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Mario Bava in 1975
|Died||27 April 1980 65) (aged|
|Other names||John M. Old|
|Occupation||Film director, cinematographer, special effects artist, screenwriter|
Mario Bava (31 July 1914 – 27 April 1980) was an Italian cinematographer, director, special effects artist and screenwriter,frequently referred to as the "Master of Italian Horror" and the "Master of the Macabre". His low-budget genre films, known for their distinctive visual flair and technical ingenuity, feature recurring themes and imagery concerning the conflict between illusion and reality, and the destructive capacity of human nature.
A cinematographer or director of photography is the chief over the camera and light crews working on a film, television production or other live action piece and is responsible for making artistic and technical decisions related to the image. The study and practice of this field is referred to as cinematography.
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film. A film director controls a film's artistic and dramatic aspects and visualizes the screenplay while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfilment of that vision. The director has a key role in choosing the cast members, production design, and the creative aspects of filmmaking. Under European Union law, the director is viewed as the author of the film.
Special effects are illusions or visual tricks used in the film, television, theatre, video game and simulator industries to simulate the imagined events in a story or virtual world.
Born to sculptor, cinematographer and special effects pioneer Eugenio Bava, the younger Bava followed his father into the film industry, and eventually earned a reputation as one of Italy's foremost cameramen, lighting and providing the special effects for such films as Hercules (1958) and its sequel Hercules Unchained (1959). During the late 1950s, his eventual career trajectory as a director began when he was relied upon to complete projects begun by or credited to his colleague Riccardo Freda and other filmmakers, including I Vampiri (1957) (the first Italian horror film of the sound era), The Day the Sky Exploded (1958) (the first Italian science fiction film), Caltiki – The Immortal Monster (1959) and The Giant of Marathon (1959).
Eugenio Bava was an Italian film cinematographer.
Hercules is a 1958 Italian peplum film based upon the Hercules and the Quest for the Golden Fleece myths. The film stars Steve Reeves as the titular hero and Sylva Koscina as his love interest Princess Iole. Hercules was directed by Pietro Francisci and produced by Federico Teti. The film spawned a 1959 sequel, Hercules Unchained, that also starred Reeves and Koscina.
Hercules Unchained is a 1959 Italian-French epic fantasy feature film starring Steve Reeves and Sylva Koscina in a story about two warring brothers and Hercules' tribulations in the court of Queen Omphale. The film is the sequel to the Reeves vehicle Hercules (1958) and marks Reeves' second - and last - appearance as Hercules. The film's screenplay, loosely based upon various Greek myths and dramas, was written by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci with Francisci directing and Bruno Vailati and Ferruccio De Martino producing the film.
Although most of Bava's films as director failed to achieve major commercial success upon release, many of them would eventually find acclaim as cult classics, with their content and production values being favourably compared to the works of Alfred Hitchcock. Several of them have been noted for their revolutionary impact on their respective genres: Black Sunday (1960), his official directorial debut, was the forerunner of the Italian gothic horror film cycle; The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) is considered to be the first giallo film; Kill, Baby, Kill (1966) heavily influenced the iconography of modern J-Horror; Roy Colt & Winchester Jack (1970) is regarded as one of the earliest self-parodying Spaghetti Westerns; Four Times That Night (1971) was an early Italian sex comedy; and A Bay of Blood (1971) was a precursor to slasher films. His other notable films include Hercules in the Haunted World (1961), Erik the Conqueror (1961), Black Sabbath (1963), The Whip and the Body (1963), Blood and Black Lace (1964), Planet of the Vampires (1965), Knives of the Avenger (1966), Danger: Diabolik (1968), Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970), Baron Blood (1972), Lisa and the Devil (1974), Rabid Dogs (1974) and Shock (1977). Despite his reputation as a talented artisan during his lifetime, Bava's shy, self-deprecating demeanour prevented him from taking advantage of opportunities that would have furthered his international standing within the film industry, and he turned down multiple opportunities to work in Hollywood.
