Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Farewell, Mater Tenebrarum


Word reaches us today of the passing of the striking Romanian actress Veronica Lazar, at the age of 75. Lazar, who settled in Rome and was married to actor Adolfo Celi (Valmont in DANGER: DIABOLIK), is perhaps the only actress to have been directed by three generations of the Bava family. She was a featured player in Dario Argento's INFERNO (pictured), playing the Nurse/Mater Tenebrarum; in this role, she was directed by Mario Bava for the final special effects reveal of her character and also by the film's credited assistant director Lamberto Bava on the days when Argento was hospitalized for hepatitis, and she more recently appeared in the "Gemelle" episode of the 2012 Italian miniseries 6 PASSI NEL GIALLO directed by Lamberto's son Fabrizio Bava. She worked again with Argento in THE STENDHAL SYNDROME, and also played Martha in Lucio Fulci's THE BEYOND. She was also a recurring cast member for Michelangelo Antonioni and Bernardo Bertolucci, appearing in IDENTIFICATION OF A WOMAN and BEYOND THE CLOUDS, as well as LAST TANGO IN PARIS, LUNA and THE SHELTERING SKY.

Friday, February 21, 2014

RIP Brigitte Skay (1940-2012)

Brigitte Skay in Mario Bava's BAY OF BLOOD (1971).

Just coming to light now: German actress Brigitte Skay passed away almost two years ago, on November 19, 2012, at the age of 62. She was a welcome, sexy presence in several Eurocult films of the 1960s and '70s, including ISABELLA - DUCHESS OF THE DEVILS, SS HELL CAMP, the Edgar Wallace krimi DIE TOTE AUS DER THEMSE, and also Mario Bava's FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT and BAY OF BLOOD. She is especially well-remembered for her brilliantly choreographed, startlingly executed death scene in the latter, which featured early gore effects by Carlo Rambaldi. Brigitte (whom Kris J. Nygaard-Gavin interviewed for MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK) was very proud of having worked with the man who created E.T. THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL and remembered that Mario advised her that she should only wear the color green.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

It's The Cat's Meow

Proud Bava book owner Allison Grace reports that her copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK provides a sturdy foundation for the electronic throne of her famous Facebook cat Mai Tai, who sits atop it for daily worship.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

By Popular Demand

MARIO BAVA - ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK is now available as an eBook! With bonus interactive content! To order, visit the VIDEO WATCHDOG website here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Book and Black Lace

Here's another wonderful new tribute from two satisfied readers of the Bava book: VIDEO WATCHDOG contributor Budd Wilkins and his wife Tina Taylor Wilkins! As I told Tina, they should be careful with that straight razor; it looks a little rusty and they don't want to give anyone tetanus...

Tribute from Terry and Lauran

Terry Douglas just sent in this beautifully faux-antiquated picture of Lauran Lybbert reading their copy of the Bava book.


"Back before the internet," he writes, "people read and actually collected quaint objects called 'books.' Unplug yourself from the web and embrace the tactile pleasures of this unholy tome, Mario Bava All the Colors of the Dark..."

Friday, September 20, 2013

Steve Ditko on The Bava Book

Steve Ditko, the artist best known as the co-creator of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange for Marvel Comics, has always been my favorite artist in that medium. He was the first artist whose work I came to recognize by sight. I've been a fan since before I discovered Spider-Man, when he was drawing the adventures of those transposed-from-the-screen movie monsters Konga and Gorgo for Charlton. So when my friend Mort Todd mentioned to me on Facebook a couple of weeks ago that Ditko was a Mario Bava fan, I decided then and there to make a gift to him of the Bava book, as a Thank You for all that he has given me throughout my lifetime.
I don't know why I was surprised; the evidence was always there in front of me - in the mannequin-like postures of his characters, and in the fog he drew encircling the likes of Mysterio, The Dread Dormammu and The Question.  
Today I am thrilled because my gift has been answered. 
I just received a hand-written reply (in pencil!) from Mr. Ditko, acknowledging receipt of his gift copy of MARIO BAVA - ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. It reads:

Dear Tim,
Thanks for the MARIO BAVA book.
It certainly is a massive work that can only be gone through in small time periods.
As your project demonstrates, one will, at some point become aware of a new thought, experience, etc. that attracts and shapes one's thinking, direction, vision for a future goal, and one is willing to do what is needed to be done to achieve that desired end.
Regards,
Steve Ditko (signed)
Steve Ditko (printed)
I take this as a very great compliment.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Bava In Oz

Here's reader Steven Smith of Adelaide, South Australia with his copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK! Steven's been posting pictures of his impressive library of books related to horror, fantasy and peplum cinema on Facebook and we're proud to be part of that collection.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Bookmarked!

Kathy McCord Bennett was one of the Bava book's earliest Patrons and she has the book as well as the advance bookmark signed in silver to prove it. What's more, Kathy tells us that her book is so sturdily built, it survived an F4 tornado back in 2009 that struck her house and actually destroyed much of her furniture! Thanks for sending this picture, Kathy!

Do you have a copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK? Have you sent us a picture of yourself posing with your copy? As you can see on this blog, a lot of you have -- and we love to see pictures of our book travelling all around the world and settling into new homes. If you haven't done this, we'd love to see it, you with it, and where you keep it. Email directly to me at tim@videowatchdog.com.

Friday, February 01, 2013

KRI, Baby... KRI!

