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.”