By Howard Hughes
Do not believe in what you think you see. Creeping mist, the milky fog of terror that can obscure untold dangers and shroud the confines of limited studio sets. Splashes of colour – purple, blue, green, deep red – a spectral spectrum, flooding the spaces between the darkness. Do you believe in ghosts? You must admit that there are things that frighten us. What’s that strange shadow on the wall, or that flickering candle in the derelict crypt? Is it a trick of the light, or a trick of your imagination? That old castle perched on the cliff looks real, but it could simply be a photograph. And those hundreds of extras. A multiple-exposure? In the illusory world of cinema, would you like to learn what is real and what is unreal? Come closer please, I’ve something to tell you. Ladies and gentlemen, this is Mario Bava.
Mario Bava is one of the great Italian directors and the father of Italian horror. His beautifully-photographed, artfully-crafted films are the worthy legacy of this talented director, whose work is seen at its very best in this digital age on DVD and Blu-ray, as a triumph of visual design. ‘Destination Terror’ tells his story.
The son of a special effects pioneer, Mario Bava began his film career as a cinematographer, before moving into directing, almost by chance. Those who worked with him maintained that he regarded himself as first and foremost a cinematographer and only secondly as a director. His horror films include the groundbreaking ‘The Mask of Satan’ (also known as ‘Black Sunday’), the three-part demonthology ‘Black Sabbath’, the murderous ‘Blood and Black Lace’ and the archetypal bodycount thriller ‘A Bay of Blood’ (or ‘Twitch of the Death Nerve’). He also made ‘Kill, Baby…Kill!’, ‘The Whip and the Body’, ‘Baron Blood’ and ‘Lisa and the Devil’, which ensure him a place in the pantheon of great horror film directors. But Bava worked successfully in a variety of genres, making the comic book crime caper ‘Danger: Diabolik’, the fantastical sword-and-sandal epic ‘Hercules in the Centre of the Earth’ (also called ‘Hercules in the Haunted World’), Viking adventures like ‘Erik the Conqueror’, the sci-fi horror ‘Planet of the Vampires’ and sex comedies, creature features, slapstick farces and spaghetti westerns. All these films and more are featured in this entertaining guide to the King of Italian Gothic Horror. Also discussed is Bava’s output as a cinematographer and special effects artist, his uncompleted projects and made-for-TV films, and his work’s availability on DVD and videotape, including the many different versions of his films.
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For more information check out Howard Hughes’ blog: http://filmgoersguide.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/mario-bava-destination-terror/