Horror Family tree : Mario Bava

Mario Bava

Known as the ‘Italian master of the Macabre’ , Mario Bava is without a doubt one of the most iconic horror directors of all time.

With his style and almost ‘art pop’ qualities throughout his large collection brought a refreshing (much needed) change to the industry. Allowing more fear , more disturbance but with a quirky and almost satire approach.

He was also claimed to be one of the first Italian horror directors ever.

Here are some of the iconic collections incase you fancy a spook fest night…

And there are plenty more including

  • The girl who knew to much (1962)
  • Kill baby kill (1966)
  • Planet of vampires (1965)
  • Lisa and the devil (1974)
  • I Vampiri (his first ever horror movie)

Now that you have perhaps went to take a sneak peak at this directors work it’s easy to make comparisons and brush him off as yet another gothic horror director like the rest.

However…giving that his work began in the early 60’s and with most of the art revolutionaries and profound craft throughout this era it would be very foolish to brush his work with the strokes of the past. His take on what was once gothic horror took on a new form with darker undertones and a more expressive and contemporary feel to them. Not focusing on one dynamic but on multiple and the purpose of all was to induce fear both physical and psychological.

Keeping the overall vintage quality allowed his films to slip effortlessly into the mainstream and his ability to add the colour and gore drew new horror fans to the forefront.

For ‘Bay of Blood’ could be classed as one of thee first precursors to slasher horror genre. Yes the story may have varied slightly but the setting for the genre was sparked in this classic. This was also one of his favourite films he created and maybe due to the difference in style could have been why he leaned towards it as a memorable creation.

Born in 1914 to Eugenio Bava who was also a world renowned Italian sculptor, his years as an assistant for his father may have something to do with his obsession of the female form. In his movies we can see clearly the explicit shots of body movements and styling of his actresses. It was these films that captured and displayed sexualization of the female form effortlessly.

Mari Bava

Unlike his dark and colour full film depictions the man behind the pen however was none of these things. In fact it is very well documented that he was a shy and self deprecating man. He was so insecure of himself as a director that he refused offers by Hollywood multiple times. Which ultimately could be a reason why his name can be lost among the countless gothic horror directors that have become iconic go to’s …ie Alfred Hitchcock, F.w Marnau and so forth ( you can read these individual blogs by links below)

Bava was so sensitive that his only regret when making the films was a scene in which a live bug had been pinned to a board .

This seems incomprehensible as most of his movies were classed as highly obscene. So obscene in fact that they were banned in the Uk under the OPA (obscene publications act).

Christopher lee was so disgraced by what he had seen at the cinema that he left the theatre in protest at the level of violence depicted.

Another loyal quality of Bavas was his inheritance to keep things traditional. Working alongside his own father Mario would then proceed to pass the torch and love of film making to his own son Lamberto.

Lamberto Bava

Lamberto worked alongside his father for the last years of his life and began his own movies in horror just before his fathers death.

Mario passed away in 1980 at the age of 65 by heart attack. It was during this time that he had been creating the movie ‘Macabre’ and falling due to ill health he let his son take over the production. 2 months before his passing he displayed how proud he was by stating to Lamberto …

“I am very proud of you…now I can die in peace.”

Mario Bava

This was an inside joke towards his son but a heartfelt one at that.

It would seem that despite crazy rumors about behind the scenes of films and directors in horror, that they are no different than the average joe.

And on this occasion it is nice to know that although their creativity can sometimes seem dark and fearful. As people they can have tradition and fears just like the rest of us.

His movies have been famed as a magicians forge and I completely agree in the sense that they are an illusion. One that is not just for us as a audience to enjoy and revel in but as an art form of expression for his own fears and dystopias.

Perhaps by bleeding his own fears mixed with creation it freed him to be a more thoughtful and traditional guy?…just a thought.

His movies will love on and now that’s it kept in the family we have also been grateful to have a few more decades of Italian horror to boot by Lamberto.

Demons- Lamberto directed

So as a final note I would take away from this that no matter what it is you enjoy doing not no matter how obscene something may be to another person. So long as it doesn’t harm you or them. Express it , create it and let loose all the demons you hold inside. By doing so maybe you’ll find yourself a happier human by doing so. Who knows maybe you could become the next century’s greatest horror director.

Thankyou for reading

And as always….Find your Yen…Feel it! Feed it!

The Yenner 📰

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