and set design .Many of the scenes are bathed in a wonderful blue/green light that adds so much to the overall stunning Gothic atmosphere.Boris Kalfoff gives his best performance in a horror film's since playing the creature in Frankenstein(1931) and Bride of Frankenstein(1933)he's terrifically diabolical and steals the show.Mark Damon, Susy Andersen, and the rest of the cast also do a wonderful job,and i for one think the acting was just top notch.This episode feels like an Edgar Allen Poe story and very suspenseful,plus drenched in Bava's trademark rich atmosphere.It is is very reminiscent of the masterpiece Black Sunday, and gives a good impression of what the film might have looked like had it have been filed in colour.9/10
The Drop of Water is the final, and best episode that actually had more elements to freak me out than the other two,in fact it had a real scare factor.Jacqueline Pierreux is fabulous as the fearful and guilt conscious nurse,again a great preformance in this movie.Mario Bava once again shows why Argento and so many others say he's the most talented horror director ever.A director who was fond of this kind of horror that deals with a person who's totally alone in his or her surroundings,and can pull the viewer into the same terrifying world .Always at his best when he goes into supernatural territory,with spine tingling sequences of horror and atmospheric lighting too push you over the edge.9/10
As you'd expect overall Bava really does a masterful job with all three segments of this anthology,in fact it's another masterpiece. For anyone not familiar with Bava,who would love to see why he is held in such high regard, this would be a good place to start.Loved watching this all over again,and wish i had done it sooner,i might just be on a roll,as i'm now dieing to re-watch a few more,so for overall score 9/10.

< Message edited by evil bill -- 29/7/2010 8:39:16 PM >


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Post #: 36
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 30/7/2010 8:22:15 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
Wow you've certainly done Black Sabbath justice,superb review. I would give it 9/10 too. Probably the greatest anthology horror movie, maybe followed by Dead Of Night, Creepshow and the better Amicus efforts? The Drop Of Water scared the shit out of me first time I saw it many years ago. This thread at least seems to have quite a lot of readers now, so will watch another one in the next few evenings!

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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 2/8/2010 7:27:45 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
KILL BABY KILL 1966

In a small town in Transylvania at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, police detective Kruger calls upon Doctor Paul Eswai to perform an autopsy on a woman who died a violent death, but the unusual thing is that a coin was embedded in her heart. When Dr Eswai arrives in town he discovers that the town is paralyzed by fear of a dreaded curse of a spirit of a young girl who died 20 years earlier and the towns folk aren't all to happy about doctor interfering in their business. Meanwhile, Ruth, who is the local witch and mistress of Burgomaster Karl, tries to protect the daughter of the innkeeper, Nadienne, with magic under the protest of Dr. Eswai. When Karl and Nadienne are murdered, Dr. Eswai, along with Monica, a local nurse, are lured into a fateful confrontation at the Villa Graps.

This film is full of Gothic atmosphere and chills, with air of mystery to keep you glued to this wonderfully twisted nightmare.Boasting superb cinematography, gratuitous use of red and green lighting,spooky sets with dark shadowy pathways, creepy graveyard, a misty town with its eerie ruins and a downright chilling Villa Graps.Also this has a level of violence that must have been quite shocking in 1966, with a throat-slashing, temple-piercing, and even an impalement on an iron fence.Direction and camera-work is outstanding,though there are some hole's in the script,but who care's when your being dragged screaming into a nightmare world of such beauty.Acting wise there's no real stand outs in this department,yet they are all solid enough,but it's Bava's direction that saves this from being just another decent Italain horror.A classic Bava film which influence on so many genre classics will be obvious to us true horror fan's, particularly the resemblance of several sequences to Dario Argento's Suspiria. Even the soundtrack features a number of sighs and musical cues that seem to have been borrowed by Goblin for this chilling score.There's also some truly horrific, yet masterful scenes that have been copied numerous times since, like the constant frightening use of mirrors, a ball bouncing through corridors in slow-motion,the image of the little girl with her faced pressed to the window or the mesmerizing spiral-staircase sequence.Also the deranged evil baroness Vivaldi is clearly a template for Grace Zabriskie in David Lynch's TV series Twin Peaks,which i only lately caught on to.Every time i watch this movie after a long break,i spot another movie that has taken idea's or camera shot's from this classic,it is surprising how powerful this is it being made back in the not so gory 60's.But all down to the skill of the director,the way he set's the mood right from the start,to a truly heart pounding finale,it's visually stunning on so many levels,and pretty surreal big time.A nightmare of a movie that will give you plenty to talk about, after the chills of night have been washed away by the reality of daylight.9/10

< Message edited by evil bill -- 2/8/2010 7:32:15 PM >


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Post #: 38
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 4/8/2010 9:16:15 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
Another 9 from me for this one, and another fine review. As you say, it's inspired so many bits and pieces in other films. We could use more posters here, but like you I'm on a roll enjoying watching and then writing about some of these films again so will review a couple more at least, before the thread disappears once again into the great unknown for a year or so!