Sir Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was an English film director and producer, widely regarded as one of the most influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. Known as "the Master of Suspense", he directed over 50 feature films in a career spanning six decades, becoming as well known as any of his actors thanks to his many interviews, his cameo roles in most of his films, and his hosting and producing of the television anthology Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1965).
Black Sunday, also known as The Mask of Satan and Revenge of the Vampire in the UK, is a 1960 Italian gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava from a screenplay by Ennio de Concini and Mario Serandrei, and starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Arturo Dominici and Ivo Garrani. It was Bava's directorial debut, although he had completed several previous feature films without receiving an onscreen credit. Based very loosely on Nikolai Gogol's short story "Viy", the narrative concerns a witch who is put to death by her own brother, only to return 200 years later to seek revenge on her descendants.
The Girl Who Knew Too Much is a 1963 Italian giallo film. Directed by Italian filmmaker Mario Bava, the film stars John Saxon as Dr. Marcello Bassi and Letícia Román as Nora Davis. The plot revolves around a young woman named Nora, who travels to Rome and witnesses a murder. The police and Dr. Bassi don't believe her since a corpse can't be found. Several more murders follow, tied to a decade-long string of killings of victims chosen in alphabetical order.
Among the filmmakers Bava and his work have influenced include Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Federico Fellini, John Carpenter, Nicolas Winding Refn, Martin Scorsese, Tim Burton, Joe Dante, John Landis, Francis Ford Coppola, Roger Corman, Edgar Wright and Quentin Tarantino.His son and frequent assistant director, Lamberto Bava, later became a noted fantasy and horror film director in his own right.
Dario Argento is an Italian film director, producer, film critic and screenwriter. He is best known for his work in the horror film genre during the 1970s and 1980s, particularly in the subgenre known as giallo, and for his influence on modern horror films, which has led him to being referred to as the "Master of the Thrill" and the "Master of Horror".
Lucio Fulci was an Italian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor.
Federico Fellini, was an Italian film director and screenwriter. Known for his distinct style that blends fantasy and baroque images with earthiness, he is recognized as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. His films have ranked, in polls such as Cahiers du cinéma and Sight & Sound, as some of the greatest films of all time. Sight & Sound lists his 1963 film 8½ as the 10th-greatest film of all time.
Mario Bava was born in San Remo, Liguria on 31 July 1914. He was the son of Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), a sculptor who also worked as a special effects photographer and cameraman in the Italian silent movie industry. Mario Bava's first ambition was to become a painter. Unable to turn out paintings at a profitable rate, he went into his father's business, working as an assistant to other Italian cinematographers like Massimo Terzano. He also helped his father at the special effects department at Benito Mussolini's film factory, the Istituto Luce.
Sanremo or San Remo is a city and comune on the Mediterranean coast of Liguria, in north-western Italy. Founded in Roman times, it has a population of 57,000, and is known as a tourist destination on the Italian Riviera. It hosts numerous cultural events, such as the Sanremo Music Festival and the Milan–San Remo cycling classic.
Liguria is a coastal region of north-western Italy; its capital is Genoa. The region almost coincides with the Italian Riviera and is popular with tourists for its beaches, towns, and cuisine.
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy from his golpe in 1922 to 1943, and Duce of Fascism from 1919 to his execution in 1945 during the Italian civil war. As dictator of Italy and founder of fascism, Mussolini inspired several totalitarian rulers such as Adolf Hitler.
Bava became a cinematographer himself in 1939, shooting two short films with Roberto Rossellini. He made his feature debut in the early 1940s. Bava's camerawork was an instrumental factor in developing the screen personas of such stars of the period as Gina Lollobrigida, Steve Reeves and Aldo Fabrizi.
Roberto Gastone Zeffiro Rossellini was an Italian film director, screenwriter, and producer. Rossellini was one of the directors of the Italian neorealist cinema, contributing to the movement with films such as Rome, Open City (1945), Paisan (1946), Germany, Year Zero (1948), and General Della Rovere (1959).
Luigina "Gina" Lollobrigida is an Italian actress, photojournalist and sculptress. She was one of the highest profile European actresses of the 1950s and early 1960s, a period in which she was an international sex symbol.
