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Mario Bava - A Biography

by Mike Haberfelner

May 2008

Films directed by Mario Bava on (re)Search my Trash


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Since the late 1950's, Italy has had a rich history in horror cinema, and it has spawned quite a number of cult genre directors, Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci [Lucio Fulci bio - click here] immediately come to mind, maybe also Ruggero Deodato [Ruggero Deodato - bio click here] and Sergio Martino, and probably many many more ... but there is one director without whom the Italian horror film wouldn't have become what it is (or at least what it was during its heyday in the 1970's and 80's), and that man is of course Mario Bava.

Now Mario Bava did not start Italian post-war horror cinema altogether (though he did collaborate on the initial post war shocker), and on a plot level, most of his films were less than exceptional (and not even all that original actually) - but he gave to the Italian horror movie that one element that sets it (or at least its best examples) apart from shockers from almost everywhere else in the world: style.

Mario Bava's films might often have been slightly silly and derivative, but they were always exceptionally stylish, something which can also be seen in virtually all of Dario Argento's films, in Lucio Fulci's best, and in at least the early gialli of Sergio Martino.

That Bava's films always featured an incredibly rich imagery should come as no surprise though since before becoming a director he was trained as a painter and could also look back on a long career as cinematographer. Plus his father ... but I'm getting ahead of myself here.



Early Life, Early Career


Mario Bava was born in 1914 in San Remo, Italy. Mario's father was Eugenio Bava, who was a learned sculptor and painter, but in the early Italian film industry he made himself a name as a cinematographer and special effects pioneer, and he worked on many an Italian classic of early cinema, like Quo Vadis (1912, Enrico Guazzoni), according to some sources the first feature film and first epic movie ever, and Cabiria (1914, Giovanni Pastrone), the film that gave the world Maciste (in the form of actor Bartolomeo Pagano), on which Bava senior worked as special effects director and was among other things responsible for the outbreak of Mount Vesuvius and the destruction of the Roman fleet - effects that look impressive to this very day. Cabiria, international success that it was, is said to have influenced D.W. Griffith when making his groundbreaking Intolerance in 1916.


Based on this, it's save to say that Mario Bava grew up with film, even though his father was in films only second and a sculptor first, mainly making sculptures for churches - an influence that can be felt on Bava's gothic films at least.


Growing up, young Mario Bava studied to be a painter, but financial difficulties and restricive university politics in fascist Italy eventually forced Bava to give up his studies and join his father at the Istituto LUCE (= L'Unione Cinematografica Educativa), where Eugenio Bava was head of optical effects, and as his father's assistant, young Mario soon learned how to handle a camera as well as can be - and by the end of the 1930's, he had become a cinematographer in his own right.


In the 1940's, Mario Bava, not forgetting his love for the fine arts, directed a series of documentaries on art-subjects, but it was his work as cinematographer for various name-directors that have influenced his work much more, directors like Roberto Rossellini (the 1939-shorts La Vispa Teresa/Lively Teresa and Il Tacchino Prepotente/The Bullying Turkey and 1942's feature La Nave Bianca/The White Ship), Pietro Francisci (Natale al Campo 119/Christmas in Camp 119 [1948], Antonio di Padova/Anthony of Padova [1949], Orlando e i Paladioni di Francia/Roland the Mighty [1956], Le Fatiche di Ercole/Hercules [1958] and Ercole e la Regina di Lidia/Hercules Unchained [1959]), Vittorio De Sica (Villa Borghese/It Happened in the Park [1953], co-directed with Gianni Franciolini), G.W.Pabst (Cose da Pazzi [1954]), Jacques Tourneur (La Battaglia di Maratona/Giant of Marathon [1959]) and Raoul Walsh (Esther e il Re/Esther and the King [1960]), as well as his personal friend, Riccardo Freda (I Vampiri/The Devil's Commandment [1956] and Caltiki - Il Mostro Immortale/Caltiki, the Immortal Monster [1959]) - with especially Freda's films being important for Bava's later career, and The Devil's Commandment being widely credited as the first Italian post-war horror film ever.