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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 5/8/2010 5:19:15 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Another 9 from me for this one, and another fine review. As you say, it's inspired so many bits and pieces in other films. We could use more posters here, but like you I'm on a roll enjoying watching and then writing about some of these films again so will review a couple more at least, before the thread disappears once again into the great unknown for a year or so

I've two box sets of remaster/restored uncut Bava to re watch,which i'm really enjoying,as i seem to be watching them with a more critical mind,yet can find no fault so far.Be great if some others would post but,i think Bava is one of the lost masters to a new generation of horror fans.A good example is a young buck at work that saw Psycho,IE the remake,and knew notting of the Hitchcock original.Sad but true.


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Post #: 40
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 5/8/2010 5:43:04 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
Sounds like you have the same box sets I've had for a couple of years. Since then I've also picked up the odd extra one but all of them R1 except for two, Diabolik and Hatchet For The Honeymoon. I agree with everything you say, I know several people who watch the many recent horror remakes and either know nothing of the originals or reckon the originals would be boring because they're old. I am gobsmacked though, how can anyone not have heard of the original Hitchcock Psycho?

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RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 5/8/2010 7:10:08 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera

Sounds like you have the same box sets I've had for a couple of years. Since then I've also picked up the odd extra one but all of them R1 except for two, Diabolik and Hatchet For The Honeymoon. I agree with everything you say, I know several people who watch the many recent horror remakes and either know nothing of the originals or reckon the originals would be boring because they're old. I am gobsmacked though, how can anyone not have heard of the original Hitchcock Psycho?

It's the same R1 box sets mate,we both got them round about the same time.
As for that dickhead at work,i wasn't the only one left scratching there head,when he was told by a mate it was a Hitchcock movie,he replied" that fat guy with the TV series made a movie??"Jaws dropped,eye's poped,but the dick was serious.
Try and PM about your Empire problems mate.


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Post #: 42
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 6/8/2010 9:19:11 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

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Joined: 19/10/2005
Yeah I will do that, for the time being I will just have to step up my game and make my reviews better to compensate!

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Post #: 43
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 11/8/2010 11:10:56 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
BARON BLOOD [1972]

American student Peter Kliest travels to Austria to find out about his great-grandfather, the infamous Baron Otto Von Kliest, who tortured and murdered over a hundred people before himself being tortured to death. He finds an incantation which if read after midnight can supposedly bring the Baron back to life, and with Eve, a woman who works at the Baronís castle, he goes to the castle and recites it. Realising what they have done, they try to recant the incantation using an alternative spell but a wind blows it into the fireplace. The Baron, who is hideously disfigured, is now loose to torture and kill again. The following day at an auction, a mysterious wheelchair-billionaire called Alfred Becker buys the whole castle and sets about restoring it.........


Baron Blood isnít really one of Mario Bavaís major films, but itís a highly enjoyable one. It was Bavaís biggest international success since Black Sunday and, as had happened after the American release of Blood And Black Lace, he was asked to make films in the States. Again he refused, something that he may have regretted considering the fates of his two next films. Baron Blood is perhaps quite conventional for Bava, something that probably contributed to itís commercial success. It movie shows a director relaxing and kicking back, not trying to be particularly innovative or clever, but just attempting to make an entertaining old-fashioned horror movie. The plot has elements of The Mystery Of The Wax Museum and itís remake House Of Wax, but really the film seems like a recap of Bavaís career since then, with throwbacks and allusions to Black Sunday, Kill Baby Kill and others. It must have seemed a bit outdated for 1972, but then thereís a rather subtle tongue-in-cheek element to the film that is often present.

The film is well paced and has some quite exciting sections, and Bava seems to relish filming on location for a change, making especially good use of the castle. Vincent Fotreís screenplay, as well as being quite derivative, is actually rather lazy at times. Amidst several sloppy plot elements thereís a subplot with a medium that goes nowhere and itís obvious right from the offset that Alfred is also the Baron. Also how on earth does he manage to put his tortured victims where they are, hangin outward from the roof of the castle on spikes? Of course itís best not to ask questions like this in a film of this sort but Baron Blood just contains too many and one feels that Bava, in his attempt to deliver a commercial hit, decided not to impose as much of his personal style as usual, although this did not stop from coming up with a few great sequences here and there that occasionally turn a fairly good movie into something quite marvellous.

