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Mario Bava Bits...

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Posted 25th April 2009 at 11:08 AM by Sam@Cult Labs

Kill Baby Kill

Considering the huge influence that Italian director Mario Bava has had on the development of the modern horror movie, it's a shame he doesn't get more praise for his work in the mainstream press. Had he been bilingual, he could have gone to Hollywood and been the equal of Hitchcock, such was he technical skill as a filmmaker. Unfortunately, the standard sources of film criticism seem to only care for a select few American directors who are allowed to leave the horror kids table and sit with the grown ups. Romero gets his props as does Wes Craven, whose patchy career admittedly has a few golden moments.

Well, we here at Cult Labs know different don't we!

Kill Baby Kill is a great example of his lurid art and despite the swinging 60s title, is a jaw dropping piece of gothic that will thrill fans of classic horror. A coroner arrives in an Eastern European village and meets a beautiful woman, Monica. Together they perform an autopsy on a maid who died mysteriously while working at the creepy Villa Graps on the town's outskirts. The maid had a gold coin embedded in her heart, a superstitious rite carried out by the local witch. The coroner goes to the house to speak to the Baroness whose daughter haunts the town, striking down those who mention her name...

Surreal and chilling, fans of sensible plots should stay away but for those who like getting tripped out by their scare flicks, the maze like rooms, spiralling staircases and eye popping lighting effects will provide a good fix. Brooding, abstract gothic menace.

Danger Diabolik

Well, here it is, one of the greatest slices of kitsch 60s pop-art cinema ever produced.

Directed by Italian genre expert Mario Bava, this comic book tale of crime capers and daring heists is the source the Beastie Boys video for Body Movin', in which they use footage from the movie.

Telling the OTT story of Diabolik (John Phillip Law), a masked international thief and his blond bombshell girlfriend as they steal huge amounts of cash from under the noses of, well...everyone, It's a riotous explosion of 60s colour, fashion and lounge music. Anyone with a ounce of interest in the swinging side of the decade should get this, you'll be amazed. An obvious influence of the Austin Powers movies, it has all the hip dialogue, sleek motors and eye popping underground bachelor pads you'll ever need.

Bay of Blood (Twitch of the Death Nerve)

Made by Italian B-feature king and director of the first 'Giallo' thriller, Mario Bava, this early gore shocker is a major influence on the late 70s/early 80s cycle of slasher horror pictures. Watch it back to back with Friday the 13th Part 2; Friday... steals all the murderous set pieces!

The basic plot about a group of teens travelling to a run down bayside holiday resort only to find deceitful intrigue and bloody death is only there to service a series of spectacular gory kills. Sounds Familiar doesn't it, this movie is the Philosophers Stone for cheap stalk 'n' slash features.

Bava uses saturated colours and fluid camera work to deliver a horror classic that went on to influence a generation of slasher hacks.
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