FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 7, 2002

 

AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE PRESENTS

THE HAUNTED WORLD OF ITALIAN HORROR MAESTRO

MARIO BAVA

Scheduled In-Person Guests include Lamberto Bava, Producer Alfredo Leone,

Actresses Barbara Steele and Elke Sommer and Actors Mark Damon and John Saxon

 

Sponsored by Image Entertainment

 

May 31 – June 12, 2002

 

HOLLYWOOD –The American Cinematheque presents THE HAUNTED WORLD OF MARIO BAVA, the largest US retrospective ever mounted of Italian horror master Mario Bava’s films (May 31 – June 12, 2002). Eighteen of Bava’s films will screen, thirteen in new 35 mm prints. Other highlights of the series include the US Theatrical Premiere of KIDNAPPED (aka RABID DOGS) and in person appearances by the director’s son and collaborator Lamberto Bava, producer Alfredo Leone, actresses Barbara Steele and Elke Sommer and actors Mark Damon and John Saxon. (Note: Bava’s films, as with many Italian productions of the 1960’s, were generally shot MOS, without sync sound, and later dubbed for whatever country they were released in. So the dubbed English versions are just as "authentic" and original as any other versions of the films.) All guests are subject to their availability. All screenings are at the newly renovated Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the historic Egyptian (6712 Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Las Palmas) in Hollywood.

Director Joe Dante (THE HOWLING, GREMLINS) says of Bava’s work, "Ingeniously conceived and lovingly photographed scenes of murder, mayhem and morbid sexuality… mesmerizing visions of haunted castles, rotting corpses and screaming women."

A child’s frozen hand appears at the window… an unconscious woman is violated next to a rotting skeleton... a sadist returns from the grave to torture his doomed lover... To enter the world of Italian horror

 

American Cinematheque, 1800 North Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA 90028

(tel) 323.466-FILM | (fax) 323.461.9737 On the web: http://www.egyptiantheatre.com

 

 

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and suspense master Mario Bava is to step silently through a mausoleum filled with beautiful corpses. Bava is often praised as one of the cinema’s great stylists – and his talent for exquisite cinematography and production design allowed him to commit some of the most atrocious acts of violence ever filmed. But beyond his stylistic gifts, Bava (who died in 1980) achieved a chilling poetry all his own, a lyricism that links him to Cocteau, Bu˝uel and the other great poets of the surreal and bizarre.

Born in San Remo in 1914, Bava "grew up in the midst of film, among picture frames, miniature models, and heaps of hyposulphite;" his father Eugenio was cinematographer on the silent classic QUO VADIS. By the early 40’s, the younger Bava was photographing films for Pabst and Rossellini. Bava was nearly 50 years old before he directed his first full feature, BLACK SUNDAY, a worldwide success that quickly established him as the premiere horror director of the 1960’s.

Since the Cinematheque’s first Bava retrospective in 1993, the director and his films have undergone a remarkable rediscovery by a new generation of film lovers. Many of Bava’s long-obscure delights have been released on DVD, and there are even plans underway to remake several of his classic pictures. A happy result of this renewed interest is that there are now beautiful new 35 mm. prints available of many of Bava’s films – our great thanks to producer Alfredo Leone for making a number of these new prints available for this series, including Bava’s legendary lost film KIDNAPPED (aka RABID DOGS) - !

 

Friday, May 31, 2002

The Friday, May 31st program begins at 7:30 PM with the US Theatrical Premiere of Bava’s legendary "lost" film, KIDNAPPED (L’UOMO E IL BAMBINO aka RABID DOGS), (2002 (shot 1974), 92 min.) A major rediscovery in Bava’s career, the unfinished L’UOMO E IL BAMBINO sat in a Rome film vault for over 20 years, until it was finally assembled for DVD release several years ago by Bava expert Tim Lucas – and now for theatrical release as KIDNAPPED by producer Alfredo Leone, featuring several new additional scenes directed by Bava’s son Lamberto, and additional music by Stelvio Cipriani! An experiment in pure, psychological terror, KIDNAPPED follows a trio of ruthless bank robbers as they hurtle around Rome’s super-highways in a stolen car with an old man and a seriously ill child. But stay alert – things are not what they seem to be in this brutally clever action thriller. (English subtitled print.) Discussion following with producer Alfredo Leone and Lamberto Bava.

Saturday, June 1, 2002

The Saturday, June 1st program begins at 5:00 PM with a new 35 mm print of BLACK SUNDAY (LA MASCHERA DEL DEMONIO), (1960, 87 min.) Bava’s first full film as a director opens with a signature image: a beautiful witch spewing curses as she’s clamped into a spiked mask. Barbara Steele is fabulous in a double role as the deathless witch and her own virginal descendant. Eerie, hallucinatory – essential Bava. With John Richardson, Ivo Garrani. (English dubbed print.) Discussion following with actress Barbara Steele.

