Archive for mario bava

Goregirl’s Dungeon on YouTube: Piero Umiliani – Luna d’agosto

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , on August 7, 2013 by goregirl

A long past due slideshow of the lovely Edwige Fenech with music from Mario Bava’s 1970 film 5 Dolls for an August Moon – Piero Umiliani – Luna d’agosto. How could I not have posted a slideshow of Edwige Fenech images before now? Introducing the Giallo-licious Ms. Edwige Fenech…

DANGER: DIABOLIK (1968) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2013 by goregirl

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The second film in my Saturday Night Bava Triple Feature was Danger: Diabolik! Another Bava film I had not visited for several years that desperately needed a re-watch. The adventures of master thief Diabolik and his smart, sassy assistant Eva Kant is an action-packed, sexy and fun-filled romp of the first order!

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Diabolik is based on an anti-hero from Italian comics created by Angela and Luciana Giussani in 1962. Diabolik is a mastermind thief who along with partner Eva Kant consistently eludes the Inspector and his men. The Minister of the Interior is getting hot under the collar over the whole business and restores the death penalty. When asked by the media about Diabolik he states the following: “I assure you that this individual whose very name reveals his antagonisms to the established values of our society will soon be brought to justice.” There are plenty of people who would like to see Diabolik’s head on a platter. The inspector attempts to lure and trap Diabolik with an acquisition he can not resist. But trapping this Diabolik character is no simple task. After some costly failures the Inspector agrees to a negotiation with wanted criminal Valmont. Valmont promises to deliver Diabolik in exchange for leniency.

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The film nicely preserves its illustrated source material; at least in the sense that the film maintains a comic book feel (I have never read any of the Diabolik comics). Danger: Diabolik is extraordinarily visual in its presentation. The story is pretty thin but it functions well enough as a catalyst to roll out some cool images. The sets in the film are nothing short of spectacular! Diabolik’s underground lair is one bodacious pad! It’s futuristic, fantastique! Diabolik and Eva shower in his and hers glass stalls with an appropriately placed piece of frosted glass to hide their bits and than have sex in their giant rotating bed full of money! Now this is the sort of criminal I want to be! Diabolik is cheeky, handsome, audacious and perhaps a touch anarchistic. His schemes are hilariously elaborate and he is always at least one step ahead of the law. He is also quick on the fly; at one point in the film using a catapult when cornered on a rooftop. There is nothing this guy can’t do! But behind every great man is a seriously foxy, intelligent and multi-talented woman. Stylish Eva Kant is Diabolik’s dedicated partner in crime; she is a woman who knows how to get a job done. John Philip Law (Diabolik) and Marisa Mell (Eva Kant) make an attractive couple and have great chemistry together.

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The supporting cast provides plenty of laughs. I especially enjoyed Michel Piccoli’s performance as the oft outsmarted Inspector Ginko as well as Terry Thomas who plays the Minister of the Interior/Minister of Finance both positions of which he is made a fool of by Diabolik. The lengths that Inspector Ginko goes to in his attempts to capture Diabolik are as outrageous as the schemes Diabolik comes up with to foil his plans.

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Danger: Diabolik is a striking film and one of Bava’s most visually impressive. A funny, action-packed visceral delight and a crapload of fun! Danger: Diabolik is highly recommended!

A few more pics for your viewing pleasure…

danger diabolik14Diabolik’s spectacular underground lair.

danger diabolik16His and hers showers.

danger diabolik2Whoever said money doesn’t buy happiness has clearly never had sex in a bed full of money.

danger diabolik5One of Valmont’s clubs.

danger diabolik8Eva wants this necklace; and she is going to get it.

danger diabolik9Valmont’s lady friend. Being insulted makes her giggle “Dry out stupid!”

danger diabolik11The amazing Spyrograph picture maker. Is this Barbarella?

danger diabolik10The amazing Spyrograph picture maker eventually comes up with a likeness of Eva Kant.

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: John Philip Law, Marisa Mell, Michel Piccoli, Adolfo Celi, Claudio Gora, Mario Donen, Renzo Palmer, Caterina Boratto, Lucia Modugno, Annie Gorassini

RABID DOGS (1974) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Italy, movies with tags , , , , , , , , on April 22, 2013 by goregirl

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I woke up Saturday morning with the Bava Flu. It is an affliction with only one cure; watching a Mario Bava film. My fever was pretty intense however so I had to make it a triple bill! First in the queue was Bava’s 1974 Crime Thriller Rabid Dogs. This is not my first viewing of Bava’s film, but it had been several years since I last watched this sleazy, violent Euro-Crime gem.

