Lisa and Mario Bava

October 27th, 2011

And so we are coming to the end of the Bava, Bava and Freda season. I look today at a film that could probably be considered Bava’s best, his very personal project – Lisa and the Devil. Unfortunately in an era of exploitation this beautifully dreamlike film did not stand a chance and so producer Alfredo Leone added in an Exorcist rip-off subplot and re-edited the film to create the rather less than impressive House of Exorcism.

I have also finally completed work on the 4,300 word Mario Bava biography with links to all the reviews and loads of information about the director.

Just one more bio and two more film reviews to go…

Riccardo Freda & Tragic Ceremony

October 26th, 2011

And so the last entry for Riccardo Freda in this season of films. Tragic Ceremony is an admirable attempt to make a gothic horror film targetted at the youth market, something that few Italian horror films managed to do. However all the gore and hand-held camera work cannot disguise a horribly drawn out plot and tired pacing.

I have also taken to the time to write up an all new biography of Riccardo Freda.

Operazione paura

October 24th, 2011

And so finally back to horror for the final week of the Bava, Bava and Freda season. Although saddled with horrible titles in the US and Italy, this was probably Bava’s best gothic horror work and had some of the most gorgeous photography of all his films, aided by a good script and some fine acting. A must see for fans of Bava and gothic horror films in general, but think of it under its much better British release title – Curse of the Dead

Roy Colt e Winchester Jack (1971)

October 19th, 2011

The end of the Bava, Bava & Freda non-horror works is Bava’s third and final Western Roy Colt e Winchester Jack

Riccardo Freda adventures

October 17th, 2011

A pair of Euro-adventure films from Riccardo Freda. The first and most interesting is Genoveffa di Brabante (1964), a medieval adventure film based on a classic tale – an incredibly obscure film that might never have been shown outside of Italy, it boasts a few good fighting scenes but a very tiresome second half. An interesting curio and the MYA DVD certainly looks good, even though the English subs are a little ropey.

Rather more conventional is White Warrior (1959) which would be an unremarkable Peplum, except that instead of rebels fighting Rome, Steve Reeves is fighting the Tsar’s forces in 19th Century Russia.

Double Face (1969)

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

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

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

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)

September 26th, 2011

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