Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mini Bio - Lamberto Bava

imagebam.comThough known mainly for his Demons films, Lamberto Bava started directing at a much younger age. Born in Rome on the 3rd of April, 1944, he was the son of Italian horror legend Mario Bava, who helped Lamberto get into the film industry by making him assistant director to some of his films, including Planet of the Vampires, Rabid Dogs, La Venere D'Ille, and Shock. Lamberto was also assistant director to Dario Argento in his films Inferno and Tenebre. Bava made his directorial debut with 1980's Macabre, two months after which his father died. Soon after, he was approached to film a four-part miniseries for TV, A Blade In The Dark, which was considered too violent for home audiences and was recut and made into a full length film. His popularity soared after the release of Demons and Demons 2, after which he began directing more made-for-TV thriller series. His foray into the realm of fantasy, the Fantaghiro series, was quite popular as well. To this day he still directs for TV, and releases the occasional film.

Selected Filmography:

Macabre (1980)
A Blade in the Dark (1983)
Cruel Jaws (1984)
Demons (1985)
You Will Die at Midnight (1986)
Demons 2 (1986)
Delirium: Photo of Gioia (1987)
Turno Di Notte (6 episodes for TV) (1987)
Prince of Terror (1988)
The Man Who Didn't Want to Die (1988)
Brivido Giallo TV Series (1987/88) - Demons 3 / The Ogre
- Dinner With a Vampire
- Until Death
- Graveyard Disturbance
School of Fear (1989)
Black Sunday / Mask of the Demon (1989)
Eyewitness (1990/91)
Body Puzzle (1992)
The Torturer (2005)
Ghost Son (2010)

*Thanks to IMDB for the info and Bikestar.org for the photo.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

THE SCORPION WITH TWO TAILS aka Murder In An Etruscan Cemetery

(Sergio Martino, 1982)
Equal parts giallo, horror, fantasy, and crime drama, The Scorpion With Two Tails is one odd mishmash of a film. Joan Barnard (Elvira Audray) has recurring nightmares of being in a smoke-filled grotto and witnessing an ancient Etruscan sacrificial ceremony wherein the victims have their necks broken and their heads twisted completely around. She is also plagued by the maggot-filled omen of her husband Arthur`s (John Saxon) death.
Soon after, Arthur, an archaeologist excavating a newly discovered Etruscan tomb, is murdered and found with his head twisted backwards. Before dying, he informs Joan of the grotto with which she is already familiar, and she sets out to unmask her husband`s killer and the meaning of her dreams. To thicken the plot, Joan`s father is revealed to have been in some as-yet unfinished shady business with Arthur, and he intends to use Joan to lead him to a large cache of cocaine hidden in the grotto.
Despite the familiar cast and Fabio Frizzi score (some of which was borrowed from the City of the Living Dead soundtrack) TSWTT is an intensely boring film. As a horror film it fails, and despite the nifty head-twisting there is no gore at all. As a giallo it fails, as the deaths are supernatural and the requisite gore, sex, and sleaze are all absent. It fails as a crime drama, as there is too little action (and gore again!). As a fantasy film, it does work to a degree.
Horror and crime bits aside, it almost plays out like an overly-long game of Dungeons and Dragons. Most of the budget was obviously spent on dry ice and foam rock, giving it a foggy, dreamy feel at times, which is punctuated by the equally dreamy soundtrack. The problem with that is, since there is no action to speak of, many a viewer may nod off after the first 30 minutes. Not highly recommended, unless as hangover viewing on a Sunday afternoon. Buy it here.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


(Maurizio Pradeaux, 1973)
I'm sure my opinions will be from here out dismissed, but I actually enjoyed Death Carries a Cane, despite the fact that it's obviously inspired by the work of Dario Argento and adds nothing new to the genre.
Through a coin-operated telescope, Kitty (Susan Scott) spies a woman being murdered. The timer runs out before she can see the killer's face, and initially her boyfriend Alberto (Robert Hoffman) disbelieves her. The police, however, do find a corpse that matches the description given by Kitty, and an investigation is undertaken. Kitty and Alberto learn that the killer was not only seen by Kitty, but by a number of others whom are bumped off by the cane and razor-wielding assassin before they can be properly questioned.
The story is pretty run-of the mill, but it does feature some nifty lighting and camerawork. The emphasis on voyeurism within this film cannot be missed, as someone is always spying through a telescope or camera. It contains all the trademark giallo elements, including the ol`straight razor `n gloves, plenty of red herrings, nudity, prostitutes, a striptease, etc. The deaths are nice and bloody, and the soundtrack is pretty groovy too. Naturally, it`s all let down by a slightly nonsensical ending, but worth a view. Still not available in North America.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


(Carlo Lizzani, 1983)
Franca and her husband Antonio want to sell a yellow antique rug given to her by her stepfather so they place an advertisement in the paper. Soon enough a man calls in response to the ad and stops by Franca`s apartment while Antonio is conveniently absent. Franca lets the man in but soon regrets doing so as he invites himself to coffee and begins playing mind games with her. Things go from bad to worse when it becomes apparent that Antonio is not returning and the stranger in her home begins to speak of having gone to jail for killing his wife...
The first half of this throwback to the golden age of gialli is tense, menacing, and moves at a brisk pace. The by-then outdated score by Stelvio Cipriani keeps things swinging despite the lazy camerawork and muted colour palette. Pity it`s all undone in the second half for no reason other than to include as many twists as possible. All logic is thrown out the window at this point, and the story grows less credible and, unfortunately, less interesting as it continues.
What might have been a nifty little psychological thriller instead turns out to be a lame Hitchcock wannabe, but with none of Hitch`s humor or style. Recommended for die-hard fans of the genre only, and just as well as it`s not yet seen a DVD or Bluray release.