Thereís the Baronís ressurection [resurrections being something the director was always good at], where Peter And Eve are in the castle reading the parchment. Wind starts to rattle things and we briefly see the Baron climbing out of his coffin, then the door handle starts to rattle insanely, the wind gets fiercer and fiercer and Ďweí become the Baron, walking towards the door from the outside while only his footsteps are heard. The montage is actually a bit illogical if you think about it but the cumulative effect is quite powerful. Then thereís an extroadinary chase through a maze of foggy streets lit by blue and yellow. Then there are some effective killings, the most gruesome being the Baron trapping a victim in a coffin which is lined with spikes on the inside. Overall the film is not especially graphic though, with some events , such as the climax [which is rather thrown away in my opinion-perhaps Baba was tiring of the film], being alluded to rather then shown in much detail. There are lots of odd and uncanny details throughout that still show his hand, such as a painting where the face has not been painted except for the eyes.

Baron Blood is helped quite a bit by the acting. All Elke Sommer needs to do is look pretty and scream, but Joseph Cotten is really suave and sinister as Alfred [of course in his guise as the Baron he was mostly played by his stuntman Franco Totti], he certainly doesnít give the impression he was maybe slumming it! Thereís another appearance by Nicoletta Elmi, the creepy young girl who also made uncanny appearances in Bay Of Blood and Deep Red. Everyone else is solid and, although dubbing is never really convincing, things are helped by the fact that most of the cast do actually sound Austrian. Stelvio Cipriniís title music is rather too light, but the rest of his score is very atmospheric. Perhaps Baron Blood is overall not an especially good film, but it has just enough things in it of interest to make it worth recommending for undemanding horror fans, even if itís ultimately a bit of a disappointment from Bava.
7/10


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Post #: 44
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 11/8/2010 11:14:49 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005

THE WHIP AND THE BODY [1963]

Debauched aristocrat Kurt Menliff returns to his ancestral home in the hopes of taking over the estate from his ailing father. However, he finds that that his brother, Christian, is now next in line. Christian is now married to Nevenka, with whom Kurt used to have a sado-masochistic relationship. Although initially hostile to the return of her lover, she canít resist her impulses and lets Kurt seduce on the beach. Then someone kills Kurt, but is he really dead............


Insanely romantic, deliciously perverse, psychologically complex and visually ravishing, The Whip And The Body is in my opinion one of Mario Bavaís greatest movies and yet itís still not that well known. This is obviously partly because when it was released in 1963 it received only limited release due to itís depiction of sado-masochism. In Italy the distributors insisted that the credits be altered, so that for instance Mario Bava became ĎJohn M.Oldí. This was so that the film at first would seem to be not an Italian production, though it didnít stop one enraged male viewer from suing Bava and the producers for offending him so much! Elsewhere it was usually heavily cut including in the UK, where, entitled Night Is The Phantom, all references to sado-masochism were removed making the story almost incomprehensible, and the film virtually slipped into obscurity. Itís basically a mixture of ghost story, love story, murder mystery and psychological drama, which is superficially similar to some of the Roger Corman-produced Edgar Allan Poe adaptations such as The Fall Of The House of Usher. One could almost call it a twisted variation on Ghost, if that movie hadnít been made many years later, but to be honest to compare with any other film does it an injustice, as itís almost totally unique.

Itís often said about directors like Bava and Dario Argento that their films are all style and no content. That may often be the case, but I donít think you can say that about The Whip And The Body at all. It has a script by Ernesto Gastaldi, Luciano Mantino and Ugo Guerra which is confident, well balanced, and in the end quite rational. Itís certainly good enough to have worked if filmed by a more run-of-the-mill director. Fortunately though Bava decided to make it his most visually amazing film ever. There are lots of beautifully constructed long shots composed of different colour areas which are just amazing to look at. The primary colours are black, violet and moave, with almost every shot perfectly composed and simply gorgeous to look at, but Kurtís nightly visits to Nevenka are bathed in startling splashes of red, green and blue. There is nothing that could have actually caused this light, but itís certainly not style for styleís sake, itís used to mirror Nevenkaís disturbed state of mind.