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After some very cool psychedelic credits Bava takes us right into the action mid-crime. A quartet of criminals escape the scene of a messy robbery with a bag full of money but not before one of them is shot dead. After killing a female hostage and threatening the life of a second the police allow the remaining trio to flee. With the second hostage in tow they manage to elude the police. An unfortunate man waiting at a traffic light with his sick child becomes the criminal’s new getaway vehicle.

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Boom! Bava doesn’t mess around! We get bloody violence immediately! A shootout, a stabbing, a car chase and innocent people dead in the first twenty minutes. The pacing becomes a slow and steady boil for the balance of the film. At this point we get a more intimate portrait of our douchebag criminals. These guys are bad ass pieces of shite. The ringleader Dottore is the most level-headed of the group and appears to be the brains behind the operation. His control is limited where his two cohorts are concerned. Bisturi also known as the Blade gets stabby when he is cornered and Tretadue also known as Thirty-two is a loose cannon who loses his mind at the sight of breasts. Both men are pretty unsavoury,

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Rabid Dogs is a claustrophobic journey through sweaty men hell. These are three seriously sweaty guys; you can almost smell their body odor! They terrorize their involuntary driver Riccardo with threats against him and his sick child. Riccardo is so bloody calm it is almost a bit unnerving. His sick child spends the entire film sleeping. It is Maria their female hostage who takes the most punishment. There is one indignity Maria suffers that is particularly ugly. Maria needless to say is pretty hysterical and does a lot of crying and begging for her freedom inspiring the men to nickname her Greta Garbo. Maria has no misconceptions about what the trio are capable of after watching Bisturi stab her friend to death before being dragged along on this joy ride.

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Rabid Dogs is well-cast and everyone is top-notch in their roles. George Eastman (aka Luigi Montefiori) who plays Tretadue (Thirty-two) however is a particular standout. George Eastman is so good at playing bat-shit crazy sons of bitches! He’s tall as a building and built like a brick wall and he’s got some crazy eyes!! I can hear that crazy bastard cackling right now!

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A good chunk of Rabid Dogs takes place inside of a car; Bava builds some great intensity within these confines. The cloying and sweaty constraints of a vehicle are the perfect compliment. Each scene has the potential to burst into violence or a random psychotic episode. These three men are teetering on the edge, desperate for a way out. Wanted for robbery and murder getting caught is not an option.

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Rabid Dogs is one of my favourite Euro-Crime flicks; it is well made, perfectly cast and acted, intense, violent, sleazy not to mention a cool soundtrack from Stelvio Cipriani. It also has a killer finale!! Rabid Dogs gets my highest of recommendations; a perfect score.

Check out my friend David’s delightful screencaps for Rabid Dogs here.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Mario Bava

Starring: Riccardo Cucciolla, Don Backy, Maurice Poli, Lea Lander, George Eastman, Maria Fabbri, Erika Dario

Who Is Your Favourite HORROR Director Of The 60s? RESULTS!

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , on November 27, 2012 by goregirl

Last week I asked you who your favourite 1960s horror film director was. There were 33 votes and a real mixed bag too. Only four directors of the nineteen I listed received no votes. The winner with six votes was Mario Bava right behind him was George A. Romero with five votes and Alfred Hitchcock rounded out the top three with four votes. Here is how the rest of the votes came in…

Mario Bava 18.18% (6 votes)
George A. Romero 15.15% (5 votes)
Alfred Hitchcock 12.12% (4 votes)
William Castle 9.09% (3 votes)
Robert Wise 9.09% (3 votes)
Roman Polanski 6.06% (2 votes)
Terence Fisher 6.06% (2 votes)
Roger Corman 3.03% (1 vote)
Jess Franco 3.03% (1 vote)
Sidney Hayers 3.03% (1 vote)
Ishirô Honda 3.03% (1 vote)
Herschell Gordon Lewis 3.03% (1 vote)
José Mojica Marins 3.03% (1 vote)
Michael Reeves 3.03% (1 vote)
Kaneto Shindô 3.03% (1 vote)
Freddie Francis 0% (0 votes)
John Gilling 0% (0 votes)
Antonio Margheriti 0% (0 votes)
John Llewellyn Moxey 0% (0 votes)

Tomorrow I will post my Top 10 Favourite Horror Films from 1969; the final year of the decade!