Stephen Lester Reeves was an American professional bodybuilder, actor, and philanthropist. He was famous in the mid-1950s as a movie star in Italian-made peplum films, playing the protagonist as muscular characters such as Hercules, Goliath, and Sandokan. At the peak of his career, he was the highest-paid actor in Europe.
Bava completed filming I vampiri (aka The Devil's Commandment) for director Riccardo Freda in 1956, a movie now referred to as the first Italian horror film. Bava was originally hired as the cinematographer, but when Freda walked out on the project midway through production, Bava completed the film in several days, even creating the innovative special effects that were needed. He also handled the cinematography and special effects on the 1955 Kirk Douglas epic Ulysses and the 1957 Steve Reeves classic Hercules , two films credited with sparking the Italian sword and sandal genre.
Bava co-directed The Day the Sky Exploded in 1958, the first Italian science fiction film, predating even the sci-fi films of Antonio Margheriti. Because he had no earlier credited experience as a director, the film was credited solely to Paolo Heusch. In 1959, Bava completed Caltiki - the Immortal Monster , again for Riccardo Freda who left the project prematurely, and also worked on the lighting and special effects for 2 Steve Reeves epics, Hercules Unchained and The Giant of Marathon .
In 1960, Bava directed the gothic horror classic Black Sunday , his first solo directorial effort, which made a genre star out of Barbara Steele. His use of light and dark in black-and-white films is widely acclaimed along with his spectacular use of color in films such as Black Sabbath , Kill, Baby... Kill! , Blood and Black Lace and The Whip and the Body .
His work has proved very influential. Bava directed what is now regarded as the earliest of the Italian giallo films, The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and Blood and Black Lace (1964). His 1965 sci-fi/ horror film Planet of the Vampires was a thematic precursor to Alien (1979). Although comic books had served as the basis for countless serials and children's films in Hollywood, Bava's Danger: Diabolik (1968) brought an adult perspective to the genre. Many elements of his 1966 film Kill, Baby... Kill! , regarded by Martin Scorsese as Bava's masterpiece, also appear in the Asian strain of terror film known as J-horror. 1971's A Bay of Blood is considered one of the earliest slasher films, and was explicitly imitated in Friday the 13th Part 2 .
Mario Bava was very disappointed with the theatrical distribution of some of his later films. His Lisa and the Devil (1972) was never picked up by a distributor, and had to be later re-edited by the producer (with new 1975 footage) into an Exorcist-clone retitled House of Exorcism in order to get released. Bava's Semaforo Rosso (1974) was never released theatrically during his lifetime; the film only appeared on Video in the late 1990s, re-edited with some new footage, as Rabid Dogs, and was released again later on DVD in 2007 in a slightly altered version under the title Kidnapped.
In 1977, Bava directed his last horror film, Shock , which was co-directed with his son Lamberto Bava who did the work uncredited. Bava later did special effects matte work on Dario Argento's 1980 film Inferno . Mario Bava died of natural causes on 27 April 1980 at age 65. His doctor had given him a physical just a few days before he died from a sudden heart attack, and had pronounced him in perfect health. Right before Bava's death, he was about to start filming a science fiction film titled Star Riders, a project on which Luigi Cozzi had hoped to collaborate.
Mario Bava's son Lamberto Bava worked for 14 years as Bava's assistant director (beginning with Planet of the Vampires), and went on to become a horror film director on his own. On several of Mario's movies, Mario was credited as John M. Old.Later, Lamberto was sometimes credited as John M. Old, Jr. When Lamberto directed his first solo film Macabre in 1980 and screened the completed work for his father, Mario commented jokingly to Lamberto: "I am very proud of you. Now I can die in peace". (He actually did die less than two months later.)
