Archive for April, 2011

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.


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.

Bava, Bava & Freda

Monday, April 11th, 2011

It is finally time for the first major season of reviews for 2011. As the title suggests, it is an all new look at the films of Mario Bava, alongside a new study on the films of his son Lamberto Bava and his mentor Riccardo Freda.

A whole load of new reviews, plus new biographies of all three are coming over the next month.

Click on the Bava, Bava & Freda season tag below to see all the reviews so far uploaded in this series.

Blog update

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Thought I would finally get around to updating this rather ageing blog. An all new theme and support for tags should make it a lot easier to find things.

Real actual review updates coming soon…