Some time ago, we posted about a Mario Bava Film Festival that was being held in New York, and that since we’re in the Chicago area, it was just too far to even think of making it to it. But now Chicago fans don’t need to worry since those Bava titles are coming to the Gene Siskel Film Center, starting next weekend, on August 4th! If you have never had the chance to witness the wonder of Mario Bava on the big screen, I couldn’t recommend it enough, especially titles like Blood and Black Lace or Black Sabbath. The colors alone on these two will just blow your mind. But even the beautiful black and white cinematography in Bava’s directorial debut, Black Sunday, is just stunning to see. Seriously, if you are a fan of horror films, Italian horror, or cinema in general, do yourself a favor and make it out to some of these (if not all of them!).
If you are even remotely close to the Manhattan area in NY this month, then you need to make sure you check out some, if not all of these Mario Bava films that are screening all month long in a tribute to this Italian cinematic master. Starting July 14th, the Quad Cinema will be screening more than two dozen of Bava’s titles, such as A Bay of Blood, 5 Dolls for an August Moon, Baron Blood, Black Sabbath, Black Sunday, Blood and Black Lace, Danger: Diabolik, Evil Eye, Lisa and the Devil, Kill, Baby…Kill!, Planet of the Vampires and more.
Black Sunday (1960)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici, Enrico Olivieri, Antonia Pierfederici, Tino Bianchi
Once you start to wander down the path of Italian horror cinema, there is one director that is a must for you to seek out. While I know quite a few fans start out with Dario Argento, which is a great place to start, but you mustn’t stop there, but go further back. Back to 1960 when the film Black Sunday was released. There are many titles that are considered ‘classics’, but director Mario Bava’s tale of witchcraft, Satanism, and revenge, is one of the best examples of black and white horror cinema, or really horror cinema in general.
Every single horror fan out there probably knows of and has seen The Blob. Probably both versions! But how many of them has seen the Caltiki: The Immortal Monster!
This Italian film came out a year after we all saw Steve McQueen do battle with the large purple gelatinous form. But Caltiki gives us another deadly devouring mass, which was directed by Riccardo Freda, with none other than Mario Bava as the cinematographer. Though, as the stories go, during production, Freda left, quit, or just walked off the film which was then completely by Bava. None the less, this film is a must for horror fans. There are some effects in here that are pretty damn creepy and gory for a film that came out in 1959.
Now, thanks to Arrow Video, you will have the chance to see this film in all its gory glory. This release will feature a brand new 2K restoration from the original camera negative, with High Definition blu-ray (1080P) and standard definition DVD presentations. It will also feature the original mono Italian and English soundtracks, with newly translated English subtitles for the Italian language track.
Giallo Cinema and Its Folktale Roots: A Critical Study of 10 Films, 1962-1987
By Michael Sevastakis
Published by McFarland, 2016. 240 pages. $39.95.
Blood and Black Lace (1962)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Cameron Mitchell, Eva Bartok, Thomas Reiner, Ariana Gorini, Dante DiPaolo, Mary Arden, Franco Ressel, Claude Dantes, Luciano Pigozzi, Lea Landers, Massimo Righi, Francesca Ungaro
Let’s face it…I spend a lot of money on books. With over 800 titles in my personal library, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t look upon my bookshelves and admire the beauty laid out upon the shelves. Like with any library, there many titles that I could easily pull out and get lost for an hour just paging through them, reading bits and pieces, taking in the glorious photos and illustrations. I’ve always considered that to be one of the joys of having a book collection. It’s like an open doorway to who knows where.
Most of the titles I have in my library are just standard reference books, filled with the knowledge that I know the author(s) spent a lot of time doing research and planning, even before they actually started putting pen to paper…or fingers to keyboard. I give a lot of credit to most authors that take the time and effort to go through all this work. I say “most authors” because I’ve run across a few other the years that need to double check some of their facts. But that is for another rant.
But there are some titles out there where the authors and publishers have gone far beyond being just a collection of opinions, facts, and photos, making it truly a work of art. Editions that can suck you in, even if it is just admiring the craftsmanship put into the book. From the design to the layout, it is an incredible journey you take once you pull it off your shelf. This physical medium is still a very important one, and one where I feel some of the beauty and charm of an actual book would be lost in the digital format. Especially the ones that seem to go above and beyond just publishing a book. They really do create a piece of art.
So I wanted to take a moment of your time to cover a few titles that I think fit into this category. I will say that some of these titles were a bit pricy when they first came out, and some go for even a higher price now. But there were a few of these that were pretty reasonably priced and are still accessible. Sure, they can still be a bit expensive, but we are talking about art here, right? And usually, at least in my experience, these kind of books never lose their value, In fact, the value tends to rise over the years. So if when you’re trying to justify the cost, think of it of an investment…that you can actually learn something from!
Thank you to the publishers for taking the time, the chance, the effort, and the money to put out such incredible books.