Author Topic: Mario Bava marathon  (Read 36040 times)

Offline Jimmy

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Mario Bava marathon
« on: June 13, 2009, 07:58:43 PM »
Mario Bava Marathon

WeekTitleYearJimmyAchimJon
14/06 - 20/06Black Sunday1960
14/06 - 20/06Black Sabbath1963
21/06 - 27/06The Girl Who Knew too Much1963
21/06 - 27/06Kill, Baby...Kill!1966
28/06 - 04/07Knives of the Avenger1966
28/06 - 04/075 Dolls for an August Moon1970
05/07 - 11/07Roy Colt & Winchester Jack1970
05/07 - 11/07Bay of Blood1971
12/07 - 18/07Four Times That Night1972
12/07 - 18/07Baron Blood1972
19/07 - 25/07Lisa and the Devil1973
19/07 - 25/07The House of Exorcism1973
:thumbdown:
26/07 - 01/08Kidnapped1974

Any members that own any of these are welcome to enter in the marathon as well ;D
Just post your reviews and I will edit this first post.
« Last Edit: July 29, 2009, 11:14:43 PM by Jimmy »

Offline Jimmy

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First Week (june 14 to june 20)
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2009, 08:00:47 PM »
This week movies

Offline Achim

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2009, 02:41:28 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title: La maschera del demonio
Year: 1960
Director: Mario Bava
Rating: NR
Length: 87 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.66:1
Audio: English: Dolby Digital Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles:

Stars:
Barbara Steele [Barbara Steel]
John Richardson
Andrea Checchi
Ivo Garrani
Arturo Dominici

Plot:
'Mario Bava's' 1960 directorial debut stands alone as one of the most influential and startling chillers of all time. British actress 'Barbara Steele' became an international icon in this über-gothic fever dream pulsing with stunning cinematography and landmark special effects - both by 'Bava' himself - in which the conventional trappings of the horror genre were indelibly impaled upon perverse sexuality and graphic sadism. It remains, quite simply, a masterpiece of the macabre that changed the face of cinema forever.

This presentation of 'Bava's' uncut and uncensored International Version entitled THE MASK OF SATAN features the original Italian score and English dubbing.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Trailers
Gallery
Production Notes

My Thoughts:

The story is a revenge story we have seen in other films before and most certainly after. The witch Asa is burnt on the stake, well, they try only as it starts to rain, and then placed in a tomb with a seal. The seal is broken 200 years later, by events guided by evil and Asa's spirit is now out for revenge. Her target is to eliminate every last descendant of the family who killed her (her own, actually) and eventually take over the body of the young and beautiful daughter Katja. Will the young doctor who saw Katja and instantly felll in love with her be able to save her...?
(click to show/hide)

With obviously a lot of inspiration coming from the Hammer films of the time most parts of this film still hold up very well today. Especially the first half contains lots of eerie cinematography, squeaky doors and shadows that could contain the unspeakable terror. Occasionally a set up goes to waste and could have been exploited more (the girl in the barn) but mostly the stuff works rather well. Unfortunately the films becomes a bit undone in the second half. The acting gets sloppy and is all over the place (good moments followed by terrible overacting); the dubbing might heighten the effect in places. The gore effects are reasonably well done and I am sure were shocking at the time (the film is almost 50 years old!!!).

« Last Edit: June 15, 2009, 06:46:33 PM by Achim »

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2009, 05:45:22 PM »
Rating :whistle:

Offline Achim

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2009, 06:46:51 PM »

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2009, 06:04:44 AM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:


Title: Black Sunday (1960)

Genre: Horror
Director: Mario Bava
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h27
Video: Widescreen
Audio: English
Subtitles: None

Stars:
Barbara Steele
John Richardson
Andrea Checchi
Ivo Garrani
Arturo Dominici

Plot:
'Mario Bava's' 1960 directorial debut stands alone as one of the most influential and startling chillers of all time. British actress 'Barbara Steele' became an international icon in this über-gothic fever dream pulsing with stunning cinematography and landmark special effects - both by 'Bava' himself - in which the conventional trappings of the horror genre were indelibly impaled upon perverse sexuality and graphic sadism. It remains, quite simply, a masterpiece of the macabre that changed the face of cinema forever.