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Following at 8:00 PM is a Double Feature. First up in a new 35 mm print is the uncut European version of BLACK SABBATH (TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA), (1963, MGM/UA, 92 min.) Reportedly Bava’s favorite of his films: three minimalist tales of terror, topped by "The Wurdelak" with Boris Karloff as a ravenous Russian vampire! This is the original European version complete with a different music score, alternate introduction by Karloff, and the restored sexual implications that had been changed when the film was released here by American International. With Mark Damon, Jacqueline Pierreux. (English subtitled print.) Next on the same bill is THE WHIP AND THE BODY (LA FRUSTA E IL CORPO), (1963, Woolner Bros., 92 min.). Demonic aristocrat Christopher Lee returns from the dead to whip his brother’s wife, Daliah Lavi, into a sexual ecstasy in this chilling essay on the ties that bind. Amor fou is taken to its ultimate conclusion in this deliriously romantic study in perverse psychology, our choice as the most sumptuous, atmosphere-drenched Gothic chiller from the last forty years! Widely censored at the time of its release, this may be the only surviving print in the U.S. (English dubbed print.) Discussion between films with BLACK SABBATH actor Mark Damon.

Sunday, June 2, 2002

 

The Sunday, June 2nd program begins at 5:00 PM with a new 35 mm. print of LISA AND THE DEVIL (1972, 95 min.). Released in a butchered form as THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM, this complete version is one of Bava’s masterworks. Tourist Elke Sommer is lured by devil Telly Savalas into a household of white lilies and rotting corpses. Elegiac and dreamlike, with Bava’s own poetic brand of morbid, melancholic lyricism. Contains "Bava’s most impressive scene of necrophilia." -- Phil Hardy, Encyclopedia of Horror. (English dubbed print.) Discussion following with actress Elke Sommer and producer Alfredo Leone.

Following at 7:45 PM is a Double Feature. First up in a new 35 mm. print is FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (5 BAMBOLE PER LA LUNA D’AGOSTO), (1970, 88 min.) A clique of idle rich gathered for a swinging weekend at an island beach house are murdered one by one in this ultra-groovy, Pop Art giallo. Soaked with a glamorously sleazy ambience and an absurd lounge music score, FIVE DOLLS emerges as one of the pinnacles of 1970’s Euro-trash cinema! Supremely entertaining. With William Berger, Edwige Fenech, Ira von Furstenberg. (English dubbed print.) Next on the same bill is BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (SEI DONNE PER L’ASSASSINO), (1964, 88 min.) With Eva Bartok, Cameron Mitchell. 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 1960’s and 1970’s. Bava’s color palette is awesome to behold. "Seldom had the cinema seen violence portrayed with such undisguised sadistic pleasure." -- Tim Lucas, The Darkside. (English dubbed print.)

Friday, June 7, 2002

The Friday, June 7th program begins at 7:15 PM with a new 35 mm print of KILL, BABY, KILL (OPERAZIONE PAURA), (1966, 83 min.). Forget the ridiculous title – this exquisite gothic brings together

 

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many of Bava’s major themes: a murdered child who returns from the grave to exact vengeance; a village blighted by its own ignorant evil. One of the most atmospheric, effective ghost stories ever filmed. With Erica Blanc, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart. "The last great piece of suggestive horror filmmaking." -- Tim Lucas, The Darkside. (English dubbed print.)

Following at 9:30 PM is a Double Feature of films in new 35 mm prints. First up is TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (aka BAY OF BLOOD / REAZIONE A CATENA), (1971, 84 min.). We tracked down the sole surviving print of this in Luxembourg for our Cinematheque’s Greatest Hits Series in ‘98 – and now there’s a brand new copy! TWITCH is the great granddaddy of slasher movies, with 13 oversexed Italians slaughtering each other in amazingly inventive ways at a remote lake. "Unreels like a macabre, ironic joke … an Elizabethan tragedy as Tex Avery might have written ." – Tim Lucas. (English dubbed print.) Next on the same bill is BARON BLOOD (GLI ORRORI DEL CASTELLO DI NORIMBERGA), (1972, 100 min.). 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. "Ranks visually as one of Bava’s most richly atmospheric works." –Tim Lucas, The Darkside. (English dubbed print.)

Saturday, June 8, 2002

The Saturday, June 8th program begins at 5:00 PM with a Double Feature. First up in a new 35 mm print is THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH (aka THE EVIL EYE / LA RAGAZZA CHE SAPEVA TROPPO), (1963, 86 min.). Bava pioneered the giallo genre with this Hitchcockian suspenser about a young American chased across Rome by "the Alphabet Murderer." Features some of Bava’s most sexually complex imagery, including a young woman protected by a sinister spider’s web. Originally released in the U.S. in a much altered version as THE EVIL EYE, this is the original Director’s Cut. With Leticia Roman, John Saxon. (English subtitled print.) Next on the same bill is ROY COLT AND WINCHESTER JACK, (1970, 90 min.). Gloriously silly (and impossibly rare) comic Western about the good-natured rivalry between blonde, surfer-boy bandido Winchester Jack (Brett Halsey) and darkly handsome sheriff Roy Colt (Charles Southwood), over a fortune in buried gold dust and the capricious attentions of wildly sexy prostitute Marilu Tolo (in a Cher-style fringed skirt and blouse!) (English subtitled print.) Discussion between films with actor John Saxon (THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH).