It's been awhile since I've posted a new picture of a happy recipient of the Bava book, but today I can share a special one. This radiant young woman is Italian novelist Cristiana Astori, who has now published two well-received gialli for the legendary Mondadori publishing company -- the originators of the Italian giallo. Those first two novels are TUTTI QUEL NERO ("All That Is Dark") and TUTTO QUEL ROSSO ("All That Is Red"), which respectively fuse the literary giallo model with inspirations taken from the filmographies of Jess Franco and Soledad Miranda, and that of Dario Argento.

Perhaps MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK can help to inspire KRI (as she signs her notes to me) to write something along similar lines within the universe of Bava? Stranger things have happened. For the moment, it makes me happy just to see the book in her hands and the glow on her face.


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Surprise for Stephen

Stephen Kieswetter of Ottowa, Ontario received a nice surprise today! No birthday, no anniversary, just a totally random gift to knock his socks off! Thanks to him and his wife Stephanie for allowing us to share in the moment of presentation.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another Satisfied Reader: Ted Rusoff

You may be aware that Ted Rusoff -- one of the most distinctive dubbing voices (and directors) of the Golden Age of Italian Fantasy -- is the worthy subject of a career-length feature article by John Charles appearing in the current issue of VIDEO WATCHDOG (#159). As the article states, Ted's long list of dubbing roles includes some work in Mario Bava projects, including Christian Menliff (Tony Kendall) in THE WHIP AND THE BODY and John the butler (Leopoldo Mastelloni) in Dario Argento's INFERNO; he and Bava were also personal friends and colleagues for a couple of decades. Because Ted (and his uncle, Samuel Z. Arkoff) played such a major role in Bava's career, Donna and I recently made a gift of the book to him.

"I wanted you to know how o-ver-JOYED I am to have the book!" he wrote back. "Not just to have it, but the fact that it actually got here... Thank you for the lovely inscription, Tim, and it was terrific to see a quote from Uncle Sam on the back cover! Guess which chapter I'm going to start out with tomorrow?" [Ted was aware that he is mentioned prominently in a behind-the-scenes anecdote related in the chapter on DR. GOLDFOOT & THE GIRL BOMBS.]

Ted subsequently extended the Bava book his highest personal compliment by installing its 12-pound heft on a wrought-iron bookstand he had especially made years ago for his personal, much-thumbed copy of the 1934 MERRIAM-WEBSTER DICTIONARY, which -- in evidence of his merit as a word man -- he considers "the greatest book ever published." The bookstand is, indeed, a thing of beauty.

"What a lovely man Mario was!" Ted recalls, echoing the sentiments of many who knew him. "I (and I think many many other people) still miss him a lot. He deserved your magnificent accolade, Tim. Thank you both from the bottom of my heart."

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Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Adorable

Eric Peretti of Alsace, France introduces daughter Caitlin to the worlds of books and cinema.

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Sunday, February 01, 2009

Best Two Christmas Presents Ever!

Jason Pichonsky writes: "At the initial release of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, you were soliciting photos of readers with the 'Black Bible of Bava.' I'm not sure if you still are, but, a year later, I just wanted to add my photo to the mix.

"While I received your book later, the much-coveted biography was a Christmas gift from my wife. I had first heard of ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK in early 2000 -- the same time I discovered Mario Bava's films. I had picked up a rental of BLACK SUNDAY and immediately fell in love with the Maestro. Tim's commentary revealed my connection to Bava's work. Being both a cinematographer and director, something I have shared with Mario (though on a minor scale), created an instant bond to his work. Since then, I have managed to track down a majority of his films and eagerly awaited the release Mr. Lucas's biography. I can only say that it is not just the best biography of a genre director, it may also be the finest chronicle of a filmmaker to have ever been published.

"A year later, my son Jameson was born on Christmas Day, knocking ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK to Number Two on my list of best Christmas presents ever. With the biography being slightly heavier than my son, it makes for awkward bedtime reading.

"I just wanted to thank Tim for all the years of perseverance it took to assemble ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK and to thank you both for making 2008 a year to remember."

Sincerely,
Jason Pichonsky

Tim replies: Thank you for the heartwarming photo and your kind and generous words, Jason. Certainly, we are still interested in receiving pictures of proud and satisfied fans with their Bava books. I didn't do any promotional traveling for the book -- it's hard enough to travel with the book! -- and this way, we can get some idea of personal impact it's had.

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Search the Bava Book

During the past year, we've fielded some inquiries about when my mammoth tome MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK might be available through Amazon.com. Well, it's available there now -- just in time for the holidays -- and here's the link to the sales page.

It may interest you to know that the Amazon listing offers a nifty "Look Inside!" feature that allows you to search for specific words or names inside and also to peruse a limited amount of interior pages. I'm sure there are some interested people out there who haven't bought the book because they've never seen a copy in person and haven't had the opportunity to page through it to prove to themselves that it's worth the investment. This "Search the Book" feature will help those people to spend a little time with this 12-pound monster and find out why it became the most celebrated film book of 2007-2008, winning the International Horror Guild Award, the Independent Publishers Award, the Rondo Hatton Classic Horror Film Award and the Saturn Award for Special Achievement.

In case you're wondering if it will do us, the publisher, more good if you buy the book directly from us, or through the Amazon seller... the answer is Yes, we'll see more profit from the sale if you buy the book from us directly, and we pride ourselves on the efficiency of our mail order department -- but we're fine with whichever way makes you feel most comfortable. By all means, though, make use of the "Look Inside" feature and take a gander at Mario Bava's life... and a big chunk of mine and Donna's, too.

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