My Thoughts:
First thing that I must say is that I ain't the biggest fan of the British horror movies and this film feels a lot like one. But contrary to most of the British horror movies made during this period something happen on the screen, we aren't forced to watch endless dialogue scenes. I can't say that this is the most original movie ever made, but the movie is enjoyable and doesn't feel long. Evidently it's hard to comment on the acting since the movie is dub (not greatly, but I've heard much worst), but one thing I can say is that Barbara Steele has a great screen presence (the camera love her) and this isn't a surprise if this movie had made her a star. The set designing is really well done and the black and white cinematography is astonishing (not a surprise since Mario Bava had started his career as a cinematographer. Some of the shots are really beautifull, one exemple is the short slow sequence when the carriage come to pick the Dr. Kruvajan at the inn (by the way it looks like the most boring place on earth with this trumpet music). The special effects are particullary good for a 40 years old movie.

Rating :

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2009, 07:18:50 AM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:


Title: Black Sabbath (1963)

Genre: Horror
Director: Mario Bava
Rating: Unrated
Length: 1h32
Video: Widescreen
Audio: Italian
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Boris Karloff
Michele Mercier
Mark Damon
Lydia Alfonsi
Susy Andersen

Plot:
'Boris Karloff' is your host for Bava's 1963 classic triptych of terror in which The Maestro again set new standards in the deviant sexuality, graphic violence and spellbinding horror. 'Michèle Mercier' stars in THE TELEPHONE, a tale of lesbian obsession and murder. In THE WURDALAK, 'Karloff' stars with 'Mark Damon' as the patriarch of a family of bloodthirsty ghouls. And in THE DROP OF WATER, 'Jacqueline Pierreux' is a nurse stalked by the vengefuls spirit of a dead medium.

My Thoughts:
It's a nice anthology, but like most of them the stories are uneven. The best one is the middle one (The Wurdalak) that is the only one really frightening. This is a different kind of vampire story (even if I'm not certain if a Wurdalak is a vampire or a living dead) where the vampire only attack the peoples who had liked him. This is certainly more frightening to be kill by a love one than a perfect stranger. The first story isn't that good or original since it's a complicated revenge story (or not ;)), but watching Michèle Mercier in a nightgown for 30 minutes is enough for me ;D. To be honest this is the third time that I watched this film and this story looks better each time (the ambience is fascinating in all its little details). I don't really care for the last one that is really short and boring, but one thing I've learned from it is to not anger a butt ugly dead woman :laugh:

Something that I've remarked for the first time tonight is the fact that none of the story had a real closure. At the end you can continue the story in your head.

Rating :

Offline Achim

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2009, 04:03:30 PM »
MOVIE / DVD INFO:

Title: I tre volti della paura
Year: 1963
Director: Mario Bava
Rating: NR
Length: 92 Min.
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.77:1
Audio: Italian: Dolby Digital Mono, Commentary: Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English

Stars:
Michele Mercier
Lydia Alfonsi
Boris Karloff
Mark Damon
Susy Andersen

Plot:
'Boris Karloff' is your host for Bava's 1963 classic triptych of terror in which The Maestro again set new standards in the deviant sexuality, graphic violence and spellbinding horror. 'Michèle Mercier' stars in THE TELEPHONE, a tale of lesbian obsession and murder. In THE WURDALAK, 'Karloff' stars with 'Mark Damon' as the patriarch of a family of bloodthirsty ghouls. And in THE DROP OF WATER, 'Jacqueline Pierreux' is a nurse stalked by the vengefuls spirit of a dead medium.

This presentation of Bava's original uncut International Version entitled I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURI/THE THREE FACES OF FEAR features the original score and Italian language track.