Fact is though, Bava's involvement with many of the films he worked on in the late 1950's has been vastly exaggerated, if you believe certain sources, he has virtually directed the two Hercules films,  The Devil's Commandment, Caltiki, the Immortal Monster, Giant of Marathon and Esther and the King as well as Ulisse/Ulysses (1954, Mario Camerini) and Le Meraviglie di Aladino/The Wonders of Aladdin (1961, Henry Levin) - with some sources even going so far as crediting half the Italian movie output of that era to Bava (and the other to Sergio Leone, for that matter) -, but the truth is probably much more mundane: While it is true that he directed some special effects sequences in Ulysses (which would qualify him as special effects director, not director as such, a significant enough difference) and was second unit director on The Wonders of Aladdin, and while even Freda admitted that he finished both The Devil's Commandment and Caltiki, the Immortal Monster as a director, and he probably also put some finishing touches on Giant of Marathon and Esther and the King, it remains questionable at best if he had any creative input in either of these films or if he simply followed a shooting script/storyboard made up by the respective director - which is my best guess actually because neither of these films had the Bava-touch that very distinctively came to the fore in even Bava's very first film as a director, La Maschera del Demonio/Black Sunday (1960). In fact, both The Devil's Commandment and Caltiki, the Immortal Monster look exactly like Freda-films, even if he didn't finish them, and Giant of Marathon is just your typical peplum ...

Another legend tells that Freda deliberately left both The Devil's Commandment and Caltiki, the Immortal Monster to virtually push Bava, whom he knew to be talented enough, into the directing chair ... which once again might be a slight exaggeration, it's much more probable that Freda left the films over monetary reasons or because he just didn't feel treated right, but whatever - saving Caltiki, the Immortal Monster and Giant of Marathon eventually prompted production company Galatea Film to give young Mario Bava (who was by that time already 45 years old) a shot at directing his first film as director in his own right ...



Mario Bava, the Horror Director of the 1960's


Why Mario Bava's first film would turn out to be La Maschera del Demonio/Black Sunday (1960), an adaptation of Nikolai Gogol's The Viy, is once again obscured by legend, legend that states that Galatea were giving Bava carte blanche for his very first feature film,and he just happened to choose that story - once again highly unlikely a tale, since studios who give someone the chance to make his directorial debut are not likely to just give him carte blanche -  in the world of commercial filmmaking, that would be suicide. But of course, they might have discussed possible projects with Bava, and since thanks to Hammer's gothics horror has once again become a bankable genre, they might have agreed on The Viy, a period piece on witchcraft, rather quickly, especially since it was to be co-scripted by Ennio De Concini, a versatile scriptwriter frequently in employ of Galatea Film.


Be that as it may, Black Sunday turned out to be a milestone in Italian horror, an incredibly stylish shocker and an extremely impressive debut film - that clearly shows Bava's cinematographer origins, because while the story of the film about a resurrected witch (Barbara Steele, whose horror career was launched with this film [Barbara Steele bio - click here]) wanting to be reborn in the body of her offspring (Steele again) is less than special (and actually a bit silly), the film is virtually a visual feast, using its black-and-white cinematography to the fullest (and most creepy) effect, and ably demonstrating that horror relies not so much on story as it does on atmosphere ... and even in his first film, Bava demonstrated there's hardly anyone better than him when it comes to creating a haunting atmosphere.


The Italian film industry as a whole however did not immediately put its trust in Bava as a horror director, and thus after the success of Black Sunday, he was assigned to two period pieces, the peplum Ercole al Centro della Terra/Hercules in the Haunted World (1961) and the viking-movie Gil Invasori/Erik the Conquerer/The Invaders (1961). 

The Invaders on one hand was your typical (if rather campy) genre stuff with Cameron Mitchell (who was previously cast as a viking in L'Ultimo dei Vikinghi/Last fo the Vikings [1961] by Giacomo Gentilomo) in the lead plus twins Alice and Ellen Kessler playing - well, twins, one good one evil.

On the other hand though, with Hercules in the Haunted World, Bava went over the top, and enjoyably so, as he sent mythical strongman Hercules (Reg Park) straight to Hades to battle a vampire-like Christopher Lee, then a hot new horror star. As to why Hercules has to do that is actually only of minor importance, the film is once again less carried by its story than by its atmosphere - though Hercules in the Haunted World certainly is no Black Sunday, and its atmosphere is made up from a campy clash between sword-and-sandal and horror motives, with Bava proving (if nothing else) his ability to get the most out of cheap sets often obviously made from cardboard. And it has to be stated, Hercules in the Haunted World certainly is no classic, no classic of any genre - but that said, it's also much fun to watch !!!


