Mario Bava

10 Great B-Movies That Inspired Mainstream Directors

By Matteo Fava

It’s a known fact that B-movies from the the 20th century are a deep well of ideas for new or recent directors. The rediscovery of B-movies became more and more popular thanks to directors like Quentin Tarantino.

Currently it’s no longer an isolated case, and many more directors are trying to catch ideas from old low-budget movies. High budget remakes of 70’s or 80’s B-movies are being made every year by important producers and famous directors. They homage the artistic work of directors who in previous decades had little money, but a lot of interesting ideas and a passion for moviemaking.

1. Black Sunday (1960)

Black Sunday

Two travelers by mistake resuscitate a witch named Asa, 200 years after she have been tortured and condemned to death for witchcraft. She tries now to take over the young body of her descendant to come back to life.

This movie is the exordium of the director Mario Bava and it is considered to be his masterpiece and overall a milestone of Italian horror cinema. Sublime technical skills and personal taste blend perfectly together: a fantasy-horror story with a dreamlike touch (vaguely inspired by Vij from Gogol), amazingly shot in a very stylish black and white (the cinematography is by Bava himself who already worked with the director Riccardo Freda for the movie “Lust of the Vampire”).
The movie didn’t get the success it deserved amongst Italian critics, yet it became a definite cult movie abroad getting reviewed by publications such as “Positif” and “Cahiers du cinéma.” Subsequently, it got a lot of fame in the United States with the title “Black Sunday.”

Italian horror directors like Freda and Sergio Corbucci have been deeply inspired by this movie. Thanks to this role, lead actress Barbara Steele became immediately popular. She continued starring in many → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema

All 24 Mario Bava Movies Ranked From Worst To Best

By Fabio Mauro Angeli

Black Sabbath (1963)

Mario Bava was, to put it simply, a genius. Not only did Bava direct the first ever Italian gothic horror movie, but he also contributed in the practice of founding the prolific subgenres of Italian Giallo films and slasher movies, becoming an inspiration for generations of filmmakers to come. Among these artists, Quentin Tarantino himself reprised many of Bava’s intuitions from Cani Arrabbiati (“Rabid Dogs”, 1974) for his debut film, “Reservoir Dogs”.

Son of the sculptor and special effects photographer Eugenio, Mario Bava started his career in the movie industry as a cinematographer, working under his father’s guidance. He went on to shoot and photograph two short movies by Roberto Rossellini, and soon found himself working for directors as famous and influential as Mario Monicelli and Luigi Comencini, capturing performances from the greatest Italian and international actors in the process.

It was only years later that he was finally able to put his directing skills to the test in his first low-budget short films; but what really changed Bava’s art and life were the amazing special effects that he designed for director Riccardo Freda’s works. “I Vampiri” (The Vampire, 1957), widely regarded as Italy’s first horror movie ever, featured the beautiful Gianna Maria Canale turning into an old terrifying woman without any cuts, an ingenious effect that Bava was able to pull off simply applying to the actress red grease pencil make-up, invisible when lit by red lights that could not be seen on black and white film stock, and just turning that light off to create the illusion of her suddenly aging.

Finally, in 1960, these strokes of genius (and the constant help Bava brought to the industry finishing off many films whenever and for whatever reason a change of director needed to happen) convinced producer Massimo De Rita to finance Mario’s → continue…

From:: Taste Of Cinema