Things move at a fairly leisurely pace but never once does the film lose focus. However the film is at itís most brilliant in itís midway section, just after Kurtís death. Nevenka starts to be haunted, and we are treated to a truly masterly build up of tension and horror. As Bavaís incredible lighting schemes go into overdrive, normally harmless things such as mud on the floor and a branch hitting a window like Kurtís whip, create a great feeling of fear. Kurt appears in silhouette, and Nevenka shuts her eyes, but when she opens them a horrible huge gnarled hand reaches out from the dark, in an especially frightening moment. When Kurt finally appears properly to whip Nevenka, Bava of course could not show them actually having sex, so he tries a more expressionistic approach that is incredibly effective. When Kurt goes to kiss her, his face, advancing right towards the camera, is bathed in intense blue, than green, than finally red as it seems to hits the camera and then evaporate. The actual whipping scenes remain very uncomfortable, partly because they are filmed in a certain way as to implicate the viewer. Kurt is a bad man and Nevenka a disturbed woman, yet the film remains non-judgemental on their actions.

All this wouldnít work so well if it wasnít for the two central peformances. Kurt in my opinion is Christopher Leeís second greatest role [Iím sure you can all guess the first!], and heís hypnotic in the role, cruel,scary but incredibly charismatic. Sadly his voice, like everyone in the cast, is dubbed in both the Italian and the English langauge prints, and this is a bit of a shame, as hearing his distinctive voice would have doubled the effectiveness. Watching the film, I kept thinking that it was a shame Lee never played Heathcliff, he would have been perfect. Daliah Lavi as Nevenka is possibly even better, in that itís a harder and braver part. She is heartbreaking as a woman engulfed in a love that may destroy her and frightening as someone on the edge of sanity. Thereís a scene where Kurt whips her, and her expression goes to terror and pain to exceptance to sexual pleasure, and I canít think of many other actresses that could have conveyed that so well. All the other cast members are fine, and the icing on the cake is provided by Carlo Rusticelliís passionately romantic score. After I first saw this I couldnít get the beautiful music out of my head, and it gives the proceedings both an ironic element and the feel of a great love story, which The Whip and The Body ultimately is. Beneath itís darkness, itís fear and itís pain is a really moving story of two people who need each other and donít let a little thing like death stop them.
10/10



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Post #: 45
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 12/8/2010 7:15:33 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: Dr Lenera


BARON BLOOD [1972]
7/10

THE WHIP AND THE BODY
[1963]

10/10



Another two excellent reviews and i totally agree with the reviews and score's,though some may think 10/10 is to high,they don't know how much we love this director do they.


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Post #: 46
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 20/9/2010 2:54:30 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Arrow Video will release A Bay of Blood on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 2nd November.

1st panel artwork:


(in reply to evil bill)
Post #: 47
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 20/9/2010 6:11:40 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Arrow Video will release A Bay of Blood on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 2nd November.

1st panel artwork:



Very impressed by Arrow so far and glad to see them giving Bava's movie's the Blu Ray treatment.


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Post #: 48
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 20/9/2010 9:36:43 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Arrow Video will release A Bay of Blood on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK on 2nd November.

1st panel artwork:




Well I'll be buying this for sure, the DVD I have of this classic has really poor sound. 

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Post #: 49
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 21/9/2010 12:32:31 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Artwork panel 2:


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Post #: 50
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 22/9/2010 1:59:34 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Panel 3:


(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 51
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 23/9/2010 12:28:54 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Panel 4:


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Post #: 52
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 23/9/2010 1:55:53 PM   
TheGodfather


Posts: 5356
Joined: 21/10/2005
From: Sin City
They are really going at it, aren`t they? are all of them gonna be blu-ray releases as well?

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(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 53
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 23/9/2010 2:11:25 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
A Bay of Blood is getting both DVD and Blu-ray releases. Arrow are releasing a few Italian horror classics over the next couple of months, but some aren't making it to Blu-ray due to lack of proper materials.

(in reply to TheGodfather)
Post #: 54
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 24/9/2010 4:25:02 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
The artwork for Panel 3 has been replaced with this:


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Post #: 55
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 24/9/2010 7:03:59 PM   
Dr Lenera

 

Posts: 3980
Joined: 19/10/2005
Ah , that's the old UK video cover, the film was actually banned for a while. Cool!

