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Movie Poster of the Week: The Posters of Mario Bava

The most lurid posters for the films of Italy's maestro of the macabre.
Above: US one sheet for Black Sunday (Mario Bava, Italy, 1960).
Earlier this week I featured Francine Spiegel and Dylan Haley’s terrific new poster for the re-release of Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby...Kill!, which has been playing at New York’s Quad Cinema in a 50th anniversary, 2K restoration. (Full disclosure: this week I started working for the film’s distributor, Kino Lorber, although I can take no credit for that design.) Today, the Quad follows up that run with Mondo Bava: 20-film retrospective of Bava’s films with many of the films on 35mm.
Though Bava made over 30 films in various genres over the course of more than two decades, he is best known as perhaps the greatest stylist in horror, the maestro of the macabre. The posters for his horror films may not always convey Bava’s sense of style (notable exceptions being the French posters for The Evil Eye and Danger: Diabolik) but they are always impressively lurid and confrontational. Where I can I’ve tried to feature one European and one American poster for each film. Whereas the European posters are torrid and colorful and painterly, the American posters tend to go for the jugular with exhortations and warnings to the audience: “Stare into these eyes!”, “Not since ‘Frankenstein’ have you seen such horror!”, “Every ticket holder must pass through the final warning station. We must warn you face-to-face!”, and my favorite: “Guaranteed! The 8 Greatest Shocks Ever Filmed!” I’ll be counting them.
Above: Italian 2-fogli for Black Sunday (Mario Bava, Italy, 1960). Art by Enzo Nistri.
Above: French grande for Black Sabbath (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963). Art by Boris Grinsson.
Above: US three-sheet for Black Sabbath (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963).
Above: French grande for The Evil Eye aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963). Art by Constantin Belinsky.
Above: US one sheet for The Evil Eye aka The Girl Who Knew Too Much (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963).
Above: French grande for The Whip and the Body (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963). Art by Constantin Belinsky.
Above: US one sheet for The Whip and the Body aka What (Mario Bava, Italy, 1963).
Above: French grande for Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, Italy, 1964). Art by Constantin Belinsky.
Above: Italian 2-fogli for Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, Italy, 1964).
Above: US one sheet for Blood and Black Lace (Mario Bava, Italy, 1964).
Above: Italian 4-fogli for Planet of the Vampires (Mario Bava, Italy/Spain, 1965).
Above: US one sheet for Planet of the Vampires (Mario Bava, Italy/Spain, 1965).
Above: Italian 2-fogli for Kill, Baby…Kill! (Mario Bava, Italy, 1966).   
Above: US three-sheet Kill, Baby…Kill! (Mario Bava, Italy, 1966).
Above: French grande for Danger: Diabolik (Mario Bava, Italy/France, 1968).
Above: Italian 2-fogli for Five Dolls for an August Moon (Mario Bava, Italy, 1970).
Above: US one sheet for A Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Mario Bava, Italy, 1970).
Above: French grande for Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve) (Mario Bava, Italy, 1971). Art by Jano.
Above: US one sheet for Bay of Blood aka Twitch of the Death Nerve (Mario Bava, Italy, 1971).
Above: Italian 2-fogli for Baron Blood (Mario Bava, Italy, 1972).
Above: US one sheet for Baron Blood (Mario Bava, Italy, 1972).
Above: French grande for Lisa and the Devil (Mario Bava, Italy/W. Germany/Spain, 1973).
Above: US one sheet for Lisa and the Devil aka The House of Exorcism (Mario Bava, Italy/West Germany/Spain, 1973).
Above: Italian poster for Shock aka Beyond the Door II (Mario Bava, Italy, 1977).
Above: US one sheet for Shock aka Beyond the Door II (Mario Bava, Italy, 1977).
Mondo Bava runs through July 25 at the Quad.
Posters courtesy of Heritage Auctions, Posteritati and CineMaterial.

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