Extras:
Scene Access
Audio Commentary
Trailers
Gallery
Production Notes
Interviews
Radio spot

My Thoughts:

We have all seen our share of horror anthologies and know what to expect. And while this one predates the once we have seen by many years it delivers just the same. Short stories with some sort of twist(ed) ending; therefore I can't really talk about the stories here. The three films get bookended by short segments with Boris Karloff, with one at the end finishing off hilariously.
(click to show/hide)

It starts out with The Telephone which more of a thriller, where a young lady gets terrorized through the phone, threatened to get killed before the night is over. The caller apparently is watching her every move already... Bava keeps us ahead of the protagonist most of the time which unfortunately takes away some surprises a little too soon. The story develops nicely though as it always only reveals the currently necessary information.

The Wurdulak is an interesting variation of the vampire theme, where the undead bloodsuckers are not out to kill for food but only to kill the ones they loved the most when they were alive. The romance, as often in these old films, is of the I-only-know-you-two-hours-but-want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-you kind, which usually results in lots of ::) at my end. Boris Karloff plays the the father of the family who got turned into a wurdulak (the vampire) and is now out to get them. Thanks to Bava this plays out in slightly unexpected ways.

The Drop of Water is about a woman who goes to people's houses to dress up the corpses of the recently deceased. On a stormy knight she gets called to the home of a lady where the housekeeper asks her to do her job. After she steals the dead lady's ring things start to become strange around her... I found this one to be (considering its age) solidly creepy with a worthy ending.

Black Sabbath is not as good as Bava's previous effort Black Sunday, it is still a strong film though. Short films like these usually fall a bit short in the character development but Bava makes the best of the little time each segemtn is given. Certainly no masterpieces but well worth time of anyone's interested in horror (anthologies).


Offline Achim

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2009, 04:07:29 PM »
I also used the complete review-header, so it will look more complete if ever displayed on the front page.

This is a different kind of vampire story (even if I'm not certain if a Wurdalak is a vampire or a living dead)
Vampires are often described as undead and the wurdalaks are clearly vampires.


Jon, are you going to join us?

[creepy voice]
Jooooooin uuuuuus.
[/creepy voice]

Najemikon

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2009, 08:24:44 PM »
I also used the complete review-header, so it will look more complete if ever displayed on the front page.

This is a different kind of vampire story (even if I'm not certain if a Wurdalak is a vampire or a living dead)
Vampires are often described as undead and the wurdalaks are clearly vampires.


Jon, are you going to join us?

[creepy voice]
Jooooooin uuuuuus.
[/creepy voice]
[evil whisper]Already here. I've been watching you.[/evil whisper]  :devil:

Bit behind with me reviews. Number 1 about to appear... :bag:

Najemikon

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Black Sunday ***
« Reply #10 on: June 21, 2009, 08:27:43 PM »
Black Sunday (1960)
3 out of 5




1960 was a heck of a year for horror. Hitchcock freaked audiences with Psycho, Michael Powell destroyed his own career pushing a little too far with Peeping Tom, and Mario Bava releases a good solid chiller debut in Black Sunday, but more importantly hints at treats to come.

The opening was brilliant. Hammering a mask onto Barbara Steel’s face? Awesome! And a nice script conceit means her dual role makes sure we get a scarred witch and her gorgeous younger self too. :cool:

Bit of a shame that from then on it felt a bit Hammer-lite and not making a huge amount of sense.
(click to show/hide)
The dubbing was awful and put too much pressure on the acting, which I’m sure was better than it looked. Although I wasn’t remotely convinced by the Prince who’s efforts to look like a threatening zombie were farcical.

I’m the hardest fan though. Hammer films were always getting repeated on TV when I was a kid and I grew to love them. Black and white, dubbed from Italian, would be a struggle even in 1960 as UK audiences had already seen the colourful and wonderfully theatrical Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula. This therefore felt like it needed the colour that, ironically, Giallo would become known for.

