Mario Bava

Mario Bava

Highest Rated: 88% Kill, Baby, Kill (Operazione paura) (Curse of the Living Dead) (Don't Walk in the Park) (1966)

Lowest Rated: 14% Baron Blood (Gli Orrori del Castello di Norimberga) (1972)

Birthday: Jul 31, 1914

Birthplace: San Remo, Liguria, Italy

A former painter whose cinematic compositions were often as lush and gorgeous as any portrait, Italian cinematographer-turned-director Mario Bava developed a reputation as a master celluloid illusionist in addition to creating some of the most gothic and haunting films in Italian cinema history. His influence passing down through such directors as Dario Argento and Martin Scorsese decades after his death, Bava's skill at matte painting and camera trickery earned him a reputation as one of the most resourceful directors of his generation. The son of painter-turned-cinematographer Eugenio Bava (who photographed such silent era epics as Quo Vadis? [1914] in addition to serving as special-effects technician on the same year's Cabiria), Mario spent his youth immersed in film, eventually following in his father's footsteps after serving as his assistant for many years. Instilled with a strong sense of composition and a solid understanding of optical effects, Mario set about directing a series of short films before embarking on a successful career as a cinematographer. Bava Refined his skills for such directors as Jacques Tourneur and Riccardo Freda, and it was Freda who would ultimately give Bava his break as a director while shooting I, Vampiri (released stateside as The Devil's Commandment). Historically significant as the first Italian horror film of the sound era, Bava overtook directing duties following Freda's abandonment of the project after being denied an extension. After filming half of the film's 12-day schedule in a mere two days, Bava received a reputation as the man to call if a film needed rescuing. Though the film only found moderate success, it inspired a slew of gothic-themed horror films and Bava continued to salvage numerous films. Credited with saving Tourneur's La Battaglia di Maratona before once again being called upon to step in for Freda to salvage Caltiki (both 1959), Caltiki's producer was so grateful that he offered Bava the opportunity to make his directorial debut with the project of his choice. A follower of Russian literature, Bava utilized Nikolai Gogol's Vij and his affection for the lavish films of Hammer Studios as the springboard to what would become one of the finest films of his career, La Maschera del Demonio (Black Sunday). The resulting film, with its striking gothic visuals, superb black-and-white photography, and otherworldly beauty of star Barbara Steele, launched Bava's career full force and found international success. As beautiful as that film was, it was in color that Bava would create some of his most painterly and memorable images. Utilizing primary colors to depict Hercules' journey into the depths of hell in Ercole al centro della terra (Hercules in the Haunted World) (1961) as well as recapturing the gothic sensibilities of Maschera in such films as the controversial La Frusta e il Corpo (The Whip and the Body), I Tre volti della paura (Black Sabbath) (both 1963), Operazione Paura (Curse of the Living Dead) (1966), and Gli Orrori del castello di Norimberga (Baron Blood) (1972), Bava would also gain credit as one of the forefathers of the lucrative Italian giallo film, named after the lurid crime novels that served as inspiration for the films. Sei donne per l'assassino (Blood and Black Lace) once again found Bava inspiring a popular trend in contemporary cinema, though as with Maschera, he would continue to explore new realms of film instead of becoming pigeonholed into one specific genre. Later tackling such genres as science fiction (1965's Terrore nello spazio [Planet of the Vampires]) and pop art (1966's Spie vengono dal semifreddo [Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs]), and 1968's Diabolik (Danger: Diabolik), the beauty of Bava's strikingly visual films could almost be considered paintings brought to life. Such later Bava films as Antefatto (Bay of Blood) (1971) would predate the trend of American slasher films such as Friday the 13th (1980) by nearly a decade, with Friday and

Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre Actor 2000
No Score Yet Beyond the Door II (Schock) (Suspense) Director 1977
78% Rabid Dogs (Cani arrabbiati) (Kidnapped) ( A Man and a Boy) Director 1974
62% Lisa And The Devil (Lisa e il diavolo) (The Devil in the House of Exorcism) Director Screenwriter 1973
14% Baron Blood (Gli Orrori del Castello di Norimberga) Director 1972
No Score Yet Four Times That Night Director 1972
85% Reazione a catena (A Bay of Blood) (Twitch of the Death Nerve) Director Screenwriter 1972
No Score Yet Roy Colt e Winchester Jack (Roy Colt and Winchester Jack) Director 1970
50% Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Il rosso segno della follia) Screenwriter Director 1970
No Score Yet 5 Bambole per la Luna d'Agosto (5 Dolls For an August Moon) Director 1970
67% Danger: Diabolik Screenwriter Director 1968
No Score Yet Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs Director 1966
88% Kill, Baby, Kill (Operazione paura) (Curse of the Living Dead) (Don't Walk in the Park) Screenwriter Director 1966
No Score Yet Knives of the Avenger Director 1966
73% Terrore nello spazio (Planet of the Vampires) Screenwriter Director 1965
86% Blood and Black Lace (Sei donne per l'assassino) Director Screenwriter 1964
71% La frusta e il corpo (The Whip and The Body) Director 1963
88% Black Sabbath (I Tre volti della paura) (The Three Faces of Fear) (The Three Faces of Terror) Screenwriter Director 1963
71% Evil Eye (La ragazza che sapeva troppo) Director 1963
No Score Yet Le meraviglie di Aladino (The Wonders of Aladdin) Director 1961
No Score Yet Gli Invasori (The Invaders) (Erik the Conqueror) (Fury of the Vikings) Screenwriter Director 1961
57% Hercules in the Haunted World Director Screenwriter 1961
86% Black Sunday Screenwriter Director 1960
40% Esther and the King Screenwriter 1960
No Score Yet Seddok, l'Erede di Satana (Atom Age Vampire) Producer 1960
No Score Yet Caltiki - il mostro immortale (Caltiki the Undying Monster) Director 1959


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