Like any passage of time, there are bound to be good memories and bad ones. I would like to think that focusing on the good is the best thing to do, or for the bad ones, try and learn from it and take something positive from it. For example, all the great talent we lost in the last year, be thankful that we still can revisit them any time want by just popping in that DVD or Blu-ray.
After years of trying to get a screening of Mariano Baino’s Dark Waters in Chicago, it finally happened when it was part of the Music Box of Horrors. It had a good reception and writer/director Baino was there to experience the film’s very first screening in the Midwest! Thanks again to Will Morris getting it included in the lineup and Ryan at the Music Box for making it happen. And of course to Mariano and the wonderful Coralina for coming out, making this event even more special. It really was a highlight of my year.
Many, many years ago, while set up at a little movie memorabilia show in Rosemont, Il, a young lady came strolling by our table. For some reason, she looked a bit familiar, but we just couldn’t place her. As it turns out, it was none other than Coralina Cataldi-Tassoni, an actress who had appeared in a few Italian films like Demons 2 (1986) and Opera (1987). How and why would she be just wandering around this show, here in the states?!?! Turns out that she had been living in Chicago for a while and was dragged to the show by a friend. We started talking and became friends over the next couple of decades. We introduced her to Ken Kish, who quickly had her appear at his Cinema Wasteland show in 2001. In fact, he even had her back once again in 2008. At that show, because of Coralina, I had the glorious opportunity to meet the talented director Mariano Baino, director of Dark Waters (1993), a film that I have always loved and admired, for its look, atmosphere, and originality.
Fast forward to 2016, at the annual Music Box of Horrors, while I was chatting with Will Morris, the genius who has been programming the marathon the last couple of years. I asked him if he knew of the film Dark Waters and immediately his eyes lit up and said, “I love that movie!” I then told him that I knew the director, Mariano, and I’m sure he’d love to come out here if they would screen his film. And now, as they say, the rest is now history. Well, there was a lot more to that, but let’s just say that thanks to Will, Ryan at the Music Box, and of course the fine folks at Severin Films, it all came together for this year’s Music Box of Horrors.
Our little trivia contest is over and Mother Superior has given us the 4 names from the people that sent in the correct answers. The correct answers were:
- This film is one of three versions that has hit the theaters. – The Cat and the Canary (1927)
- The film features members of The Order of the Gash. – Hellraiser (1987)
- One directors that has a film in the lineup, one of his earlier movies featured a title that would make Leatherface proud. What is the movie title? William Girdler’s Three on a Meathook (1972).
So thank you to everyone who did send in their guesses, most of which were correct. But there can only be the 4, so here they are:
This Saturday, the Music Box of Horrors returns, with a slew of devilish pleasures for the die-hard horror fans! They have a dozen titles on deck to give 24-hours of terror, with all but one of the features being screened from either 16mm or 35mm. The only one in a digital format is the first Midwest screening ever of Mariano Baino’s 1993 film Dark Waters, with the director appearing for a Q&A and signing (for FREE)! This is indeed a rare screening to get to see an incredibly atmospheric movie with some strange nuns hiding a terrible evil. Add in some amazing horror vendors, food trucks, and so much more fun, how could you want to pass this up!
With only a month to go, the Music Box Theater announced on their website more titles for their upcoming 24-hour marathon, known as the Music Box of Horrors, as well as a special guest announcement.
Dark Waters (1993)
Directed by Mariano Baino
Starring Louise Salter, Venera Simmons, Mariya Kapnist, Lubov Snegur, Albina Skarga, Pavel Kokolov
On the audio commentary for Dark Waters, director Baino mentions something that Alfred Hitchcock had said about how the invention of sound would destroy cinema. I am paraphrasing this, but his point was that after movies had sound, more time will be spent listening to the story than watching what is happening on screen. One could listen to a film and pretty much get the idea of what is going on, instead of letting the visuals tell the story, which I think is especially true with today’s features. Well, Dark Waters is a perfect example of the opposite of that theory. In fact, when it starts, there is almost 18 minutes before any real dialogue is heard. And in that short time, unforgettable images appear on screen, such as shots of nuns with large crosses on a hill, or more nuns in a darkened field at night with burning crosses, we see the murder of a young girl, with her blood flowing into the water that is leaking through the catacombs in the convent, to even something simple like an old woman on a bus playing with a couple of spiders. Thse are just but a few visual to start off the film. But it continues through the rest of the running time. If modern day Hollywood made their films look half as good and striking as this one, the cinematic world would be a much better place.
The beauty of the horror genre is that it is a never-ending sea of titles that come in and out with the tide, that there are often movies that get swept away so quickly that fans either forget about them, or never hear about them to begin with. Mariano Baino’s 1993 film Dark Waters is one of those films. Not to be confused with the Japanese one from 2002 that was later remade here in the states, but Baino’s film is a highly original tale about dark things going on in a strange convent on a remote island in Europe. It was released in an amazing DVD box set by No Shame back in 2006, but hadn’t hit Blu-ray until now, thanks to Severin Films, which has been given a HD transfer from the original 35mm negative and features over 4 hours of special features.
This was another interview that was conducted at the Cinema Wasteland show back in October of 2008. Such a great show that was. We had the chance to sit down with this highly underrated and talented writer/director, Mariano Baino.
Kitley’s Krypt: You’ve often stated that H.P. Lovecraft was a big influence on you as a child. Who were the biggest cinematic influences on you in your youth?
Mariano Baino: I grew up watching the Italian stuff, of course, watching Dario Argento and Lamberto Bava’s films. But the reality of it was I watched a lot of American films. People are always surprised when I say that Steven Spielberg always remains one of my favorites. I grew up watching American films. Certain sensibilities and certain influences are very European. But at the same time, for example, it’s only afterwards watching some of my stuff that I think there’s as much Hammer influence in there as there would be Italian films of the 70s. When I watched some of the stuff from Dark Waters, I think, “God, this is like a Hammer film.”