Still, the photography and Gothic sets were gorgeous and evocative. Bava’s is a subtle talent I’m looking forward to seeing more of. As Achim said, the coach sequence was marvellous; slow-motion is hard to get right and can be overdone, but this reminded me of none higher than Akira Kurosawa in Seven Samurai.

It’s the understatement that works for me, so the all too brief gory bits are effective and memorable because they just happen. But I wish it was a little more explicit, like the start promised. Otherwise it feels a little behind the curve, even discounting Hammer, fans of this film should see 1943’s The Bodysnatcher from Val Lewton. Review here... ;)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 09:01:35 PM by Jon »

Najemikon

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Black Sabbath ****
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2009, 08:51:19 PM »
Black Sabbath (1963)
4 out of 5




This is more like it! Bava’s portmanteau is colourful, playful, and genuinely scary in places while being of a very high quality. It’s great when directors capable of doing “proper” films, pour their talent into genre pictures instead.

Anyway, onto the three stories, I think The Telephone was decent, but more an exercise in great set design and colour than anything else. Maybe I wasn’t concentrating though as I did seem to spend too much time staring at Michelle Mercier’s heaving bosom.

Wurdalak was an improvement and I wish Black Sunday could have been more like this, but it helps to have Boris Karloff, who is one of the best horror actors ever. Empire once did a feature suggesting actors who are “27%ers”; those who improve a films quality by roughly a third just by turning up. He’s one of them. Shame he’s in bloody Italian even for the introduction, because he has a fantastic voice. Sodding Anchor Bay. 

I’m not giving Bava enough credit though because he seems to relish having a paintbox to play with. The colours are extravagant, but beautiful. The moment where Mark Damon is riding through the snow was a highlight in particular. Overall it’s a great old fashioned story, with some surprising jump moments.

Drops of Water is possibly my favourite. Nice little morality tale and very creepy, with a fantastic ending. The wide open sets and, again, the colour are very effective, reminding me of the style of my first foray into Giallo, Suspiria.

We return briefly to Karloff to close out the stories and it’s a great way of summing up a fun presentation of three decent stories. Very enjoyable.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 09:01:20 PM by Jon »

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2009, 09:29:09 PM »
Shame he’s in bloody Italian even for the introduction, because he has a fantastic voice. Sodding Anchor Bay.
This isn't their fault. All the movies were licenced through Alfredo Leone who own the international right to most of the Bava's movies. The American english version theatrically distributed by American International Picture (AIP) seem to be lost, but to be honest except for the real voice of Boris Karloff this is for the best. The first story is change entirely by removing the lesbian relationship allusion and the violence is turn down (like it was violent originally ::)
Drops of Water is possibly my favourite.
The Drop of Water ... I found this one to be (considering its age) solidly creepy with a worthy ending.
Looks like I'm the only one who don't like the last story :laugh:

Offline Jimmy

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2009, 09:31:55 PM »
Next movies for this week
The Girl Who Knew too Much (1963)
Kill, Baby...Kill! (1966)   

Najemikon

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Re: Mario Bava marathon
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2009, 12:30:54 AM »
Shame he’s in bloody Italian even for the introduction, because he has a fantastic voice. Sodding Anchor Bay.
This isn't their fault. All the movies were licenced through Alfredo Leone who own the international right to most of the Bava's movies. The American english version theatrically distributed by American International Picture (AIP) seem to be lost, but to be honest except for the real voice of Boris Karloff this is for the best. The first story is change entirely by removing the lesbian relationship allusion and the violence is turn down (like it was violent originally ::))

But I still got that they had a lesbian history, but then I don't need to see much to start thinking about lesbians. :laugh:

The reason I automatically blamed Anchor Bay is that I listened to a few seconds of the commentary track while Karloff was doing the introduction, and I'm sure I could hear him speaking English in the background. If so, that means they had the track while they recorded the commentary... but still, I may have misheard and it may be very complicated with the rights anyway.