The many masks of the devil

Although Mario Bava’s 1960 debut as credited director, Black Sunday / La Maschera del demonio, is the best-known adaptation of Nikolai Gogol’s classic folk chiller “Viy,” the story was also filmed more faithfully by Russian directors Konstantin Yershov and Georgi Kropachyov in 1967, and years later, the story and elements from Bava’s own film were hybridized by son Lamberto Bava in his 1989 cinematic ode, also titled Black Sunday / La Maschera del demonio, which was also released under the misleading title Demons 5: The Devil’s Veil, having nothing to do with Lamberto Bava's first two Demons films.

To add some comparative background to Mario Bava’s classic gothic thriller, previously released by Anchor Bay / Starz Home Entertainment as part of their Mario Bava Collection Vol. 1 and now available separately, we’ve added reviews of Viy, the 1967 Russian version, and Lamberto Bava’s ode (though bear in mind the film’s been assessed from an Italian language video, as an English dubbed or subtitled version remains unavailable on DVD).

Also part of Anchor Bay’s Mario Bava wave is Erik the Conqueror, the director’s third film after Hercules in the Haunted World, starring Cameron Mitchell and blazing Technicolor.

From Facets Multimedia is The Case of Howard Phillips Lovecraft / Le cas Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1999), an episode of the French TV series Un siècle d'écrivains. Directed by Patrick Mario Bernard and, Pierre Trividic, it’s an experimental bio-doc that uses stills, animated montages, stock film, music, and narration to evoke the prose of one of America’s best-known horror writers, H.P. Lovecraft, whose filmed works include "Herbert West, Re-Animator," "Dagon," "The Dunwich Horror," and "Cthulhu."

Also in the horror vein is an interview with Jaye Barnes Luckett (also known as Poperratic), writer/director Lucky McKee’s main composer and music collaborator on May, The Woods, Masters of Horror: Sick Girl, and Angela Bettis’ feature film debut, Roman. Cues from these works were recently released by La-La Land Records on Luckett’s film music CD, and a shorter version of the interview appeared in the August 2007 issue of Rue Morgue magazine. The original Q&A contains more details on Luckett’s experiences on May, and sheds light on some of the issues that arose when MGM/UA underwent a regime change, and McKee’s The Woods was shelved for several years until a 2006 release.

And for those in the Toronto area, Mario Bava fans should take note of a special screening of Bay of Blood at the Bloor Cinema, featuring a newly struck 35mm print from the producer, and present by Anchor Bay Entertainment, Rue Morgue Radio, Eye Weekly, and Suspect Video. Apparently part of a festival retrospective, this is a rare opportunity to catch ax-wielding mayhem, Bava-style, on the big screen this Thursday Nov. 15th. Click HERE for more info.


Technorati Tags: DVD Reviews


Copyright © mondomark