Several books have been published about Mario Bava: Mario Bava by Pascal Martinet (Edilig, 1984) and Mario Bava edited by Jean-Louis Leutrat (Éditions du Céfal, 1994) in French; Mario Bava by Alberto Pezzotta (Il Castoro Cinema, 1995) in Italian; The Haunted Worlds of Mario Bava by Troy Howarth (FAB Press, 2002) and most recently, the massive critical biography Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark by Tim Lucas (Video Watchdog, 2007; ISBN 0-9633756-1-X).
In 2002, a documentary entitled Mario Bava: Master of the Macabre was released on DVD.
|1943||Sant'Elena, piccola isola||Yes|
|1946||L'Elisir d'amore (The Love Potion)||Yes|
|1947||Uomini e cieli||Yes|
|1948||Natale al campo 119||Yes|
|1949||Anthony of Padua||Yes|
|1949||Follie per l'opera||Yes|
|1950||È arrivato il cavaliere!||Yes|
|1950||Song of Spring||Yes|
|1950||Vita da cani||Yes|
|1950||Her Favourite Husband||Yes|
|1951||La Famiglia Passaguai||Yes|
|1951||Amor non ho... però... però||Yes|
|1951||Cops and Robbers||Yes|
|1951||La Famiglia Passaguai fa fortuna||Yes|
|1952||Papà diventa mamma||Yes|
|1952||Gli Eroi della domenica||Yes|
|1953||Balocchi e Profumi||Yes|
|1953||Il Bacio dell'Aurora||Yes|
|1953||Il Viale della speranza||Yes|
|1954||Hanno rubato un tram||Yes|
|1954||Cose da pazzi||Yes|
|1955||Le avventure di Giacomo Casanova||Yes|
|1956||Roland the Mighty||Yes|
|1956||Città di notte||Yes|
|1956||Beautiful But Dangerous||Yes|
|1956||Mio figlio Nerone (My Son Nero)||Yes|
|1958||The Day the Sky Exploded||Yes||Yes|
|1959||Caltiki - The Immortal Monster||Yes||Yes|
|1959||The Giant of Marathon||Yes||Yes|
|1959||The White Warrior||Yes||Yes|
|1960||Esther and the King||Yes||Yes|
|1961||Hercules in the Haunted World||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1961||Erik the Conqueror||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1961||The Wonders of Aladdin||Yes|
|1961||The Last of the Vikings||Yes|
|1963||The Girl Who Knew Too Much||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1963||The Whip and the Body||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1964||Blood and Black Lace||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1964||The Road to Fort Alamo||Yes||Yes|
|1965||Planet of the Vampires||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1966||Knives of the Avenger||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1966||Kill, Baby, Kill||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1966||Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs||Yes||Yes|
|1968||The Odyssey (made for Italian TV)||Yes||Yes|
|1970||Five Dolls for an August Moon||Yes||Yes|
|1970||Hatchet for the Honeymoon||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1970||Roy Colt & Winchester Jack||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1971||A Bay of Blood||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1972||Four Times That Night||Yes||Yes|
|1972||Lisa and the Devil||Yes||Yes|
|1974||Rabid Dogs (aka Kidnapped)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1979||La Venere d'Ille (The Venus of the Island)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Sword-and-sandal, also known as peplum, is a genre of largely Italian-made historical or Biblical epics mostly set in the Greco-Roman or medieval period. These films attempted to emulate the big-budget Hollywood historical epics of the time, such as Spartacus, Samson and Delilah and The Ten Commandments. These films dominated the Italian film industry from 1958 to 1965, eventually being replaced in 1965 by the Spaghetti Western and Eurospy films.
Giallo is a 20th-century Italian genre of literature and film. Especially outside Italy, giallo refers specifically to a particular Italian thriller-horror genre that has mystery or detective elements and often contains slasher, crime fiction, psychological thriller, psychological horror, sexploitation, and, less frequently, supernatural horror elements. In Italy, the term generally denotes thrillers, typically of the crime fiction, mystery, and horror subgenres, regardless of the country of origin.
Lamberto Bava is an Italian film director. Born in Rome, Bava began working as an assistant director for his director father Mario Bava. Lamberto co-directed the 1979 television film La Venere d'Ille with his father and in 1980 directed his first solo feature film Macabre.
