Mario Bava once said “Lighting is 70% of a horror film’s effectiveness.” He’s on to something there.
That is why Bava is my favorite horror film director. His use of lighting, color, texture, and sound is unparalleled. I appreciate his first horror films—Black Sunday, Black Sabbath, Blood and Black Lace—more so than his later ones because they featured visceral and unusual camera work, thanks to his cinematographer Ubaldo Terzano.
His imagery, at least in the three films listed above, is so hallucinatory that it creates a sinister atmosphere which overcomes the ridiculous dialogue/plot and is superior to the giallos and slasher flicks it influenced.
I’d dig hearing what YOU think about Mario Bava.
Loved Black Sunday. Great take on Gogol’s Viy.
and then there’s planet of the vampires!
kill baby kill!
I know you’re a big fan of Planet of the Vampires, Ruby. I’m going to have to check that one out soon. Along with Danger: Diabolik.
The red telephone in Blood and Black Lace. And all the reds throughout.
Danger: Diabolik – 60s Pop Art.
Bava is really good with any scene set in a cave or cavern.
I really wish someone would release a quality DVD of Blood and Black Lace with the original title sequence and decent subtitles. If this happens or has happened please let me know.
I just re-watched Danger: Diabolik the other night. Great fun. My favorites are the three mentioned in the OP plus Kill, Baby…Kill! and The Girl Who Knew Too Much is fantastic. I’ll have to add Planet of the Vampires to my queue.
What did everyone think of my edit of Black Sunday/Blood & Black Lace to Crazy World of Arthur Brown?
So you’ve got me wanting to go back and revisit Bava’s work. I’ve forgotten quite a few, but they’re starting to come back to me. Just finished watching Planet of the Vampires and it’s pretty great. Another I remember seeing and really liking is Knives of the Avenger. Great adventure film.
for some reason the trailer is b&w, it’s actually in color.
Don’t forget about “Rabid Dogs”, guys!
Glad you posted this Bava thread. Most of my friends know me as a horror movie freak, but Bava’s works are ones I only saw a long time ago. I remember his style, but don’t remember a lot about the films, certainly not enough to put on my Horror Musts list; however, I have been meaning to revisit Bava, and this thread (and all of the really great pictures) is just the reminder I needed!!
One of his first films as solo director, The Whip and the Body, is one of his best. Great twist at the end, fine sadistic Christopher Lee and those great gels illuminating every part of the frame. Big fan of the last 2 segments in Black Sabbath as well: Can’t go wrong with Russian Vampires!!!