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The Mario Bava Collection vol. 1 (1963)

Director: Mario Bava
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Anchor Bay
Genre: Cult, Foreign, Horror, Italy

Synopses
Black Sabbath (1963)
This anthology features three chilling horror stories. "Il Telefono" is credited to Guy de Maupassant, although he never wrote such a story, and concerns a woman (Michele Mercier) receiving telephone calls from beyond the grave. "Wurdulak", by Alexei Tolstoi, stars Boris Karloff as an aging vampire who can only feed on those he loves. Co-starring Mark Damon and Susy Andersen, it is clearly the best story of the three. The final tale, "La Goccia d'Acqua," is falsely credited to Anton Chekhov. It features Jacqueline Pierreux stealing a ring from a corpse she is preparing for burial, only to be murdered by the old woman's ghost. The American version differs in four major areas: the print is shorter, the stories appear in a different order, there is a linking device with Karloff speaking directly to the audience from a foggy void, and Roberto Nicolosi's musical score is replaced with one by lounge-icon Les Baxter. The American release of the film is also missing a comic coda featuring Karloff riding on horseback (or is he?); this appears in most Eurpoean prints of the film, including Mario Bava's original cut. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide



Black Sunday (1960)
Generally considered to be the foremost example of Italian Gothic horror, this darkly atmospheric black-and-white chiller put director Mario Bava on the international map and made the bewitching Barbara Steele a star. Steele plays Princess Asa, a high priestess of Satan who is gruesomely executed in 1600s Moldavia by having a spiked mask hammered into her face. Before she dies, Asa vows revenge on the family who killed her and returns from the grave two centuries later to keep her promise. In a striking resurrection scene replete with bats, scorpions and fog, Asa rises from the tomb to claim her bloody vengeance. With vampires, bubbling flesh, dank crypts, undead servants and torch-bearing mobs, the plot is a little ripe, but the visuals are Bava's primary consideration. The atmosphere is so heavy and the imagery so dense that the film becomes nearly too rich in texture, but the sheer, ghastly beauty of it all is entrancing. Although this was only the second of Bava's twenty-six films as director, it is undoubtedly his best and the one upon which most of his considerable reputation rests. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide



Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
Generally considered the first real giallo film, Mario Bava's stylish thriller stars Leticia Roman as Nora, who travels to Rome to visit her sick aunt. The aunt dies that night, and Nora ends up witnessing a murder. The police and kindly Dr. Bassi (John Saxon) don't believe her, since there is no body, so she goes to stay with her aunt's friends, the Cravens. Along the way, there are several more murders tied to a decade-long string of killings of victims chosen in alphabetical order by surname. The surprising ending is worth staying around for, as is an amusing supporting performance by Valentina Cortese. Bava would go on to further codify many of the giallo genre's conventions in Sei Donne per l'Assassino the following year. ~ Robert Firsching, All Movie Guide

Kill Baby...Kill (1966)
One of the more prominent works of Italy's premier horror stylist Mario Bava, this occult murder mystery interweaves elements of the traditional giallo thriller formula with an unusual Gothic ghost story. The tale is set in a modern-day Carpathian village rocked by a series of bizarre murders, in which the female victims are found with gold coins imbedded in their hearts. The coins are revealed to be talismans placed on the victims by the local sorceress (Fabienne Dali), meant to ward off the supernatural powers of the aged Baroness Graps (Giana Vivaldi). The baroness has been acting as an earthly liaison for the vengeful ghost of her murdered daughter, who wants to claim the villagers' souls -- with Erica Blanc next on the list. In order to free the village from the evil curse, Dali must find the sequestered baroness and destroy her. The film was released in the U.S. in two dubbed and re-edited versions, Kill, Baby, Kill! and Curse of the Living Dead (packaged as part of an "Orgy of the Living Dead" triple feature). ~ Cavett Binion, All Movie Guide

Knives of the Avenger (1965)
An army of merciless Vikings invade unsuspecting towns, leaving murder and mayhem in their wake. It is up to local residents to band together in an attempt to fight off the mauraders. ~ Iotis Erlewine, All Movie Guide

The Mario Bava Collection vol. 1 (1960 - 1966)
More than a quarter of a century after his death, director Mario Bava remains one of international cinema's most controversial icons. Today his influence marked by stunning visuals, daring sexuality and shocking violence can still be seen in the works of Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, Tim Burton, Dario Argento and countless others in a legacy that extends far beyond the horror genre. This collection brings together 5 landmark movies from the first half of Bavas career encompassing the original giallo, a bold Viking epic, and his three gothic horror masterpieces featuring new transfers, original European versions, and exclusive featurettes to create the definitive celebration of one of the most important filmmakers of all time.


GreenCine Member Ratings

Black Sabbath (1963)
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8.09 (23 votes)
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Black Sunday (1960)
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7.67 (21 votes)
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Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963)
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7.38 (8 votes)
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Kill Baby...Kill (1966)
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7.36 (11 votes)
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Knives of the Avenger (1965)
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9.20 (5 votes)
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The Mario Bava Collection vol. 1 (1960 - 1966)
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10.00 (3 votes)
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© 2006 All Media Guide, LLC. Portions of content provided by All Movie Guide®, a trademark of All Media Guide, LLC.