Goregirl’s TOP 10 Favourite Horror Films From 1960

Posted in horror, movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2012 by goregirl

IMDB listed 139 titles for 1960, but once I dug into the list I discovered only 61 were actually full-length feature films. As is my modus operandi when doing these features, I do not include shorts, documentaries, made for TV movies or TV series. IMDB lists every individual episode of the television shows which accounted for a goodly number of the 139 titles. There were several episodes of the excellent Twilight Zone series along with two shows I had never heard of Thriller and The Unforeseen. I saw 47 of the 61 films from 1960. Ranking these was practically impossible. For starters my entire top five are films I ranked 5/5. How do you rank films you rated identically? Numbers 6 and 7 were films I rated 4.5/5 so they were easy enough to place. The bigger problem came when trying to decide which 3 films would round out the list when I had 8 films I ranked 4/5! What a colossal headache! The films I left off are all well worth a viewing; The Brides of Dracula, Circus of Horrors, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll and The Secret of the Telgian.

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#10 THE FLESH AND THE FIENDS

Directed By: John Gilling

The Flesh and the Fiends is the story of infamous corpse peddlers William Burke and William Hare and their business transactions with Professor Dr. Robert Knox. The lead performances are absolutely top notch; Peter Cushing as Dr. Knox, Donald Pleasence as Hare and George Rose as Burke are perfectly cast. Some of the supporting character subplots felt redundant but it’s a small complaint in an otherwise outstanding film. The Flesh and the Fiends beautifully captures the dark shadows of 19th Century Edinburgh. It’s a fantastic looking film with an excellent grim and eerie vibe. The deaths are not graphic but they are cold-hearted, well-executed and effectively chilling. I foolishly assumed being a 1960 British film starring Peter Cushing and directed by John Gilling (who directed the fantastic Hammer film Plague of the Zombies) that this was a Hammer film. It was in fact made at Shepperton Studios and was produced by Triad Productions. I was particularly torn between Circus of Horrors and The Flesh and the Fiends. In the end John Gilling’s excellent The Flesh and the Fiends won out in a large part thanks to the performances of Cushing, Pleasance and Rose.

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#9 MILL OF THE STONE WOMEN

Directed By: Giorgio Ferroni

Mill of the Stone Women is about a reporter writing a story on a reclusive sculptor who lives in an old mill. The mill houses a strange tourist attraction created by the sculptor; a carousel-esque contraption that features statues of historical women including some famous murderesses. The sculptor is hiding a secret in the form of a beautiful daughter suffering from some mysterious illness. Add to the mix an eccentric doctor and you’ve got one entertaining story. They give away too much information too soon yet the finale is none the lesser for it. The film’s finale is an absolute utter treat! Mill of the Stone Women is an imaginatively filmed lush affair with some seriously trippy scenes. The performances are good; particularly strong are Herbert Boehme as Professor Gregorius Wahl and Wolfgang Preiss as Dr. Loren Bohlem. It is a slow-moving but hypnotic watch with utterly fantastic set pieces, especially that lady carousel; that thing was freaking awesome! Giorgio Ferroni’s Mill of the Stone Women is a stylish, atmospheric horror film that comes highly recommended.

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#8 JIGOKU (aka THE SINNERS OF HELL)

Directed By: Nobuo Nakagawa

Jigoku or The Sinners of Hell is a bit of a bitch to give a short summary for. It is a story about a student named Shiro who is engaged to his professor’s daughter Yukiko. Shiro is the passenger in a hit and run, but there is a witness who wants revenge, Yukiko dies in a car accident, and Shiro is called home to see his dying mother. Shiro’s father runs a shoddy retirement home and openly flaunts his mistress and his mother’s caretaker is a dead ringer for his recently deceased fiancé. For reasons I will not divulge everyone ends up in hell. Hell! Rivers of blood, endless tortures, and demons await you! Jigoku is one of the earliest films to feature graphic gore. There is a flaying and a decapitation among other goodies. Jigoku is an exceptional film visually that is as beautiful as it is bizarre. To check out my photo review for Jigoku click here. Jigoku is an exceptionally unique Japanese horror film…and it has gore!

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#7 HOUSE OF USHER

Directed By: Roger Corman

Roger Corman directed several films based on the work of Edgar Allan Poe starring horror legend Vincent Price. Expect to see more of these on the top ten lists as they are some of the best the decade has to offer! Vincent Price plays Roderick Usher who opposes the marriage of his sister Madeline due to their cursed family bloodline. Price, of course is brilliant as Roderick Usher and he gets strong support from Myrna Fahey who plays Madeline Usher, Harry Ellerbe as Bristol and Mark Damon as Philip Winthrop; Madeline’s intended. The visuals are first class all the way. House of Usher’s great costumes, fantastic sets, superb performances and well-paced plotting assures you are entertained every single second of its 80ish minute runtime.