Riccardo Freda was an Italian film director. He worked in a variety of genres, including sword-and-sandal, horror, giallo and spy films.
The Whip and the Body is a 1963 gothic horror film directed by Mario Bava under the alias "John M. Old". The film is about Kurt Menliff who is ostracized by his father for his relationship with a servant girl and her eventual suicide. He later returns to reclaim his title and his former fiancée Nevenka who is now his brother's wife. Menliff is later found murdered, but the locals believe his ghost has returned to haunt the castle for revenge.
I Vampiri is a 1957 Italian horror film. The film was directed by Riccardo Freda and completed by the film's cinematographer, Mario Bava. It stars Gianna Maria Canale, Carlo D'Angelo and Dario Michaelis. The film is about a series of murders on young women who are found with their blood drained. The newspapers report on a killer known as the Vampire, which prompts young journalist Pierre Lantin to research the crimes. Lantin investigates the mysterious Du Grand family who lives in a castle occupied by Gisele Du Grand who is in love with Lantin. She lives with her aunt, who hides her face in a veil, as well as the scientist Julian Du Grand, who is trying to find the secret to eternal youth.
A Bay of Blood, also known as Carnage, Twitch of the Death Nerve and Blood Bath, is a 1971 Italian giallo film directed by Mario Bava. Bava co-wrote the screenplay with Giuseppe Zaccariello, Filippo Ottoni, and Sergio Canevari, with story credit given to Dardano Sacchetti and Franco Barberi. The film stars Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli and Laura Betti. Carlo Rambaldi created the gruesome special make-up effects. The story details the simultaneous murderous activities of several different characters as they each attempt to remove any human obstacles that stand in the way of an inheritance of a bay.
Caltiki – The Immortal Monster is a 1959 black-and-white science fiction-horror film. The film's storyline concerns a team of archaeologists investigating Mayan ruins, who come across a creature that is a shapeless, amorphous blob. They manage to defeat it using fire, while keeping a sample of the creature. Meanwhile, a comet is due to pass close to the Earth, the very same comet that passed near the Earth at the time the Mayan civilization collapsed, raising the question: "Is there a connection between the creature and the comet"?
Hercules in the Haunted World is a 1961 Italian sword-and-sandal film directed by Mario Bava. British bodybuilder Reg Park plays Hercules while British actor Christopher Lee appears as Hercules' nemesis Lico. Shooting at Cinecittà, director Mario Bava used some of the same sets from the earlier Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis which had already starred Reg Park.
Nightmare Castle is a 1965 Italian horror film directed by Mario Caiano. The film stars Paul Muller, Helga Liné and Barbara Steele in a dual role.
Kill, Baby, Kill is a 1966 Italian horror film directed by Mario Bava and starring Giacomo Rossi-Stuart and Erika Blanc. Based on a story co-written by Bava, Romano Migliorini, and Roberto Natale, the film focuses on a small village in the early 1900s that is being terrorized by the ghost of a murderous young girl.
Dinner with a Vampire is a 1989 Italian television horror film directed by Lamberto Bava and written by Dardano Sacchetti. It was among four films made for the Italian television series Brivido Giallo.
Fantafestival is a film festival devoted to science fiction, fantasy and horror film that has been held annually in Italy since 1981.
Macabre is a 1980 Italian horror film directed by Lamberto Bava.
Franco Delli Colli was an Italian film cinematographer.
Rabid Dogs is an Italian film directed by Mario Bava, starring Riccardo Cucciolla, Don Backy, Lea Lander, Maurice Poli, George Eastman and Erika Dario. Taking place largely in real time, the film follows a trio of payroll robbers who kidnap a young woman and force a man with a sick child to be their getaway driver, all while trying to avoid being caught by the police.
Castle of the Living Dead is a 1964 horror film directed by Warren Kiefer. The film is set in France in the early 19th century after the Napoleonic wars where a traveling circus visits the castle of the Count Drago. Drago's habit of experimenting on animals is revealed and the visitors are about to become unwilling participants before they are rescued by a dwarf.