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Post #: 56
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 27/9/2010 2:35:17 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
The artwork for Panel 4 has now been replaced with this:


(in reply to Dr Lenera)
Post #: 57
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 30/9/2010 6:51:23 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Here is some information on the DVD/Blu-ray extras:

quote:

ARGENTO! BAVA! FULCI! THE GIALLO GEMS OF DARDANO SACCHETTI - In this extensive profile, screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti (Zombie Flesh-Eaters, The Beyond, The New York Ripper) looks back at the genesis of his career - working with Italy's three most esteemed horror film creators and penning Bay of Blood for Mario Bava, Cat o Nine Tails for Dario Argento and The Psychic for Lucio Fulci. Running time 31.48

BAY OF BAVA: SHOOTING A SPAGHETTI SPLATTER CLASSIC - In this featurette Mario Bava's assistant cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia (whose esteemed career as a cinematographer also includes A Blade in the Dark, Demons, Phenomena and filming the underwater room sequence in Inferno!) shares his memories of lensing Bay of Blood and the career of Mario Bava. Running time: 20.23

BAVA IN THE GRINDHOUSE: JOE DANTE REMEMBERS TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE - The director behind such classics as The Howling, Gremlins and The 'burbs casts his mind back to discovering Mario Bava's work during its run in America's "grindhouse" cinemas - wherein Bay of Blood was retitled Twitch of the Death Nerve for added lurid appeal! Running time: 12 mins

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 58
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 26/10/2010 12:27:20 PM   
paul.mccluskey


Posts: 5159
Joined: 15/4/2007
From: Port Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Finally, we have official details on A Bay of Blood, which is due to be released on 22nd October!

Enjoy:

Blu-ray:

THIS AMAZING EDITION CONTAINS:

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work

- Double-sided fold-out poster

- Collectorís Booklet by Jay Slater, critic and author of Eaten Alive!

- Brand new high definition transfer of the English version of the film (1080p)

- Italian cut of the film

- Original Mono Audio

- Twitch of the Death Nerve Radio Spots

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Argento! Bava! Fulci! The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sacchetti (1080p)

- Joe Dante on Mario Bava (1080p)

- Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic: Cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia on A Bay of Blood (1080p)

- Audio discussion with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

- A Bay of Blood Trailers: ĎCarnageí and ĎTwitch of the Death Nerveí with commentary by Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead


DVD:

THIS AMAZING EDITION CONTAINS:

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work

- Double-sided fold-out poster

- Collectorís Booklet by Jay Slater, critic and author of Eaten Alive!

DISC 1 CONTAINS:

- Brand new transfer of the English version

- Original Mono Audio

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Joe Dante on Mario Bava

- Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic: Cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia on A Bay of Blood

- Audio discussion with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

- A Bay of Blood Trailers: ĎCarnageí and ĎTwitch of the Death Nerveí with commentary by Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead

- Twitch of the Death Nerve Radio Spots

DISC 2 CONTAINS:

- Italian Cut

- Original Mono Audio

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Argento! Bava! Fulci! The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sacchetti

(in reply to paul.mccluskey)
Post #: 59
RE: Mario Bava - Master Of Italian Horror - 26/10/2010 7:25:54 PM   
evil bill


Posts: 6721
Joined: 19/7/2006
From: mordor/ uk
quote:

ORIGINAL: paul.mccluskey

Finally, we have official details on A Bay of Blood, which is due to be released on 22nd October!

Enjoy:

Blu-ray:

THIS AMAZING EDITION CONTAINS:

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work

- Double-sided fold-out poster

- Collector's Booklet by Jay Slater, critic and author of Eaten Alive!

- Brand new high definition transfer of the English version of the film (1080p)

- Italian cut of the film

- Original Mono Audio

- Twitch of the Death Nerve Radio Spots

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Argento! Bava! Fulci! The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sacchetti (1080p)

- Joe Dante on Mario Bava (1080p)

- Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic: Cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia on A Bay of Blood (1080p)

- Audio discussion with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

- A Bay of Blood Trailers: 'Carnage' and 'Twitch of the Death Nerve' with commentary by Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead


DVD:

THIS AMAZING EDITION CONTAINS:

- Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned art work

- Double-sided fold-out poster

- Collector's Booklet by Jay Slater, critic and author of Eaten Alive!

DISC 1 CONTAINS:

- Brand new transfer of the English version

- Original Mono Audio

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Joe Dante on Mario Bava

- Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic: Cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia on A Bay of Blood

- Audio discussion with Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark

- A Bay of Blood Trailers: 'Carnage' and 'Twitch of the Death Nerve' with commentary by Edgar Wright, director of Shaun of the Dead

- Twitch of the Death Nerve Radio Spots

DISC 2 CONTAINS:

- Italian Cut

- Original Mono Audio

SPECIAL FEATURES:

- Argento! Bava! Fulci! The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sacchetti

Looking AWESOME !!!!


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Post #: 60
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