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Mario Bava: Maestro of the Macabre (2000)

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Credited cast:
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fabrizio Bava ...
Himself (as Roy Bava)
Georgia Bava ...
Allan Bryce ...
Mark Kermode ...
Himself - Narrator
Tim Lucas ...
Himself (Interviewee)
Ib Melchior ...


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User Reviews

Mario Bava: MAESTRO OF THE MACABRE {TV} (Garry S. Grant, 2000) ***
1 August 2014 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I own 2 versions of this 1-hour doc on the titular film-maker whose centenary was celebrated in the past day(s): in fact, it is included as an extra on both Anchor Bay UK's edition of Bava's HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (1970) and the Italian disc of his official directorial debut BLACK Sunday (1960), from RHV (albeit presented here with forced native subtitles).

During my ongoing Bava marathon, I have already watched MARIO BAVA: OPERAZIONE PAURA (2004), which I had reviewed (and rated **1/2) back when I first checked it out on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of his demise. At the time, I had criticized the later documentary for being somewhat redundant in the wake of the one under review (though I can see now that a few choice participants are exclusive to it, notably director Roger Corman) and for missing out on discussing a number of key works within Bava's filmography. In retrospect, there are glaring omissions here as well – apart from THE WHIP AND THE BODY (1963; which I pointed out in the other review), there is barely a mention of either BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964) or KILL, BABY…KILL! (1966) – but, all in all, it makes a better case for his artistry (taking care even to include a psychologist{!} among the line-up of interviewees, which comprise many of the usual suspects of relatives, collaborators, peers and lifelong admirers) since it generally comes across as having less of a fan-boy approach to it (what can you expect when the opening speaker on OPERAZIONE PAURA proves to be none other than know-it-all motor-mouth Quentin Tarantino?!).

Incidentally, with respect to the selection of titles covered, it appears that the film-makers had access only to clips from movies owned by the major studios (like Paramount's DANGER: DIABOLIK {1968}) and the DVD company Image Entertainment – which not only distributed the doc itself in R1 land but was behind the release of the entire "The Mario Bava Collection", numbering the director's efforts then owned by Alfredo Leone (his last producer) and who, naturally enough, features heavily here. Perhaps in compensation, then, there is rather too much footage this time around from films that were apparently influenced by Bava's efforts! Needless to say, though, neither documentary comes close to reading an authoritative biography on the subject – be it Tim Lucas' massive tome (also an on-screen 'talking head' in both films) or Troy Howarth's more manageable treatise – or, for that matter, experiencing the beautiful craftsmanship of Bava's legacy on one's own rather than having it described to him…

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