BLOOD AND BLACK LACE
SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO
1964, AGFA, 88 min, Italy/France/Monaco, Dir: Mario Bava

This fiendishly simple story of models at a fashion salon being stalked by a gruesomely imaginative killer is often credited as the film that started the Italian giallo (sexy suspense thriller) craze that mushroomed in the 1960s and 1970s. Bava’s cast of characters is a fascinating catalogue of beautiful but flawed women and the men in their lives – self-seeking neurotics, alcoholics, addicts, lechers and psychotics. The director’s color palette is awesome to behold. With Eva Bartok, Cameron Mitchell. “…shares with FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON and BAY OF BLOOD a crystallization of the director's worldview, where the tension between opulent surfaces and moral dislocation hint at a closer affinity with Antonioni than is usually perceived. … Not for nothing is his exquisite feel for design, décor, color, and movement tied to the endless cataloging of human sin, with beauty and ugliness, like desire and dread, forever leaking into one another.” – Fernando F. Croce, SlantMagazine.com.


LISA AND THE DEVIL
LISA E IL DIAVOLO
1972, NAOR World Media Films, 95 min, Italy/West Germany/Spain, Dir: Mario Bava

First released in the USA in an alternate edit with some different footage as THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM (to phenomenal success), this is one of Bava’s masterworks. Tourist Elke Sommer is lured by devil Telly Savalas into a household of white lilies and rotting corpses. Caught in a time warp of decadent, aristocratic decay and horrifying, half-remembered memories of a fatal amour fou, Sommer tries desperately to find her way out of the nightmare. But there may be no escape. Elegiac and dreamlike, with Bava’s own poetic brand of morbid, melancholic lyricism. “Beautifully filmed and exquisitely scored by Carlo Savina … as much a dreamy art film as it is a European horror opus. Many of the images rank among Bava's best … with a strange and haunting finale that offers several levels of interpretation.” – Mondo-Digital.com; “…a hauntingly beautiful poem about decay and death.” - Phil Hardy, Overlook Film Encyclopedia of Horror.


BARON BLOOD
GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NORIMBERGA
1972, NAOR World Media Films, 100 min, Italy/West Germany, Dir: Mario Bava

Lovely Elke Sommer is menaced by Joseph Cotten, a 400-year-old sadistic nobleman bent on restoring his youth in Bava’s gruesome, Grand Guignol Gothic. With Massimo Girotti, Rada Rassimov. “… an almost Technicolor richness that encompasses a wide range of styles, from an enameled hardness that recalls the work of Douglas Sirk to a luminous, painterly vividness based on Bava’s fondness for color gels and his endlessly churning fog machine … ultimately a heady exercise in style, with several brilliantly mounted sequences; a convincing, insistent air of horror; and some unforgettable imagery.” – Gary Morris, Images Movie Journal.


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