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#6 CITY OF THE DEAD

Directed By: John Llewellyn Moxey

City of the Dead was on my list of favourite witchcraft films I posted last week and it easily qualified as one of the best of 1960. City of the Dead is about a college student prompted by her professor to do research in the tiny village of Whitewood where much to her horror she discovers she is a target for a coven of witches. The performances are good particularly from Patricia Jessel who plays dual roles and Christopher Lee who has a memorable supporting turn. City of the Dead is a great atmospheric horror films with excellent suspense, beautifully gothic visuals and an engrossing story with one hell of a finale.

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#5 VILLAGE OF THE DAMNED

Directed By: Wolf Rilla

Village of the Damned has been a favourite since I was a kid. An entire town rendered unconscious and protected by an invisible force field even the military can not breach. After a while the force field disappears and the townsfolk begin waking up seemingly unharmed. A few weeks later however the women of child-bearing age discover they are pregnant and all deliver on the same day. The children grow at an alarming rate and bare a striking resemblance to one another. The creepy, emotionless blonde haired children also possess supernatural powers! Filmed in beautiful black and white with a perfect sense of paranoia and an eerie menacing vibe that is completely engrossing. Village of the Damned is well-written and the performances are perfect; especially excellent is George Sanders as the affable Gordon Zellaby, and the talented Barbara Shelley as his charming wife Anthea. Beware the glowing eyes of the children! Why haven’t you seen this film? Village of the Damned is one of the great classics of sci-fi horror.

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#4 BLACK SUNDAY

Directed By: Mario Bava

I warned you it would not be the last time you would see Mario Bava’s Black Sunday on a list! There is no movie on this list I have seen more than Black Sunday! My childhood viewing of Black Sunday terrified me! These days I appreciate it more for its beautiful, gothic, hypnotizing cinematography. But that scene of the mask of Satan being pounded into Barbara Steele’s face still has some sting! It is the story of a witch put to death by her own brother who returns 200 years later to seek revenge on her descendants. Black Sunday is beautiful, eerie and hypnotic and Barbara Steele simply stuns in her dual roles. Black Sunday is one of the greatest gothic horror films ever made!

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#3 PEEPING TOM

Directed By: Michael Powell

Peeping Tom has a particularly racy story for 1960. Peeping Tom is the story of Mark Lewis who murders women so he can capture on film their terrified expressions before death. Its voyeuristic nature is heavily emphasized and the film is as much psychological as it is horrifying. Carl Boehm plays it quiet and brooding and is outstanding as the awkward and unstable titular Peeping Tom Mark Lewis. This isn’t simply a film about a serial killer it is an in-depth character study and an intelligently written story that explores deeper issues than one would expect of the sub-genre. The film is a slow-burn but an extremely effective one. Peeping Tom is a dark, edgy, well-made film that was ahead of its time. Absolutely brilliant.

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#2 EYES WITHOUT A FACE

Directed By: Georges Franju

Eyes Without a Face is about Christiane who lives hidden from the world, shrouded by a white featureless mask that hides her horribly disfigured face. Her father is guilt-ridden plastic surgeon, Dr. Genessier. With the help of his assistant Louise, they lure young women in and surgically remove their faces in hope of successfully grafting the skin to his daughter. But one failed graft after another leaves a pile of bodies and little hope. Eyes without a Face is about vanity, guilt, obsession, depression and redemption. It is a tale that is as bizarre and bleak as it is beautiful. Eyes Without a Face is a visually stunning film; its sterile brightly lit surgeries, shadowy corridors, endless rooms and impressive set pieces. The “face removal” was very graphic for the time and still impresses. A strange and wonderful score compliments beautifully. Eyes Without a Face is a flawless, strikingly original, bleak and beautiful contribution to the horror genre.

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#1 PSYCHO

Directed By: Alfred Hitchcock

Truthfully, I don’t enjoy Psycho any more than the other films in this top five. As I mentioned in my introduction I gave all five of these films an identical perfect rating. Alas one of the films had to hold this spot and technically speaking Psycho is a flawless masterpiece. I am sure there is nothing I can add that hasn’t been said about Psycho before. If you are unfamiliar with Psycho’s story it revolves around a woman named Marion Crane who decides to leave town to start a new life with money she stole from her employer. Inevitably she must stop to rest and chooses the Bates Motel run by a socially awkward momma’s boy named Norman Bates. This does not end well for Ms. Crane whose disappearance does not go unnoticed. Psycho is a stunning film with a pitch perfect mood and atmosphere. Psycho’s real attraction for me is Norman Bates. Anthony Perkins gives a truly epic and iconic performance as cinema’s most infamous momma’s boy. Hitchcock constructed a truly beautiful, chilling, ground-breaking film that has a firm place in horror history.

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