While both Hercules in the Haunted World and Erik the Conquerer were shot in colour (and both saw the use of primary colours in a way reminiscent of comicbooks), it was back to the black and white of Black Sunday for his next film, La Ragazza che Sapeva Troppo/The Girl who Knew too Much (1963) - but it was also back to the horror genre ... or at least the thriller to be more precise. And while for Hercules in the Haunted World and Erik the Conquerer Bava was little more than a hired hand - even if he left personal touches on both of them -, The Girl who Knew too Much is closer to Bava's own predilections in both style and plot: The film tells the story of an American girl (Letícia Román) witnessing a murder in Rome, starting to investigate on her own with the help of a sympathetic doctor (John Saxon [John Saxon bio - click here]) - and all of a sudden, she finds herself on the run from a psychotic serialkiller.

From today's point of view, the story of the film might sound hardly exciting, but seen in its historical context, The Girl who Knew too Much is nothing short of the prototype of the giallo genre, the specifically Italian version of the murder mystery often involving a serialkiller, horror motives, and style-over-content directorial efforts, a genre that didn't come into full swing until the late 1960's/early 70's and that Bava over the years helped to develop. It should be pointed out though that The Girl who Knew too Much is not a full-blown giallo - sure, Bava's direction is suitably stylish (it seems he can't direct another way), and the story elements are all there, but the film lacks the violence of your typical genre film and the murder setpieces that would become a fixture of later movies (including Bava's).


While The Girl who Knew too Much was only borderline horror, Bava's next film, I Tre Volti della Paura/Black Sabbath (1963) was once again a full-blown shocker ... or three shockers rather, since it is a anthology movie. In this film, very loosely based on the works of Guy de Maupassant, Aleksei Tolstoy and Ivan Chekhov, Bava ably demonstrated that he could master the many variations of the horror genre, since each of the film's episodes differs from the others rather vastly: The first episode is a suspense piece set in present times that once again anticipates giallo motives, the second story is a period piece, a gothic tale about vampires set in snow covered Eastern Europe starring Boris Karloff [Boris Karloff bio - click here], and the last segment is a particularly mean ghost story - with the three stories only having that much in common that they are all extremely effectively directed (and once more in glorious colour, too). Now one could probably fault the film for being quite as heterogenous as it is and missing a recurrent theme holding its segments together (which is probably why in many foreign releases - including the American release - the order of the stories has been changed quite deliberately), but based on the strength of each of its three stories alone, Black Sabbath is well worth a look.

Bava followed up Black Sabbath with La Frusta e il Corpo/The Whip and the Body in later 1963, a gothic starring Christopher Lee, Daliah Lavi and Tony Kendall. But though The Whip and the Body is stylishly enough directed, makes excessive use of primary colours, shows strong sadomasochist undercurrents, and it's a favourite with many of Bava's fans, it is not one of his better films, its story is just too clichéed and too convoluted and at the same time pretty silly and unbelievable to really stand out in his filmography (even if taken by its own merits, the film is still totally watchable).


Bava's next film, Sei Donne per l'Assassino/Blood and Black Lace (1964) would be a much more important movie, not so much for his own career but for Italian genre cinema as a whole, as it is generally considered to be the first ever giallo. In the film starring Cameron Mitchell and Eva Bartok as a murdering couple in the fashion world, all the elements only hinted at in The Girl who Knew too Much fall into place quite comfortably, from the overly convoluted plot to the masked killer, from horror and S/M undercurrents to gruesome murders, all held together once more by Bava's stylish direction. Despite its historical significance though, Blood and Black Lace is once again not among Bava's best films, his very visual directorial style clashes with the over-convoluted plot a few times to often, but once again, this is not to say the film isn't totally watchable.


Despite having made a name of himself as horror director, Bava next left the genre behind once more to make a Western, La Strada per Fort Alamo/Arizona Bill/The Road to Fort Alamo (1964), which came out only a few weeks after Per un Pugno delli Dollari/A Fistful of Dollars (1964, Sergio Leone), the film that got the spaghetti Western genre as such started in the first place. However, while Leone's film was great and trailblazing, Bava's was unimpressive and pointless.

Bava did however, return to the Western genre one more time, with the rather comedic Roy Colt e Winchester Jack/Roy Colt and Winchester Jack, made in 1970 at the height of the spaghetti Western boom. The film, starring Brett Halsey and Charles Southwood in the title roles, was hardly more impressive than The Road to Fort Alamo though. 

(According to some sources, Bava did also direct some portions of Ringo del Nebraska/Savage Gringo [1966] by Antonio Román, however, he didn't get any credit on the film, and [as with many other films in his filmography, see above] it's unclear to what extent he was even involved in it.)


