Monday, October 20, 2014

Mario Bava Movie Mash

I recently checked out for more Mario Bava films. I'm a huge fan of THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and BLACK SABBATH. A BAY of BLOOD is always a hoot as well, that strange film. I wanted to add some more titles to my list to get a good feel for Bava's works. The lighting and camera style is always pleasing and I wanted to see if it carried through to his other movies. It seems like it does!

I didn't love these films like I loved the work above, but they were good to see. They held my interest and some where so strange and crazed that they seemed like the stuff of nightmares. Pulled from someone's bad dream and placed on film. Rather cool if you dig that style.

And, as with this years new change, I'm going to keep these reviews short, sweet and to the point.

LISA and the DEVIL (1973)
This was a strange one for sure. Elke Sommer plays Lisa who stumbles her way through the streets of Italy and bumps into Telly "Who Loves Ya, Baby" Savalas who is buying a mannequin in some shop. And, oddly, that's not the strange part. SOMEHOW, Lisa gets lost again and....oh man....
Lisa ends up in a spooky mansion with a strange, Bava cast of characters including Telly again. The dummy he purchased is real....then it's not. There's a blind woman...but she's not blind. Her son...who seems.....not sane.  More dummy action. More crazy Telly WITH signature lollipop (KOJAK was in full swing in 1973).
This film had me wondering WHAT was going on out loud several times and I had to push through in some areas, but then the cool factor came into play. The film is bonkers, but it seems like a dream or nightmare. It has dream logic throughout and that makes it interesting and worth a viddy.


5 DOLLS for an AUGUST MOON (1970)
This was the weakest in this group for sure. I wasn't invested at all. There's a plot that had me yawning and at one point - I'll be honest, I wasn't watching at all. A group of people at a beach house and a plot to get a load of money. People die. :::shrug:::  The end. Not for me.

"He didn't like us, Dear. Stop writhing around and get me another drink."   :)

Back on the dream logic train! WHOOO WHOOOOOOOOOOO!   :)
This is a very HAMMER feeling piece. Three years after SABBATH, this film has a similar feel -  a turn-of-the-century Carpathian village. Spooky ally shots, fog and the signature Bava lighting and shadows had me smiling. This small town has a ghost going round exacting vengeance. People in town are dispatched in various, bloody ways as a small ghost child peers through windows 32 years before the ghost of Sadako crawls out of the well in THE RING. :)

The dashing doctor and the ravishing blonde have to find out what's going on in Villa Graps before they are dispatched as well.
Fun story and some great visuals here for sure.

HATCHET for the HONEYMOON (1970)
Again, 30 years before Patrick Bateman in AMERICAN PSYCHO, there was John Harrington in HATCHET. More mommy issues and crazy, dashing dudes in this thriller. But, they do the same American Psycho deal here - not the classic giallo black glove killer treatment. We know dude is crazy right from the start. HE tells us he is. He's bonkers and hates his wife. However, things take a few interesting turns as the cops try to catch the killer cat and mouse style. Fun stuff.


"I'm a winner."
So, I think the winner here was KILL BABY, KILL because it was the most consistent and steady with a solid story and some really creepy shots. The nightmare feel was strong and the lighting rang the BAVA BELL - light and dark, shadows and colors that I just eat up with a spoon! :) LISA and the DEVIL was fun as well, but in a more wacky vein. It's a strange one.

Bava is still up there in my top Horror Director list. 

All of these are available on NETFLIX STREAMING as of the time of this posting.

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