Archive for the ‘DVD Reviews’ Category

Double Face (1969)

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Back to Riccardo Freda and a look at one of his lesser known films, Liz and Helen (1969) which is rather oddly an Edgar Wallace inspired thriller aimed at the German market starring Klaus Kinski. Very enjoyable with a good storyline and plentiful nudity, the film is sadly only available uncut on DVD via a rather distracting composite print.

Bava’s twisted Gialli trilogy

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Although Bava is credited with creating the Giallo with ‘Blood and Black Lace’, he never made another straight genre entry. Instead, the closest he came was with this trilogy of films from the early 1970s.

Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970) is certainly the most conventional of the three but still has a very strange atmosphere, sees most of the killings take place off screen and seems to reveal the killer part way through… or not.

A Bay of Blood (1971) has a very mixed up plot for a Giallo (although it does at least all resolve) but is most interesting for its twenty minute slasher movie sequence – made almost a decade before the slasher movie boom.

Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970) is certainly the best of the trilogy and one of Bava’s very best. A psycho killer take on the genre, the main character is hunting the killer of his mother, a killer whose identity is blurred in his mind and revealed piece by piece when he kills…

Macabre (1980) Lamberton Bava

Monday, October 3rd, 2011

Lamberto Bava makes his directoral debut with this strange and slow paced thriller – Macabre

Bava invents the Giallo in Sei donne per l’assassino

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Bava made a few tentative steps in La ragazza che sapeva troppo, but here he really kicks off the Giallo genre in Blood and Black Lace which contains everything from the black gloved killer to the cast of attractive women but most importantly the genre’s focus on the gory details of the killings themselves.

La ragazza che sapeva troppo (1963)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

The first steps towards the Giallo came for Bava with this erudite mystery thriller La ragazza che sapeva troppo

Four Times that Night (1972)

Monday, September 19th, 2011

Bava’s forgotten entry to the sex comedy genre is a Rashamon inspired four-parter telling multiple stories of a couple’s first date. Unfortunately the good idea is rather poorly executed and the film remains a curio rather than particularly recommended.

Read our Four Times that Night review.

Bava serves up a plate of Spaghetti…

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Lets get right back where we left off. The Bavas and Freda might be best loved for their horror work, but all have worked in other genres and I am going to take a look at a number of other projects on which they worked.

First up is a double bill of Spaghetti Westerns. The Road to Fort Alamo (1964) is a very early genre entry, made around the same time that Sergio Leone was cooking up the first of his iconic Dollars films. Unlike his contemporary, Bava did not try to re-invent the genre but was instead happy to make a solid if rather uninspired mime of the American films. The later Ringo del Nebraska (1966) shows a similar lack of Italian influence and is almost unrecognisable as a Bava film but does make for a solid Western story.

Introducing Riccardo Freda

Monday, April 18th, 2011

And so to the third member of our Italian horror trio, Riccardo Freda. He is best known today for being the man who encouraged Bava into directing but his own contributions to the world of Itlaian cinema should not be forgotten.

I Vampiri was the first serious Italian horror film, amazingly the country that provided so many memorable horror films in the 60s, 70s and 80s had no heritage of horror at all and when Freda suggested making a horror story the producers baulked at the idea. So he made a bet that he could complete the film in two weeks, the producers agreed but the production took a lot longer than he expected and with only half of the film shot, he walked off the set leaving Mario Bava with two days to complete the project. Presumably burning the midnight oil, Bava concocted a new storyline that would utilise the existing footage with a minimum of new shooting and duly delivered the film on time. Amazingly the end result is not the mess it should have been and although not the most original, it is a very effective horror story and well worth watching, available on a good looking print from Image in the US.

Lo Spettro is an often overlooked period horror film. Although Freda did not use the gorgeous gothic horror stylings for which Bava would become famous, he makes this film incredibly effective despite a script that by all rights should drag horrriby, with lengthy dialogue and melodrama sequences. Unfortunately the Retromedia DVD has a watchable but poor quality print and the film could certainly gain from an upgrade.

Demoni

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

More Bava, this time the best known horror films from Mario’s son Lamberto Bava. The Demons films were produced by Dario Argento and clearly show more influence from the new master of the giallo than from Bava’s father. Unfortunately gorgeous visual effects do not make a good film on their own and both films lumber under rather poorly written scripts.

Part two of the Bava, Bava, Freda season – Demons and Demons 2

I tre volti della paura – Black Sabbath (1963)

Monday, April 11th, 2011


Let’s kick off straight away with a look at one of Bava’s best known horror films – Black Sabbath. An anthology film that featured an excellent gothic horror chapter with the ever reliable Boris Karloff, as well as a fascinating proto-giallo story and an superb final chapter. The Italian version is available on a very good looking ABUS disc, sadly the American edited print does not seem to be available at present.

I have also been working hard on updating my existing Bava reviews, rewatching and re-reviewing the films. Check out all new reviews of Bava’s debut film Black Sunday and his fascinating Whip and the Body. The new Mario Bava bio is also on the way for later in the season.