In 1965 however, Mario Bava made another one of his masterpieces and a landmark in sci-fi horrors, Terrore nello Spazio/Planet of the Vampires. The film features a very feeble plot - a spaceship lands on a planet apparently populated by vampires who take out the crew and turn them into vampires one by one -, and its not exactly convincing cardboard sets and weird futuristic outfits don't help the film much either ... but what Bava was able to make out of the little he had was simply astonishing, as he has turned Planet of the Vampires into a virtual textbook example of creating suspense and stylish direction alike and made what essentially looks like silly sci-fi on first sight into one of his tensest movies - and Planet of the Vampires has also influenced countless sci-fi horror movies that came after it, most prominently of course Alien (1979, Ridley Scott).

As ever so often though, after making one of his best horror films, Bava would once again leave the genre as such behind for his next feature, which turned out to be another viking-movie with Cameron Mitchell, I Coltelli del Vendicatore/Knives of the Avenger (1965). But while Bava's earlier viking effort The Invaders was almost excessively campy, Knives of the Avenger is less so, being rather slow in pace and relying on moody landscapes rather than kitsch-sets - and in anything but costumes and sets, Knives of the Avenger actually feels more like a Western than a viking flick - particularly like George Stevens' classic Shane (1953) that is, which Bava's film is highly reminiscent of. The film has certainly not turned out to be one of Bava's better films, but it's still an interesting watch, and when keeping in mind that it (allegedly) took no more than one week to shoot, it turned out remarkably well.

With Operazione Paura/Kill, Baby ... Kill! (1966), a film about a(n alleged) ghost roaming a Carpathian village, Bava returned to horror cinema once again, horror cinema of the gothic variety this time around. And once again, he demonstrates his mastery as a director, as on a story level, Kill, Baby ... Kill! is rather feeble as well as silly, but Bava uses every trick available to him to make the film on one hand as stylish, on the other as suspenseful as possible, and at times the film even defies logic to attain a nightmarish feeling - and what says horror better than a nightmare. All that said, Kill, Baby ... Kill! is not among Bava's best films, quite simply because its story as a whole is just a bit too silly, but it features some images that are hard to forget ...


Speaking of silly: Even sillier was Bava's next film, the Italian-American co-production Spie Vengono dal Semifreddo/Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs (1966), a sequel to Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine (1965, Norman Taurog) on one hand (and thus once again starring Vincent Price [Vincent Price bio - click here] in the title role but replacing Frankie Avalon with Fabian) and a vehicle for popular Italian comics Franco Franchi and Chiccio Ingrassia on the other. The outcome was, simply put, desasterous, maybe mainly because Mario Bava was never big on comedy in the first place


After Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs turned out to be Mario Bava's very probably worst film though, he seemed to turn around completely and make (another) one of his best movies, the comic-adaptation Diabolik/Danger: Diabolik (1968). Sure, in story-terms, Diabolik would be a rather silly superhero (or rather supercriminal) tale, and it was produced by Dino De Laurentiis primarily to cash in on another comic-adaptation of his, Barbarella (1968, Roger Vadim) - hence the same lead, John Phillip Law - but the film is quite simply incredibly slick and stylish (if stylish in a campy way) that it's just a joy to watch. And if you're a comic- or pulp-fan you can't help but loving Diabolik for its pretty much constant over-the-top elements. And even if the film might objectively not be in the same league as Black Sunday, Black Sabbath and Planet of the Vampires, it's nothing short of a masterpiece in its own right.


Bava however did not feel too comforatble working for De Laurentiis. Sure he was granted a bigger budget than ever before (and managed for the film to come in under budget by far, actually), but with more money came a loss of control, something which Bava, used to work on slim budgets in relative independence, couldn't come to terms with, so all he did for De Laurentiis after Diabolik was some special effects work on the TV-miniseries L'Odissea/The Adventures of Ulysses (1968, Franco Rossi, Piero Schivazappa), together with Carlo Rambaldi. 

Still, Mario Bava needn't have worried, because the golden age was just around the corner ... or at least so it seemed.



Climax and Decline in the 1970's


As mentioned above, with his films The Girl who Knew too Much and Blood and Black Lace has pretty much invented the giallo genre, but it wasn't until Dario Argento released his L'Uccello dalle Piome di Cristallo/The Bird with the Crystal Plumage in 1970 that the genre came into full swing and became commercially viable - and all of a sudden, everybody in Italy was doing gialli (just like everybody was doing peplums in the early and Westerns in the late 1960's) ... and since Bava had pretty much fathered the genre, he didn't want to be left out - and of course he wasn't.