Following at 9:30 PM is another Double Feature. First up is ERIK THE CONQUEROR (GLI INVASORI), (1961, 81 min.). One of the most underrated and rarely-screened of Bava’s films, ERIK stars the ever-reliable Cameron Mitchell as a Viking named "Iron", struggling to regain the throne that was cruelly stolen from him. Partially shot on sets left over from HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, ERIK features some of Bava’s most poetic imagery: a king’s crimson robe spreading out like a Japanese fan; a Viking invader using arrows shot into a wall to scale an impregnable tower. Don’t miss this one – it’s not on video, and the last time we showed it was in 1996! (English dubbed print.) Next on the same bill is HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD (ERCOLE AL CENTRO DELLA TERRA), (1961, 86 min.). Bava’s glorious Cinemascope spectacle is one of his most visually ravishing films, as strongman Reg Park

 

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descends into a phantasmagorical Underworld in search of a stone that will restore his beloved’s memory. With Christopher Lee as evil Lycos, the smooth-talking, bloodthirsty necromancer out to destroy the legendary hero. (English dubbed print.)

Sunday, June 9, 2002

The Sunday, June 9th program begins at 5:00 PM with a Double Feature of films in new 35 mm. prints. First up is KNIVES OF THE AVENGER (I COLTELLI DEL VENDICATORE), (1965, 85 min.). Bava’s second Viking adventure with actor Cameron Mitchell is just as wonderfully poetic as ERIK THE CONQUEROR, opening with the image of a soothsayer casting the runes on a wave-tossed beach. Remarkably serious and adult in its themes, KNIVES features Mitchell as a Viking blademaster named Rurik, who returns to confront the queen he raped years ago – and the young boy who may be his son. (English dubbed print.) Next on the same bill is PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES (TERRORE NELLO SPAZIO), (1966, MGM/UA, 86 min.). A doomed crew of astronauts (in eye-popping black leather space-suits) is stranded on a malevolent, mist-shrouded planet. Large portions of ALIEN were cribbed from this gorgeous, atmospheric thriller. This is the restored uncut version with the original Italian score! With Barry Sullivan, Norma Bengel. (English dubbed print.)

Wednesday, June 12, 2002

The Wednesday, June 12th program begins at 7:30 PM with a Double Feature. First up in a new 35 mm. print is FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT (QUANTE VOLTE … QUELLA NOTTE), 1972, 83 min. Bava’s tongue-in-cheek, teasingly erotic take on RASHOMON chronicles various versions of what really happened on libertine Brett Halsey’s date with lovely firebrand Daniela Giordano. A little-known comic gem from horror expert Bava. (English subtitled print.) Next on the same bill is SHOCK (aka BEYOND THE DOOR II), 1979, 92 min. Bava’s last feature film (co-directed with son Lamberto, uncredited) revisits themes first explored in KILL, BABY, KILL and WHIP AND THE BODY as Daria Nicolodi and child are haunted by the ghost of her first husband, drug addict Ivan Rassimov. With John Steiner. (English dubbed print.)

 

All films are separate admission except those listed as Double Features which are one ticket price for both films. There is a five minute break between films on double bills.

k BLACK AND WHITE STILLS ARE AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST VIA E-MAIL.

 

WE DO NOT HAVE GUARANTEED PRESS PASSES TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE ADVANCE PRESS SCREENINGS.

 

A complete calendar/flyer listing of these films has been mailed to you.

 

 

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SCREENING COPIES OF ALL FILMS ARE AVAILABLE ON VIDEOTAPE (NTSC) AT THE AMERICAN CINEMATHEQUE OFFICES. NO THEATRICAL ADVANCE SCREENINGS WILL BE HELD. VIDEO STORES LISTED BELOW MAY CARRY SOME TITLES ON DVD or TAPE. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CALL MARGOT GERBER 323.461.2020, ext. 115. THANK YOU.

 

Eddie Brandt’s Saturday Matinee (Burbank) Walk in only no phone.

Jerry’s Video (1904 Hillhurst, Los Feliz - 323.666.7471)

Rocket Video (726 N. La Brea - 323.965.1100)

Cinefile (11280 Santa Monica Blvd. - Corner of Sawtelle Ave. - 310.312.8836)

Vidiots (302 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica - 310/392-8508)

 

REQUESTS FOR PRESS TICKETS TO PUBLIC SCREENINGS AND INTERVIEW REQUESTS:

 

 

THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact: Margot Gerber, 323.461.2020, ext. 115

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