Thursday, March 08, 2007

A Birthday Ghost

Precursor to Fellini and Del Toro's specters: Mario Bava's Melissa Graps (played by boy Valerio Valeri, and no doubt the inspiration for a key element in Mario's son Lamberto Bava's later giallo A Blade in the Dark) from Kill, Baby... Kill!, now on DVD from Dark Sky.

Not much to write today, due to a very busy Thursday ahead, including guest artist visit from Rick Veitch to enrich the CCS experience. I'll post properly tomorrow, AM.

Big thank you to Tim and Donna Lucas for the early birthday gift of Dark Sky's DVD release of Kill, Baby... Kill!, original title Operazione Paura (1966), which I steeped myself in the past couple of days. It's a terrific disc, stem to stern, and by far the best this Bava gem has looked since its original theatrical showing. In fact, it looks a whole lot better than the theatrical venues I caught it in (twice, on the big drive-in screen, under its Curse of the Living Dead incarnation in the Orgy of the Living Dead triple-bill that unreeled across the US in the early '70s), and it sounds better, too, via digital sound restoration which puts the tinny ol' drive-in speakers in the dirt they often ended up in.

I know this particular Bava film isn't for all tastes -- I've loaned it to friends who love ghost movies, but hated this film ("too slow") -- but it's among my favorite films of all time. Bava's cinematic creation of an ethereal, haunted netherworld defined certain corners of my own visual imagination in ways that render it critic-proof, as many formative experiences remain -- and seeing such a primal experience in such a splendid restoration of color, light and movement is intoxicating in and of itself.

So, take my recommendation with a grain of salt, if you must, but that's beside the point: Thank you, Tim and Donna!

BTW, Tim's far more eloquent discussions of Kill, Baby... Kill! and all things Bava -- and much, much more -- await you
  • at Tim's Video Watchblog, always worth a read.

  • A special thanks, too, to Phil for the birthday bash package that arrived yesterday at CCS -- I am already deep into reading the excellent Dinosaurs in Fantastic Fiction: A Thematic Survey by Allen A. Debus, for which I particularly thank you! Extraordinary book. Back in 1996, I was working on a Tyrant Media Guide, given the dirth of literature on dinosaurian media; well, that's all changed in the ensuing decade, hasn't it? McFarland alone has issued at least three books covering various aspects of the genre, though Debus's book is by far the best of the McFarland brood to date. I appreciate everything else in the package, too, Phil, but this is a real sweet treat I didn't even know existed. Thank you!

    OK, off to work -- have a great Thursday --

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