5 Bambole per la Luna d'Agusto/Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970), a film starring William Berger, Ira von Fürstenberg and Edwige Fenech, was the first of Bava's 1970's gialli, and it showed all the strengths and weaknesses of the genre, even in the hands of a director of Bava's talents: On the plus side, the film is of course stylishly directed and features many an inventive scene, but the film's plot about businessmen being killed off on an idyllic island is silly to the point of being incomprehensible and is the movie's major letdown.

Il Rosso Segno della Follia/Hatchet for a Honeymoon (1970) on the other hand is quite a bit different from your typical giallo inasmuch as it added black humour to the genre-typical proceedings - and somehow the film about a fashion designer specialized in killing women in bridal gowns until he is haunted by the spirit of his own wife works like a charm, as if irony was the thing the genre had always been lacking (but of course it also helps that Bava's direction is once again flawless and stylish as could be).


After another excursion into the Western genre with above mentioned Roy Colt and Winchester Jack (1970), Bava returned to the giallo once more with Ecologia del Delitto/Bay of Blood/Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), a film that was influential not so much because of its quality, but because it perhaps more than any other giallo anticipated the slasher genre of the late 1970's with its many for its time quite graphic gore scenes, and especially inspired Friday the 13th (1978, Sean S. Cunningham) - but apart from being an influence on a not particularly great genre and quite some screen violence, Bay of Blood is definitely one of Bava's lesser shockers, once again let down by its underdeveloped script.


For Gli Orrori del Castello di Norimberga/Baron Blood (1972), Mario Bava once again turned his back on the giallo genre and returned to gothic horror. However, Baron Blood, despite the presence of Joseph Cotten, probably the biggest name Bava has ever worked with, isn't the triumphant return it could have been: Sure, Bava's direction is stylish as ever, Cotten gives a creepy performance as the titular bad guy, and the main set - an authentic Austrian castle - is almost breathtaking ... but unfortunately, the plot about a young couple (Antonio Cantafora, Elke Sommer) resurrecting a bloodthirsty baron who died 300 years ago is simply too silly and not at all helped by its even sillier finale.


After Baron Blood, Mario Bava went off into a different direction altogether, making Quante Volte ... quella Notte/Four Times that Night (1972), a slightly amusing but not all that important sex comedy that pays hommage to Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon (1950) by telling the same story from four different perspectives - but that's making the film sound more interesting than it actually is.


But while Baron Blood was rather silly and Four Times that Night rather pointless, and while both these films were produced by Italian American Alfredo Leone, Bava's next film, also a Leone-production, would turn out to be his masterpiece: Lisa e il Diavolo/Lisa and the Devil (1973).


Rumour has it that producer Leone was so pleased with the (commercial) results of Baron Blood that he gave Mario Bava a virtual carte blance for his next film (though he probably insisted that it had to be another horror film). The resulting film, Lisa and the Devil starring Elke Sommer and Telly Savalas in the respective title roles, turned out to be unlike any other horrorfilm though, a film that deliberately abandons logic and rational storytelling, and instead of a narrative as such it presents a triplike experience more reminiscent of a nightmare than anything else. Basically the film is about an American tourist (Sommer) in Toledo, Spain losing her group and ending up in a mansion where Savalas seems to be a mere servant, but more and more he turns out to be a Satanic puppeteer (in more senses than one). But a mere synopsis can't even come close to describing the film as such, which is at once Bava's most poetic and most disturbing film, and while his earlier films often suffered from confusing scripts, this time around, the confusing plot works to the film's advantage, is actually the very core of the film as such.


Lisa and the Devil opened in 1973 at the Cannes film festival to ecstatic audiences, and had a few other very successful screenings, but it failed to find a distributor - not all that surprising actually, since it was (and still is) a far-out film that doesn't in the least meet with mainstream audience expectations (which in fact is the very reason the film is such a masterpiece in the first place). Anyways, since producer Alfredo Leone needed to make his money back, he told Mario Bava to shoot a few more scenes featuring a priest and demonic possession to make the film more like The Exorcist (1973, William Friedkin) - and thus, Lisa and the Devil went into distribution in 1975 as La Casa dell'Esorcismo/The House of Exorcism, in a violated version that bore little resemblance to Bava's original intentions. And while Bava was particularly pleased (and rightly so) with Lisa and the Devil as such, he disowned The House of Exorcism.

