Monday, October 24

31 Days of Horror: Day 15

(a.k.a. Beyond The Door II)
Dir: Mario Bava
Starring: Daria Nicolodi and John Steiner

Before Bava was a well-respected Italian director, he was a well-regarded cinematographer. Bava was a collaborator and cinematographer for some of cinemas best directors at the time, which included Jacques Tourneur (Cat People, I Walked With A Zombie, and Days Of Glory) and Raoul Walsh (High Sierra and The Roaring Twenties). Regarded as a special effects expert and master of lighting and optical impressions, Bava made his name prominent with film companies, who finally released Bava to his own creation…the stunning Black Sunday. Bava was also renowned for his contribution to the style and substance of the early giallo movement.

 Shock was the final film from the maestro, per the urging of his son Lamberto, Bava came out of retirement to direct this ghost story. Shock is not a perfect film, but it is interesting, and the film techniques applied, specifically photography, are stunning. You may notice that Shock looks and feels similar in parts to The Amityville Horror and The Shining, which were both produced after this film. With Bava being so adapt with the substances of the giallo film, it’s not unusual to see giallo elements mirrored in The Shining…it clearly created an unequalled atmosphere for both films.

 Shock is not without its’ odd moments, the porcelain moving hand, the glass shelves that garner much attention in the framing of shots seem to play a character all themselves, or the floating cabinet, they all add a strange atmosphere over the film. Even the structured performance of the beautiful Daria Nicolodi makes her descent into madness seem poised as opposed to terrifying. The many practical effects in this film, as well as camera tricks, are still effective elements, especially the final scene that incorporates the all important giallo bright red blood. The final film in the remarkable career work of a true genre legend might be difficult for some to comprehend, if you aren’t experienced in giallo elements or Italian horror, but it is a film that showcases the talent of experience and a life long passion for film. Day 15 with Super Mario Bava (yes, that was lame). 

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