Thing is, for Alfredo Leone, the changes paid off and The House of Exorcism ultimately became successful enough on a commercial level to make more than its money back. But for years it looked as if he had derived the world of Mario Bava's greatest film by having it recut and reshot - and it wasn't until after Bava's death that an original print of Lisa and the Devil resurfaced, which is by today generally favoured over The House of Exorcism (even though the latter film is often included as a special feature on DVD-releases of Lisa and the Devil as a sort of injoke).


But if Bava's experiences with Lisa and the Devil were bad, his experiences with Cani Arrabbiati/Rabid Dogs/Kidnapped from 1974 were even worse. Rabid Dogs was another attempt to break away from the horror genre, this time with a hard-hitting kidnapping drama that was much grittier than Bava's usual output and had a rough edge to it. And it could have been a whole new direction for Bava's career - but that was something that was just not going to be, as the film's production company went bankrupt only days before shooting was wrapped up, and all the shot material was impounded. For decades to come, Rabid Dogs spent its time on some shelves wherever, until in 1997, it was rediscovered, finished and released, reportedly at the express request and with the participation of lead actress Lea Lander, with a few linking scenes directed by Bava's son Lamberto. The resulting film probably disappointed quite a few Mario Bava films expecting something alont the lines of Lisa and the Devil and being way too geared up by heightened expectations, but in all, Rabid Dogs is a competent and tense thriller that even today still packs a punch.


Mario Bava returned to the horror genre one more time, with Schock/Shock/Beyond the Door II (1977), which would eventually be his last theatrical feature. But reportedly, during most of the film's shoot, Bava was too sick to actually be on set directing, so for the most part, his son Lamberto Bava, also his assistant director for more than a decade, took over direction from Bava's detailed storyboards - and unfortunately it shows in the resulting film as such that Mario Bava's soul was not in the movie: Gone is the visual richness, replaced by a flat TV-thriller style, the horror setpieces sometimes border the ridiculous (especially when lead actress Daria Nicolodi is menaced by a cupboard [!]), and the whole film has a strangely impersonal feel to it. In a word, Shock, a silly little tale about a haunted house and a boy possessed by his ghost dad, is definitely not the film Bava should have ended his career with

After Shock it seems that Mario Bava gradually faded away, he made one more film, this time for television, in 1979 together with his son Lamberto, the Prosper Mérimée-adaptation La Venere di Ille/The Venus of Ille starring Daria Nicolodi and Marc Porel, and while this today little-seen film is surely a step up from Shock, it's hardly a classic.

Bava's last contribution to (horror-)cinema was doing some matte paintings for the now legendary if overrated Inferno (1980) by Dario Argento, who is widely considered as Bava's successor and who interestingly enough took Bava's son Lamberto under his wing after Bava quit directing, employing him as his assistant director and eventually producing some of his movies.

However, Bava died in 1980, only months after Inferno's premiere, from a heart attack. He was only 65 years old.




Just like Mario Bava's father Eugenio introduced him to the film industry it was Mario Bava who gave his son Lamberto a start in the industry. After spending more than a decade as his father's assistant, Lamberto, who was born in 1944, eventually started his directing career with his father's last (TV-)movie The Venus of Ille in 1979, only to make his first film on his own, Macabro/Macabre in 1980, which was released a mere 10 days before his father's death. And just like his father, Lamberto Bava would concentrate on the horror genre for most of his career. But while his early efforts as a director are interesting to say the least, Lamberto's output quickly deteriorated, hitting lows with such films as A Cena col Vampiro/Dinner with a Vampire (1988) and La Maschera del Demonio/Black Sunday (1989), a pointless remake of his father's timeless classic, not to even mention the Fantaghiro TV-series of the 1990's.


But while over the years, Lamberto Bava's significance for the horror genre has become only marginal as best, his father's star has grown and grown, especially after his death, when he was rediscovered by genre fans who seized the opportunity to get his films on video and later DVD, and today, most of his films are readily available worldwide, and even by serious film scholars he has been acknowledged as one of the most important horror directors ever ... and rightly so, if you ask me.


© by Mike Haberfelner

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In times of uncertainty of a possible zombie outbreak, a woman has to decide between two men - only one of them's one of the undead.


There's No Such Thing as Zombies
Luana Ribeira, Rudy Barrow and Rami Hilmi
special appearances by
Debra Lamb and Lynn Lowry


directed by
Eddie Bammeke

written by
Michael Haberfelner

produced by
Michael Haberfelner, Luana Ribeira and Eddie Bammeke


now streaming at


Amazon UK





Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from